An article from the New York Times entitled Fiction Reading Increases for Adults really got me thinking. In particular, it was this paragraph:
Instead he attributed the increase in literary reading to community-based programs like the “Big Read,” Oprah Winfrey’s book club, the huge popularity of book series like “Harry Potter” and Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight,” as well as the individual efforts of teachers, librarians, parents and civic leaders to create “a buzz around literature that’s getting people to read more in whatever medium.”
“The individual efforts.” Yes, librarians, and I would even say booksellers, are able to reach more people than I am. I’m not a parent, so I can’t influence my own children. I can, however, buy books for my niece and nephew and my friend’s daughter. This will be especially influential as they get older and I can pick out books that almost everyone remembers reading when they were young: Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and the Boxcar Children are just a few that come to mind.
Who else can I influence, though? Certainly a well thought out gift in the form of a book to a non- or semi-reader would be a step in the right direction. You never know when a love of reading will spark. On the other hand, one of my hesitations in buying books as gifts is I hate to see a book languish at someone’s house, unopened, unread, and unloved.
I like to think that being in a book group helps inspire more reading. We talk about books other than the ones we pick to discuss, and I hope that members will seek out books that are especially loved and praised by various members. Anyone who expresses any kind of interest in reading is always welcome at my book group.
When I’m reading a fantastic book (such as The Help or The Hunger Games), I talk about that book to whoever will listen, readers and non-readers alike. Maybe, just maybe, my enthusiasm will rub off.
My blog could be considered a way to reach people, but it’s not the same as doing it in person. Besides, I’d bet that most people who read my blog enjoy reading anyway, if not to the same degree that I do.
All of this talk about how to influence people to read more makes me wish I worked in my local bookstore. 😀
Speaking of local bookstores…guess what program my local bookstore has? Okay, well, it’s not my closest local bookstore, because I’m rather disappointed in my closest local bookstore after seeing what this other local bookstore does, but I still consider it a local bookstore since it’s only 40 minutes away. Local in California is relative.
ANYWAY, blabber mouth that I am, this local bookstore, Book Passage, has a program called the Aunt Lydia Book Club. Here’s how they describe it:
It began when a favorite customer gave her favorite aunt a special gift—one book, every month, for a year.
Rather than picking, packing,and shipping the books herself, she arranged for us to do it. We picked books she would like and sent them to her. That inspired our Aunt Lydia Personal Book Club.
1. We send a certificate telling the recipients about the books they’ll be receiving.
2. We’ll discuss with you what books the recipient likes. Then we watch for just the right new books.
4. We’ll charge you for the books when they are shipped.
5. All books will be shipped with complementary gift wrap and a gift card.
6. All books are fully returnable (but most “Aunt Lydias” are usually very satisfied with their gifts).
Here’s How it Works:
You can personalize your Aunt Lydia gift to fit the gift recipient. People who love to travel can be given the gift of a new work of travel literature every month or two months. Fiction lovers can be sent fiction, mystery lovers the latest thrillers, and history buffs the finest of new historical writing.
HOW COOL IS THAT?
Unfortunately, I can’t afford to do this for anyone right now, but I’m totally keeping this in mind for the future. A handpicked book sent as a gift once a month?! Talk about thoughtful.
So friends! What kinds of individual efforts do you do to encourage reading? Do you read to your kids? Buy books as gifts even if you know the book may languish on a shelf? Got any good ideas for me?