Friday, March 30, 2012

Entry # 50 – “Who Reads: What and Why?”

"Sundown - Always Different " - Jan Bowman Oct./2011
A few weeks ago I spoke with someone who said that when he goes to someone’s home he can tell a lot about what people value by noticing what kinds of reading materials he sees in the home.  Books, newspapers, puzzles or magazines, whether scattered about or neatly stored, are strong indicators about what that family values and, as such, serves as an important conversation touchstone.  He went on to say that when he goes to homes of younger people, fewer books are in sight and this is part of the downside of electronic devices and digital books.  People may not share their ideas from digital books as they might with tangible books.  Even though it’s possible to “borrow” or share an e-book, he didn’t know many people who do so; e-books seem rather personal, like a toothbrush. Which leads me to wonder how are we changing as readers and writers?

Lately I had focused time and energy on the evolving ways we might all come together to build a hardy community of writers, and then I had this jolt into a slightly different reality.  Maybe some of our focus as writers should be to think more  about our community of readers, too. And I wondered how much impact the form, the genre and the format have on what we're reading and why. After all, why write if there’s no one to read what we write?

Now I have a Kindle and a house filled with bookcases and books; I read daily, and yet I don’t know that I talk a lot about my digital books, but I often will hand over an interesting paperback or hardcover book to family or friends. E-books do seem much more personal and private.  Maybe we do see them as somewhat like a "toothbrush." So how are we changing as community of readers?  And isn't that change a remarkable evolution?  Shouldn't we talk about it?

I am convinced that the book in all of its many tangible forms, formats and varied genres is far from dead.  I believe that as more interesting content is accessible to almost anyone who can read, and find a "brick & mortar," a public library, or an online source, more people are reading and will read.  We won’t all read, enjoy, and recommend the same things, but readers are sprouting up everywhere.  So let’s explore that thought a bit here.

What do you read?  How often do you read? I ask friends and family to see what they’ll say. I follow up with questions like:  What are you reading right now?  Why did you select this book to read?   So I’ve said a few words about this topic, and now I’ll toss it out there for a larger reading public.  In 50 words or less write a note about what you’re reading and why you are reading it.  What is the form or format? If you wish, feel free to add another 25 or so words, tell us what you think of what you’re reading. Do you recommend it or not?

So I’ll begin.    I just finished The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life by Piero Ferrucci.  My son recommended it to me and I recommend it to you.  “It’s a stirring examination of a simple, but profound concept.  Ferrucci reveals that the kindest people are the most likely to thrive, to enable others to thrive, and to slowly but steadily turn our world away from violence, self-centeredness, and narcissism- toward love.”   
 Mine is a paperback.  I ordered it from Amazon and will likely share it with others.        
Okay.  Your turn. Go for it readers. 
Non-Readers -  as Iguanas - Photo Credit: Jan Bowman - Oct. 2011 

"Not everyone reads but at least these Iguanas have a good excuse."

Jan Bowman’s work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, Broadkill Review, Trajectory, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes, and others. She won the 2012 Roanoke Review Prize for Fiction. Her stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best American Short Stories and a story was a finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest. She is working on two collections of short stories and currently shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection. She has nonfiction work pending publication in Spring 2013 Issues of Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.   Learn more at:

1 comment:

  1. Just finished "Growing up Amish." Picked it because it was only $1.99 on my Kindle and after reading a few pages for free, I wanted to read more. I learned what "barn door pants" and "galluses" were. Nice book about a different world.