alexgeorgefinalLong before I started writing books, I used to read them, obsessively and passionately. I still do. The good news is that it is an excellent time to be a reader. Now you can carry whole libraries with you on your laptop, tablet, e-reader or even phone. Millions of volumes are available to download at the press of a button. You don’t even have to read anymore; with audiobooks, you can listen while you walk the dog or drive to the supermarket. For those of us who still prefer the old technology- you know, the whole paper and ink thing- independent bookstores are thriving across the country. There are countless blogs, podcasts and websites where we can discuss books with others and find suggestions for our next read. And, most importantly of all, great writers are still writing wonderful books.

Despite this being something of a golden age for readers, though, a lot of people have confessed to me that they don’t read books anymore. many reasons are given; there’s already too much to read (newspapers, magazines, a gazillion screens of online content): it’s hard to know what to choose; and (perhaps most of all) theres just not enough time. I understand all this. But actually, it’s not so hard. So if you haven’t picked up a book in a while, do yourself a favor. Ask your friends what was the best book they read last year, or try this month’s suggestion. Buy it, download it, borrow it- it doesn’t matter. But give it a chance. Make it a priority to find a little time each day to tuck yourself away somewhere quiet, and read a few pages. Before long you’ll be devising schemes to carve out more time. And, oh yes: if you don’t like the book you’ve chosen, for heaven’s sake, stop. You’re an adult. There’s no test and no medals for slogging miserably through to the end. Just pick up another one, and try again.

Good luck, and happy reading!

 

 

This month’s pick:

All the Light We Cannot See, By Anthony Doerr allthelightwecannotsee

The mega-selling historical novel and finalist for the National Book Award is set in Northern France toward the end of World War II and tells the intertwined stories of Marie-Laure, a blind French girl, and Werner, a young German soldier. Don’t be put off by the war setting; the story is more about the interior lives of the young protagonists, and it’s both complex and beautiful. This is everything I long for in a novel: a wonderful, intricate story you can escape into for hours, richly drawn characters, and the writing itself is quite exquisite. Highly recommend.

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