Get into reading again – part 2 How to prioritize the stack of books growing on your bedside table

Image result for PILE OF BOOKSThis was posted by Jenny Shank on the Barnes and Noble Blog and it’s great advice- “If you’re a book lover, you likely suffer from a common problem: the bedside book stack that threatens to grow so large you might well end up like Anthony Cima, the elderly San Diego gentleman who became buried in his collection of 9,000 books following an earthquake in July of 1986. When rescuers dug him out, he thanked them then asked for a book to read. If you’re going to work your way through your to-be-read pile before it topples, you’ll need a plan. How do you decide what to read next?

  1.  Remove anything that guilted its way onto your stack

So your dentist found out you’re a reader and passed along one of her favorite books…about dentistry. Unless it’s Joshua Ferris’s dentistry novel To Rise Again At A Decent Hour, which is—trust me—very entertaining, pass on this book. Skip the book you were supposed to read for book club three months ago, and your neighbour’s self-published whaling-themed novel. Let them go on to seek readers who are really into whaling history. It’s for the best. Maybe you and that book will cross paths again someday, but there are lots of other whaling novels in the sea.

 

  1. Next, look at your stacks and grab the book that makes you most excited

Maybe you can’t wait to read the latest book by your favorite author (In my case that’s Richard Price as Harry Brandt’s new novel The Whites, written under the pseudonym Harry Brandt), or there’s a graphic novel you’ve been meaning to check out, or you just need a laugh and there’s a book by David Sedaris or Sloane Crosley or Mary Roach in your stack. Read it first. A happy reader is a fast reader, and your pile will reduce in no time.

 

  1. Consider alternating a classic with a contemporary

 It can be fun to go back and forth in time in your reading, and it’s doubly fun when the contemporary novel was inspired by the classic—try reading E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End back to back with Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, which she has said was a homage to Forster’s novel, or Michael Cunningham’s The Hours next to Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Speaking of Woolf, the new novel Vanessa and Her Sister, by Priya Parmar, told through diary entries and letters from the perspective of Woolf’s sister Vanessa, would pair well with any book by a Bloomsbury group author.

 

  1. Read a book given to you by a friend

 Recommending a book is one thing, but when a friend actually hands you a book and says, “Read this!,” it means not only did they love it, but they also saw something you would love in it, and they’re willing to wager the price of the book that they’re right. Even if you don’t end up as gaga about the book as your friend was, reading it will provide a nice excuse to meet up with them and discuss it.

 

  1. Read the book that will fall on you first if you don’t read it right now

Have we learned nothing from Anthony Cima? If that bedside book pile looks like it might tumble onto you while you sleep,  just read a few at random from the top before an earthquake hits. We’ll call this Safety Shuffle Mode.”

Get into reading again – part 1 How to stop being a lapsed reader

The novel cure: an A-Z of literary remediesAre you one of the UK’s 16 million lapsed readers? Do you ever sit down to read a book?  If the answer is never, and you can barely remember the last time you picked one up, what does it take to get back into reading.

Galaxy Quick Reads’ recent research found that those who read for as little as 30 minutes per week, are less likely to suffer from low mood and are 20% more likely to be satisfied with their lives. A wealth of health and wellbeing benefits are available to those who make time to read, from getting a better night’s sleep (43%), to boosting self-esteem (10%) and helping them feel less lonely (19%).

So what’s stopping 16 million lapsed readers from reading? 42% said lack of time was the biggest reason, yet we make time for social media and TV, so why not books?

Your guide to starting a new chapter:

  1. Try Audio Books

“Lots of people are snooty about them, they think they’re not really reading, but actually it’s just as valid because you end up spending more time with the book. Yes, you can’t fold down pages and flick back and forth with an audio book, but there are ways that you can get over that by making notes,” says author Ella Berthoud.

  1. Keep a reading notebook

“It’s a great idea for lapsed readers because you’re committing yourself to reading again, and every time you finish a book, you write down the title, author, place you you read it and a few notes about what you thought about the book, whether you enjoyed it, and that gives you quite a tangible relationship with the book. If you’re only going to read one book every two months, at least you can remember that book.”

  1. Share your reading

“Whether it’s short stories or a whole novel, read aloud with a partner or friend – it’s a great way to spend time together and it’s free. It’s a very romantic thing to do with a new boyfriend, or as a way to rekindle a longer-term relationship,” says Berthoud. “It’s very relaxing and it’s lovely to be the person being read to, and if you’re the one reading, you’re giving yourself to the other person.”

  1. Join a book group

“Or create your own, it’s a nice way of reading and being sociable at the same time.”

  1. Have a favourite bookshelf

“Have a place in your house that’s a collection of around 10 key books you feel are your reading identity. Remind yourself that you have loved reading, you still do love reading if you give yourself time to do it.”

  1. Revisit your younger reading self

“By re-reading books you loved as a child or teenager, you’re effectively time-travelling through the book. So, for instance, if you read Tess Of The D‘Urbervilles when you were 15 and you re-read it when you’re 25 and 35, even when you’re 55, you are instantly transported back to how you felt when you were 15. If you’ve read it many times, then you revisit all those younger selves, so it’s a great way of keeping in touch with yourself and how you felt. You can go back to that 15-year-old you and tell them what you wish you’d known when you were that age and even vice versa with your 15-year-old self saying, ‘Don’t worry, I still think you’re cool’.”

  1. Have reading time

“Every weekend, set aside at least one hour, preferably two, when you switch yourself off from all devices, leave phones and iPads in another room and then curl up somewhere cosy with a good book, ideally in a reading nook somewhere in your house that you’ve created. Tell your family that you’re reading for a couple of hours, if you’ve got small kids, get them to read as well. It’s a great habit to get into from early on for children to know that every Sunday afternoon after lunch, they’ll have quiet time for an hour – it’s a lovely, special time.”

Ella Berthoud, author of The Novel Cure: An A To Z Of Literary Remedies recommends fiction over self help and says  “Books influence how you behave and feel, so reading Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird will make you understand the morality of racism, and also the morality of bullying someone who’s a recluse and put you in their shoes, so you have more empathy with the rest of humanity.”

So does it matter what we read? A good book, often, is a question of taste – but don’t give up if the first ones you pick up don’t engage you.

 

Reading for pleasure boosts self esteem

A street cat named Bob: how one man and a cat saved each other's livesNew research on behalf of Galaxy Quick Reads has found that people who read regularly for pleasure have greater levels of self-esteem, are less stressed, and can cope better with difficult situations than lapsed or non-readers.

16m adults in the UK – almost a third of the UK adult population – are lapsed readers, who used to read but either rarely read now or don’t read at all, though 58% of people read regularly. People who read for 30 minutes a week are 20% more likely to report greater life satisfaction than those who do not, while readers are 21% less likely to report feelings of depression and are 10% more likely to report good self-esteem than non-readers.

Out of the darkBarriers for lapsed readers include lack of time and of enjoyment. The research found that 2.2m people in the UK who used to read now rarely or never pick up a book because of a difficult event in their lives, such as ill health, death or getting divorced and that 1.2m adults have stopped reading as a result of some form of depression.

Director of Quick Reads, Cathy Rentzenbrink, said: “I have always found reading to be a great source of comfort and this research confirms what I have long witnessed professionally: reading can help any one of us to be healthier, happier and ultimately to get more out of life.”

Dr.Josie Billington who carried out the research said: “Whilst the cumulative societal benefits of reading have been widely acknowledged, it’s important also to recognise the gains to be had from reading on our personal health and wellbeing.”

Galaxy Quick Reads’ 2015 titles which are in stock:

Dead Man Talking by Roddy Doyle

Paris for (Two) One by Jojo Moyes

Red for Revenge by Fanny Blake

Pictures or it Didn’t Happen by Sophie Hannah

Out of the Dark by Adele Geras

Street Cat Bob by James Bowen