Anais Nin wrote, in December 1931:
“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book (Lady Chatterley, for instance), or you take a trip, or you talk with [someone], and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death.”
So, what better reason to accept the library’s challenge to read 21 books in 2021. (I mean, it’s not as if you’re going to be making your around-the-world tour in person this year. But the imagination knows no travel restrictions.
You could start with this innocent looking Google Doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1l6g2MxvJWcYUi-L2Kwajw8uR10A3jPDxX2Usu9rSp70/edit
Or you could start with the back page:
Or you could start with a cover. I mean, you can’t judge the book this way, but there’s no reason not to choose it.
But mostly, start with the rules, borrowed from Austin Kleon, because they’re so good.
Quit reading books you don’t like.
No-one is going to give you a failing grade for not finishing.
Don’t torture yourself. It might not be the right book for you, or the right time for this book for you, or it might actually suck. There are bad books out there. Just put it down and walk away, and find something else!
Keep your phone on airplane mode. When that little boredom beast starts to purr inside your mind, and you reach for your phone, instead of surfing, swiping, instagramming etc, open to the book you have downloaded on audible or libby, or whatever app you like, and listen or read…
Share the ones you love. There’s nothing more fun that having a common language with someone… there’s nothing more amazing than sharing a common imaginary playground with someone… And in my opinion, there’s no faster way to fast track a friendship than to hear someone say, “oh yes, those last 2 books you read are on my list, or were my favourites last year.” Good chance you’ll have enough in common to get along, or at least enjoy one good conversation.
One thought on “Read more books. Because it “awakens us from the slumber of almost-living.””
I have been devouring books these past months and finally got Good Reads to make note of them. Now when I’m in need of my next stack from the library, I have a list of favorite authors to return to or a whole community of readers to look to for new recommendations.