Does Anyone Read Books Anymore?

I hope so.  Unfortunately, in my particular social fishbowl very few people read books.  Boy, did I have a hard time finding volunteers to read my novel, not that I really put it out there to be read before self-publication.  I was very protective of my secret love child.  Only my partner read it all the way through, bless his heart.

Yes, there are just too many distractions competing for our attention: television, mobile phones, video games, the internet.  We’re overwhelmed.  It’s a busy, busy world out there.  Who has the time to sit down and read a book anymore?  And where did all our free time go anyway?  Did Steve Jobs steal it?  I remember when I used to have more than enough extra hours for reading, even in college.

Of course, I’m as guilty as the next person.  I watch television, I own a smart phone, I play video games, and I surf the internet.  I don’t read much narrative fiction anymore, though I do read a lot of books.  So what right do I have to tell people to go read a book?

Too many people have given up on reading.  “Why should I read a book,” they say, “I’ll just wait for it to come out on film.”  It seems many authors are listening and are tailoring their novels to sell as screenplays.  But I refused to sell out, as Holden Caulfield might say.  Even as I was writing my story I knew it would be very difficult to adapt to film.  There are no big explosions, there are no epic battle scenes, yet I continued anyway.

Me… I’m very picky about the fictional books I read.  I can’t tell you how many novels I’ve started only to quit a few chapters in.  They failed to hold my interest.  If it’s written like a movie script without offering any insight I’ll just give up.  I might as well watch a movie.  If the plot moves too slowly because the author is in love with his/her own prose I’ll just give up.  For the most part I tried to write the kind of book I wanted to read, the kind of book that just wasn’t being written anymore.  I wanted to write the kind of book I would have fallen in love with in college.

Why should you read a book?  Why should you spend your free time on such an arduous task?  (You mean besides the fact that you’ve become mentally lazy, passively absorbing your entertainment like a bloated self-indulgent sponge?)  Why?  Because when you find that one book that you become lost within, that you never want to end, it’s an experience like no other.  It’s more absorbing than sitting in a theater, it’s more personal than watching television, and it’s more rewarding than surfing the internet. Why?  Because it’s more than a passing infatuation – you will fall madly, deeply in love.  This transformational experience is happening inside you, deep within your soul.

Now, I can’t claim to have written that book for you, but I hope you find it before you leave this world, and take the experience with you into the next.


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