.Disaster Preparedness: Bring a Book.

“I always read a lot. I read the same amount, no matter what season it is. I read every night. When I’m on book tour, I’m on airplanes all the time, so I’m always reading. People say, ‘How do you have time to read?’ Oh, come on, it’s simple! You’re single and you don’t watch television.”— John Waters

I love to read because it makes me happy. Whenever someone asks me how I can find time to read I most likely always answer, “Because I make time for it.” I wrote about how to read more here already but I have some more stuff to add. For example:

Carry a book with you at all times.

“Because I was carrying the book around all the time, I pulled it out all the time: On the subway, walking down the block to get groceries…” – Clive Thompson https://br5.bookriot.com/quarterly/bkr07/amp/

I carry a book with me wherever I go. Pick up at my son’s school? Book is in my purse. I call it my emergency book. You never know where you end up, what will happen or if you do not want to talk to people. Grocery store lines, waiting in offices, at traffic lights, killing some time, lunch breaks; to carry a book with me is my version of disaster preparedness. Like doomsday preppers. I know someone who watches it with a passion.

Read and date several books at the same time. Then decide which one you want to go with. Have a book next to your bed. Go to bed early and read in bed. Wake up early and read two pages before you get out of bed.

Stop reading books you do not like.

“There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag – and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty – and vice-versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you.” – Doris Lessing

If you don’t “feel” a book and get nothing out of it, just put it down and pick up another one. (For me: Infinite Jest!) There are so many great books out there. Find the ones that make you happy. I give a book usually fifty pages to catch my interest. Stop reading what society decides you should have read by now. Like 100 books you should have read by now. Do not take Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina in your beach bag to Cancun. You are not going to read it. Sometimes a book is just not for you. Don’t read a book to just impress others. “Look at me, I am reading Kierkegaard on the bus. I am very smart.” Read what you love. I know you will love this one.

Visit your local independent bookstores and libraries.

“You must go to the library and fall in love.” – Ray Bradbury

My son and I love to go to the local library. Or to Ottawa’s best and most well-curated selection or used books and independent bookstore, The Black Squirrel. It is glorious to spend time browsing and shopping at this place. My son cannot read yet but he loves to explore and discover. These days he is into Star Wars. However, he is afraid of The Hobbit because of Gollum and National Geographic books in French are used to cut out animal pictures for art projects. I know the most amazing librarian who knows exactly what 5-year-old boys love to “read” because she shows interest and asks my son what he is into these days. Browsing through indie bookstores is an adventure because it is the serendipity of the stacks combined with the magical discoveries of book-treasures that often happens when I least expect it.

Talk about books.

“Read the books you love, tell people about authors you like, and don’t worry about it.” – Neil Gaiman

Talking about books will give you more ideas about new books to read and interesting conversations. Just ask what others are reading. Maybe keep track of what you are reading. For example, I signed up at the website Goodreads. When a book really inspired me, I wrote about it on my blog. Share the books you love in whatever way you can.

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