I tried not to squawk or burst out laughing or stare. But as I sat quietly, my head shot up and I did stare. And I’m almost sure I shook my head, rolled my eyes and in some other way, incriminated myself, as I gawked in total disbelief at two women having conversation in the local hair salon.
I fidgeted in my chair and attempted to look normal, crossing and un-crossing my legs, wanting desperately to stand up and say: “What do you mean, you don’t read? Are you INSANE?” But I didn’t do that. No, I did what any other respectable writer would do, I yanked out my iPhone and began filling my notes app with their conversation.
“Oh gosh no, I just can’t concentrate for that long. I mean some books are 500 pages! Who has time for that?” She went on. “Really though, even if I did have the time, why would I want to read a book that long? I’ve got better things to do.”
Even if I wasn’t a writer and a voracious reader, I still would have been speechless. Seriously? Reading is a waste of time??
It got me thinking.
The perception of reading is a varied one. One that is generally learned from childhood. If you are introduced to reading in a positive way as a child, you are more likely to love reading as an adult. If not..well, you’re missing out on a truly incredible part of life.
One of the main reasons, if not the main reason I read so much, is because of my mom who ALWAYS reads. She recommends books, passes them down to me and had me reading novels at a very young age. I was taught to love books by example. And what an important example it was and continues to be. I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn’t have a genuine love for books.
So although it has been said before, I have to say it again, hats off to JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer for gaining an enormous wealth of young readers. Regardless of whether you are or aren’t a Harry Potter or Twilight fan, these authors both did something very special.
They got millions of kids to read. Millions. And they changed the view of reading from something kids thought was a boring waste, to something they thought was cool and important and fun.
They changed the way generations of kids view books.
And thank goodness for that because as writers we need as many readers as we can possibly get.