I would describe myself as an avid reader (ex literature grad), but one day I realised that I embarrassingly couldn’t think of the last time I’d actually read a book cover to cover.
I bought The Luminaries but I hadn’t even got past the prologue. I’ve got novels with spines unbroken clogging my bookshelf. I’m too busy, or online checking my emails or Facebook, or fall asleep after the first few paragraphs… The more I talked to other people that missed reading, I found I wasn’t alone.
I was discovering the lost generation of book lovers. Are you out there?
I’d heard of Slow Food and Slow Travel, but the Slow Reading movement was a new one on me until I started researching it. It takes the idea that when we slow down and read a book, we can gain real benefits.
A recent UK study showed that just six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by two thirds (more than listening to music or having a cup of tea).
Immersing yourself in someone else’s story can help your skills of empathy. Reading aids your spelling and vocabulary (is the online Thesaurus your friend? It is mine). And in our digitally overwhelming times, we train ourselves to skim and scan, rather than really read. I think of it like a holiday for your head.
So I started reading again – and it was great. But I always think that things are more fun when you share it with others. And, like a yoga class, you’re more likely to do it when you have it locked in the diary.
The idea of the Slow Reading Club is to create a cosy, quiet, weekly social where people bring their books, grab a drink or a bite, read for an hour, then head home or stay for a chat together. Find a local Club or contact me about bringing one to your area.