I love books, but I’m a slow reader. Being a slow reader can be daunting when standing side-by-side with readers who have reached the “One Book a Week for One Year” mark or, the even more seemingly unattainable, “100 Books in One Year” status. I feel slightly embarrassed when I finish a book and proudly update my Goodreads status, only to see that my “Date Started” was more than a month ago (or two). It seems that some of my friends add three times as many books to their Goodreads profiles in the time it takes me to add that single title. (Although one friend recently confessed that he marks books as “Read,” even when he’s just scanned them. He claims that he comprehends enough of the plot of some books to deem them as “Read.” You know who you are!)
I stopped feeling sorry about my slow reading pace when I read this article earlier this year about the dwindling reading habits of Americans. To summarize it:
• One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
• 42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
• 80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
• 70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
• 57 percent of new books are not read to completion.
The statistics may be old (from a 2003 study), but they’re not dated. Actually, if you do a search for reading habits of Americans, nearly every year since the beginning of this decade makes reference to the high percentage of Americans who NEVER read ONE book in a year’s time. I can’t even wrap my head around how that’s possible! It seems like even if it’s accidentally, even if it happens to be a children’s picture book that was sitting on the table in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, everyone should have read at least one book in a year’s time!
These two extremes of reading got me thinking: Wouldn’t it be great to reduce that percentage of bookless Americans all the while making it perfectly ok to not feel inadequate if you don’t read 52+ books a year? Why not make reading attainable again by simply striving to read one book a month, whether it’s a children’s picture book or Murakami’s latest tome?
So in January 2012, we’re kicking off 12/12/12: 12 books in 12 months in 2012. Here’s the plan:
• You can participate through the Village Books Facebook page, Twitter feed, Goodreads group (Village Bookians) or by registering in the store come January
• At the beginning of each month, we’ll ask you what book you’ve chosen for that particular month
• During the middle of each month, we’ll check in to see how your book is
• At the end of each month, we’ll do a final check in to see what you thought of the book
• Rinse, repeat 12 times
Each month, folks who tell us what book they read will be entered in drawings for one of four $5.00 Village Books gift cards--one each through Facebook, Twitter, Village Bookians & in the store (we'll have a display in the store where you can enter).
Yeah, it’s kinda like a book club, but without the obligation of being somewhere at a specific time…or of having to read a book you don’t actually want to…or of having to hear gossip that you’re really not interested in…or of having to drink wine…well, you could still enjoy the wine. And men? Yes, even you can feel comfortable participating! (We still truly and honestly believe that book groups are not just for women, despite popular belief.)
Don't want to actively participate in the discussion? Simply do this on your own and you'll still have the satisfaction of reading 12 books in a year’s time!