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Just Keep Reading

I can’t resist the urge to blog about just one more list. If you follow us on Twitter, you may have already seen this beautiful essay on the literary blog The Millions: 28 Books to Read If You Want To. Don’t panic – it’s not really a list! The essay is celebrating the joy of serendipity in your reading life, urging us all to let go of our Must-Read lists and make room for the books that find us.

I discovered one of my favorite books because the author called our store and charmed the living daylights out of me. I found another in a box of old books that my Russian literature professor left outside his office to give away. So while I do think that you should read the canon if it interests you, I think it’s more important that you read the books that find their own way into your hands.

What follows is a lovely and inspiring meditation on the many ways books wander into our lives, when we’re paying attention to them. And between the lines of the essay is a message for authors who have a book to promote – the best marketing for your work is a reader who’s in love with your story.

You should read the book that you see someone reading for hours in a coffee shop — there when you got there and still there when you left — that made you envious because you were working instead of absorbed in a book.

That’s how the excitement spills from the quiet act of reading to everyone that you meet throughout the day.

This essay is a great relief to those of us with stacks of unread books in our homes and award lists half-checked-off. Trends come and go, bestsellers burn up the charts and then fade into oblivion, but the joy of reading lasts through book after book after book.

Do you keep a TBR list? How did you discover your favorite author?

2 Responses to Just Keep Reading

  1. Lorelei says:

    I read about 140 books a year, and my “obligation” list springs in part from my guilt over my poor early education in literature and in part from the pressure of now running a workshop at a writers conference. The pressure to read everything current, all award winners, all new works from well-known writers, etc., is strong. I want to be able to recommend works to writers and have a sense of what’s going on out there. Makes me wish I were a speed reader!

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