Tomorrow is an important birthday.
Oh sure, I turn 45 tomorrow, but I was actually thinking of a different birthday. October 24, 2014, was the day On Being a Writer, the book I coauthored with Ann Kroeker, was officially published.
Of course, I didn’t know it was published that day. I found out three days later when I stumbled on the Amazon page where our book was for sale to anyone who ordered it. When I mentioned to our publisher that I it looked like the book “accidentally” published early, she initiated the surprise launch campaign she had planned, and Ann and I celebrated for days.
In the past year since our book was born, Ann and I hosted three launch parties, attended three library book fairs, held free workshops in five more libraries across central Indiana, offered two in-person workshops in Texas and Nebraska, Skyped in to the Five-Minute Friday retreat in Tennessee, and repeated the online workshop that spawned the book in the first place. Seven participants joined us from New Jersey, Michigan, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Colorado, and Washington.
Today, however, I was saddened to read that the overall number of book readers in America is dropping. According to the Pew Research findings, those who read print books dropped by 6 percent, while those who read ebooks or listen to audio books has flatlined. For an author celebrating a one-year book anniversary, those statistics feel grim. But there are some positive notes: young people read more than old people. And another recent survey shows that young people actually prefer print books to digital ones.
The most disheartening statistic of them all, though, is the 2014 study that revealed the number of young people who read for fun is declining. What have we done to reading to make it so distasteful?
Then again, my own book reading seems to be diminishing as I spend more time on devices and less time curled up on the couch lost in the stories and ideas of others. I’ve read several books this year, don’t get me wrong. But reading for fun? I do it less than ever. You, too?
This weekend, let’s change that. The Guardian offers lots of resources for making reading fun for children, but I’d like to help you make reading fun for yourself. Remember the old Pizza Hut BookIt program where kids would read books and earn a free Pan Pizza? Well, I don’t have any pizzas to give away, but I have created a printable worksheet where you can make your own reading-for-fun plan. Also, everyone who leaves a comment to tell me the last book you read for fun — or the next book you are planning to read for fun — will receive a printable bookmark I created just for you (print it on cardstock, cut it out, and wallah!).
Oh, and one other thing: everyone who leaves a comment on this post, subscribes to my email list, or shares this post on social media by October 29 also will be entered into a drawing for a $25 Pizza Hut gift card. Because guess what? Adults like pizza, too!