I agree with the saying “You are what you eat”, and I think it is even true to say “You are what you read”. Or more accurately, “You will become what you read”.
You eat a banana – you are not going to become a banana. You read a book – it’s in your brain. The seed is there. It can grow or wither. It can consume your soul and invade your dreams. This holds true for fiction and non-fiction books. This is why I’ve always been curious as to “why” someone makes a particular book choice. Saying “I just want to escape” only goes so far. That works better for television than for books. Reading is a different beast from the creatures on television and movie screens.
This is why I let out a big ‘YES‘ when I opened my mailbox and read the new Bookmarks letter from Jon Phillips, the magazine’s Editor. Phillips wants to start a new feature in the magazine. A page full of chunks of text from readers everywhere explaining why they are reading the book they are currently reading. Phillips sees value in this even beyond sociological curiosity. He rightfully picks up on the response many of us get when ask others about books:
“I’m not reading anything right now.”
I’ve always let the conversation hop topics at that point. Phillips takes the next step (which I am going to start doing as well), which is to ask:
“Well why not? What’s in the way?”
Just imagine the insights you’ll be given into your friends’ worries or your co-workers’ stress. What a great way to pick up on where they think they are and how they think they’re doing. What a great way to learn from and (hopefully) take a first step in helping those around you.
Phillips is asking anyone who wants to share “what you’re reading now and why” to email him Jon [at] bookmarksmagazine.com. I plan on contributing, but I also plan on posing his questions to folks I bump into this week. So send in the “why” of your book choice to Jon and the Bookmarks magazine crew if you feel like it!