Vintage Books have just published a collection of ten essays called Stop What You’re Doing and Read This! by authors from the worlds of science, publishing, technology and social enterprise. Our very own Jane Davis, writing about how The Reader Organisation‘s Reading Revolution came into being, appears alongside Carmen Callil, Nicholas Carr, Mark Haddon, Blake Morrison, Tim Parks, Michael Rosen, Zadie Smith, Jeanette Winterson and Drs Maryanne Wolf & Mirit Barzillai.
The book’s editor, Frances Macmillan, tells us on the book’s blog:
The writers are all from very different backgrounds. Some grew up with a multitude and variety of wonderful books within their reach; some had parents who imparted to them a fierce desire for books and for learning; for others, books were hard to come by, or even illicit. But all ten are united here in a passionate belief in the distinctive and irreplaceable pleasures and powers of reading.
In a year of rude awakenings to low levels of literacy and a widespread apathy towards books and reading, this book demands an interruption. Stop What You’re Doing and Read. Read these essays, because they aim to convince you to make reading part of your daily life. Read a novel because it will enable you to travel in time and space, or else quicken your sense of ordinary existence – family tensions, falling in or out of love, growing up or growing old. Read a poem, because it won’t be as difficult as you think, and it might help you uncover and articulate a thought or a feeling previously buried deep. Read a story, if you’re short on time, because it imposes a unique period of peace and concentration into your busy life. Read out loud, to your children, to a partner, because reading together casts a potent and intimate spell.
The book aims to start people talking and thinking about books, and valuing reading itself in a new way, so we’re starting up a blog as a way of carrying on that conversation. We want to hear from readers – which books or poems do you love? Which book or poem changed the way you see the world? Have you ever found consolation or relief in reading a great book? Do you ever read books or poems aloud? We’ll be recommending great books throughout the year, encouraging debate about the importance of reading and we want to hear from you.
Read more about the book and share your comments on the Stop blog. You can also ask questions, recommend great books and join in the debate.