In the digital age of Android and iPads, Facebook and Instagram, I think there’s the need for a new Reader’s Manifesto, a statement of action that will remind readers everywhere of their identity and the difference that reading makes in a busy world.
As a reader,
- I will read when I am bored, instead of checking my phone or tablet. I will read a story instead.
- I will read in the bathroom when I have an extra moment, instead of checking my phone.
- When I wake in the morning, I will read a chapter from my book instead of doing a first checkin on email and social media. Because I know that beginning my day with a good book will make me happier, better adjusted and more ready for a long day.
- When I go to bed in the evening, I will read a chapter from my book instead of doing a last checkin on email and social media. Because I know that ending my day with a good book will make me happier, and will lead to better sleep.
- I will read a book when I am bored in a grocery line, instead of checking my phone. Perhaps I might even converse with the people around me, and hear their stories.
- I will read on airplanes. I will read on buses. I will read on subways. I will read on trains. I will read on submarines. I will read on aircraft carriers. I will read everywhere!
- In fact, I will read on the subway and the bus, even if I have to take quick gulps, just a sentence or two that I can ponder, instead of checking social media for the last insipid update. Perhaps I might even read and ponder a poem. Both take the same amount of focus, both may lead me to the same car-sickness, but one is meaningful and long-lasting, and the other is the beat of a mayfly’s wings.
- When I am waiting and bored, I will pull out my book and immerse myself in an alternate world of wonder and insight, instead of checking my phone. I might, if I forgot my book, simply allow myself to be bored, and drift into that place of emergent creativity through my moment of boredom.
- I will read in the waiting time. I will read when I have to wait for an appointment. I will read when I’m waiting for an interview to begin. I will read when I’m holding on a conference call. I will read when my flight is delayed. I will read when my bus is stuck in traffic. I will read when I have to wait, instead of doing anything else.
- I will read on my breaks at work. I will read on my breaks from home chores. I will read when I don’t have a break at all, and just want to know what happens next in the story!
- When I am with my children, I will turn off my phone and read to them, or focus on them. They will always remember that moment, for the rest of their lives. I will never remember, two seconds later, what I read on my phone in that same fleeting moment.
- When I am with my parents or siblings, I will turn off my phone and focus on them. I will always remember looking in their eyes and talking with them. But whatever was on my phone will be forgotten.
- When I am with my friends, I will focus on them, or I will read to them. And if they don’t like me reading to them, perhaps it’s time to find new friends.
- I will evangelize reading as a way to make the world a more interesting and better place!
- I will write reviews for my favorite books and tell people about the books I love.
- I will read when I am bored. I will read when I am happy. I will read when I am upset. I will read when I am sad. I will make time for reading each and every day.
- I will read. Always.