As a “published author”, it PAINS me to write the following sentence: I have become a “collector” of books, as opposed to a “reader” of books. Argh! How did that happen? The whole purpose of books is for them to be read, enjoyed, and passed along to others to enjoy. I blame two good friends, the Brown sisters of Nashville, TN, for this new flaw in my reading habits. Well, them and the Kindle app on my Samsung Galaxy phone. Thanks to Kindle, it is easy to download books to my phone and tablet for “later enjoyment”. Thanks to the Brown sisters, I am now subscribed to two email lists that tell me about FREE books to download and enjoy. (PixelInk and InspiredReads). So, I currently have over 100 books just sitting on my “shelves” waiting to be read.
And that doesn’t even take into consideration the books that I have borrowed, renewed and still returned unread to my local public library recently. Yes, I still believe in the public library and REAL books. With the advent and popularity of e-books, a lot of people have moved away from the pleasure of holding a book in their hands, smelling the pages, and then curling up on the couch, in the bed, in a chair – and reading. Until recently, I could have said, NOT ME, but lately … I haven’t taken or made the time to do what I used to love to do.
Granted, it was a lot easier to find the time to read when I was using public transportation to commute back and forth to work. That was a guaranteed 30-45 minutes, twice a day, where I could get some reading in (if the rocking sway of the bus didn’t put me to sleep). It is a little harder to carve out the time to read now that I work an overnight shift and have to drive myself to and from work. (Oh the horror!)
Having just published my first book, I have a whole ‘nuther perspective. Was it worth pouring out heart and soul into a book if no one reads it? Several of my friends very enthusiastically purchased copies of my book when it was released – and I am extremely grateful for their support. I solicited feedback and have been humbled by some of the stories I have been told about how friends have been blessed by reading something I wrote. (God amazes me constantly that He trusts sinful beings like me to help promote Him, but that’s the subject for another blog on another day.) But, I have also been surprised to hear some of these same friends (when I ask them for feedback) tell me, “Oh, I haven’t started reading it yet”, followed by the reason the book is now sitting on their coffee table or bookshelf, waiting. And while I understand it – after all, I bought a book to support a fellow author friend of mine recently and haven’t cracked the spine once – there is always a moment of “well, why did you buy the book if you weren’t going to read it?”
I wonder if that is how God feels when we don’t pick up the book He wrote especially for us? The Bible is consistently the number one best-selling book in the world – and yet, how many of us are guilty of buying it and then putting on a shelf – forgotten and unread? I know I am guilty. I have various versions of the Bible – each one purchased with the intent of “this time, I’m going read this through”. Yeah, I have YET to read the entire Bible through in a year, no matter what version I have to read. I wonder if God sits there and shakes His head that He has provided all the guidance, instruction, encouragement, and examples we need to make it through any situation – and we don’t access it because our Bibles sit on the shelves, instead of being in our hands and hearts.
So, while it’s all well, good and convenient to have all the books I have in my virtual and literal collections, I think I will be better served when I actually start reading them. What do you think?
©2012 Kristina E. Smith