How I’m Changing the Way I Read

This year I made a commitment to intentionally read more books by writers of colour (especially fiction) with a minimum being these 12 Female Writers of Colour by the end of 2018.

Over the last 3 years I’ve been on a minimalist journey. It has also been my intention not to hoard books unless I absolutely feel I will use them more than 3 times. Platforms like Audible that provide ebooks and audible books are a minimalist’s dream, however there are drawbacks too. For example, the voice and tempo of the narrator can either put you off or excite you and with ebooks, well… they are just not a hardcopy book. The other thing about digital books is that you can just as easily hoard collections online too.

One thing I am struggling with in my decision to stop buying books is the fact that writers (like many other types of artists) are getting undercut by the new consumer culture of leasing vs owning.  I especially am thinking about it since this year I’m trying to read more writers of colour yet not actually planning on purchasing most of their books. I welcome any thought on how to best reconcile this obvious paradox.

So far this year I’ve read some books via Audible and while I enjoyed the experience, I will probably stick to old school, hard copy book reading – at least for the most part. Which brings me to libraries.

I have always loved visiting and studying in libraries. I just love the idea concept of them – cozy open spaces with collections of thought. That’s what a library means to me. Reading has always been my favourite way to creep on other people’s thoughts. It allows you see into the minds and lives of other humans which is why I believe every single one of us should be a writer. Libraries harbour it all – even when they aren’t the “best-selling” reads. That’s why I love them.

One of the great fortunes of living in Toronto is the incredibly resourced and networked Toronto Public Library. Our library system is the largest public library system in Canada and also the largest neighbourhood-based library system in the world. In North America, it also has the highest circulation and visitors when compared to other large urban systems. Our libraries offer more than just books, but a community of readers, creators, information seekers and explorers.

I’m not oblivious of the reality that not everyone has a access to a library but I sure believe we should all invest in our local library systems however big or small they may be. Here are some easy ways for you to transform the way you and others read;

  1. Get a library card and start borrowing books.
  2. Donate money or your old books to your local library system or underserved communities.
  3. Organize a book swap for your family, friends or neighbours.
  4. Start a street library and encourage neighbours to do the same. Or better yet, build it together!

live & love,
tinashe

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