The transformative effects of reading are clear. Reading is education and enjoyment. There are so many resources available to let you do more of it.
“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes” – Erasmus, Letter to Jacob Batt (12 April 1500)
There are extensive resources available that allow you to read without cost and without acquiring every book you read as possession.
The most important tool people overlook in searching for books is WorldCat.org WorldCat is a search engine that scans more than 10,000 libraries worldwide and helps you find items nearest to you. It allows you to filter search results by zip code so that you find the best source local to you to acquire the book for free. It is superior to a search at your regional library because it includes all the university libraries, which often allow any citizen a membership as well. A quick search on WorldCat should be a prerequisite for almost any book purchase.
Another library related tool is OverDrive, which allows you to download and borrow digital materials such as the newest releases of ebooks and audio books that are available from your library.
Additional tools for accessing fantastic books are Gutenberg and Librivox because they allow you to tap into the wealth of works contained in the public domain, which is where books “relocate” to when their term of copyright expires. Basically, you should never again pay for a book published more than 90 years ago. Not only will this type of book be available in almost every library around, they are given away free in digital format by communities working to make these classics available to all. Because Project Gutenburg has more than 45,000 ebooks available, a good place to start for many is their most downloaded books.
Librivox volunteers create audio recordings of public domain books and make them available for download but also as free podcasts in the iTunes Store. They sync great with an iPhone or iPod. Among many others listened to, I personally have enjoyed listening to Librivox recordings of John Muir’s My First Summer in the Sierra, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Rudyard Kipling’s Kim.
Listening to audio books can be meditative. In graduate school, I eliminated television watching by listening to about a chapter a day of a Hemingway or Jack London story. It became part of my unwinding routine before bed. I listened on long drives out to trail heads, and I reclaimed time while cooking meals or cleaning dishes. Audio books give you a chance to rest your eyes from screen time bombardment. In my opinion, it is much easier to adjust to listening to fiction than it is to non-fiction. It took many months of familiarity with audio books before I really enjoyed the transition to non-fiction audio books.
The key to awakening as an avid reader is finding a book that really excites you. In 2011, I picked up my first volitionally selected book in close to a decade. All it took was finding that right book that would spark a fire, and, before I knew it, I found myself reading 30 to 50 books each year with my sights set on many more.