First of all, Happy New Year! Thanks so much for tracking with me on this adventure called reading. Indulge me in my usual New Year’s rant, this time about the value of books that may be older but are not lesser in value because of it.
In our world of consumerism we are subtly but steadily conditioned by marketing and advertising to grow a dislike to something old, and long for something new and improved. I have to remind myself that what I have is not just good enough, it’s stuff that I once chose and unless it’s broken or worn out, will still do very nicely. That old pair of corduroys, pushed to the back of the drawer by skinny jeans and leggings. That old summer cole slaw recipe, left in the dust by quinoa, pomegranate, and arugula. That old classic I’ve always wished I’d read, while new titles like baubles blink at me from bookseller windows and websites.
One of my favourite podcasts is Books on the Nightstand (stay tuned, next blog post is on podcasts). One of their regular features is “Don’t you forget about me!” It’s a segment where the presenters Ann and Michael recommend older book titles that may have been missed. Because frankly, we can’t read everything all the time. There’s way too much out there. And it’s perfectly fine to pick up a book that was written 2 or 20 years ago! It doesn’t always have to be the latest!
At the risk of sounding cynical, increasingly I wonder whether agents are pushing books to publication too soon, in a rush to vie for a spot on this year’s Bestseller list. I get that feeling when I find the ending rushed or the book doesn’t quite match the accolades on the cover. Or when an author is so famous and has pumped out so many books, that it seems the publishers have let it go without some necessary editing.
Readers let’s take a deep breath and realize this is not a sprint to read it all, despite all those emails from Amazon about what books are “coming soon”–enjoy reading of any kind, new or older. Authors let’s take the time to write something timeless instead of rushing to be the latest new paperback. Let’s not let the new book market sway us from authors and topics that we love. And don’t fret about bringing those books back to the library that you never got around to reading (I know you have them, I do too) and just place a new hold on them another day. If they’re good ones, they’ll still be around 2 or 20 years from now! And in the meantime you can grab a book from your shelf that you bought, but never read (we all have those too!). Happy Reading!