In celebration of World Book Day, here are some free ebooks: HERO Is A Four Letter Word | On His Birthday Reginald Got
And here are some free ebooks that I wrote under my pseudonym: Dear Abby | Soon
Here are some other awesome books that I wrote that aren’t free right now but are still awesome: Triptych | The Dark Side of the Glass
And some awesome anthologies that my stories are in, if you want to read stories by more awesome people beyond me:
When the Hero Comes Home | When the Villain Comes Home | Doctor Who in Time and Space | Jacked In | Holiday Spice
So it’s World Book Day. Why is reading important?
It doesn’t matter if you read comics, the daily newspaper, fanfiction, novels, textbooks, series, SF/F pulps, lit. fic., blog posts, classic literature, trade magazines, erotica novels, Penthouse letters, etc. What matters is that you read.
Reading matters because it engages your imagination. You expand your mind by inhabiting the point of view of a protagonist from a different culture or socio-economic background, or race, or religion, or species. It teaches you the ability to be compassionate toward someone else who is not the same as you. It gives you role models, positive representations of your race/religion/gender/sexuality/ethnicity/culture, and teaches you to overcome the difficulties you face by showing how fictional people have overcome them.
Reading can teach, full stop. School books, text books, and non-fiction can teach practically and teach you how to learn. Fiction can teach you to how to dream, how to strive, how to love, how to imagine.
Literacy is a human right. Education is a human right. Books are the foundation of both.
So, I love books and I love reading. What can I do to support reading?
Firstly, support local causes.
o Use your local lending, school, and research libraries. Talk to librarians. Engage in the other learning and community programs they have available.
o Volunteer for and/or financially support literacy initiatives. These initiatives happen in hospitals and hospices, schools and after-care centers, prisons, libraries, book stores, and community centers. If you can’t donate money, consider donating your time to participate in or run the program, or you skills to create websites or posters, or build shelves and move furniture.
o Support children’s literacy initiatives, like becoming a reading buddy at a local school or library; volunteer to tutor kids or become a homework helper, or volunteer at local youth program centers to host writing workshops, tutoring, or reading clubs.
o Read to someone. Volunteer to read to seniors or the kids at the end of the block. Set up playdates where everyone shares their favorite story books.
o Read fanfic. Talk about it with your friends. Make up your own stories. Joind online discussion communities.
Secondly, support the authors.
o Don’t steal the books; authors can only afford to write if they keep getting paid to write. While it’s a passion for us, it is also a job. If you can’t afford to buy the book you want to read, borrow it from the local library or school, or from a friend. Start a book swapping club, or find a book swapping website. If the book isn’t available through the library, ask if they’ll obtain a copy. In Canada, writers get royalty money if their books are in libraries, so most of us are willing to help libraries obtain copies of our books – either by talking to our publishers or donating copies ourselves. You can also contact the publisher or author to see if they’ll be willing to donate a copy to you in exchange for a blog post, review, or some press for the book. Or get a copy at a second hand book store. There are many, many ways to obtain books without pirating them.
o Start or participate in a book club. Be adventurous in your choices. Tell your friends and family and club members which books have and hold your heart and why.
o Give small press and indie authors a go. Read widely, take chances, pick up something strange and new and nothing at all like you normally pick. Have an adventure!
o Give books. Donate your books to second hand shops, libraries, hospitals, schools, prisons, or charities. Hand out children’s books at Halloween, give books for holiday or birthday gifts. Share your favorites with your lover or your nieces and nephews. Hold baby showers and fill the child’s first book case with board books and picture books and children’s classics.
o Write reviews. Seriously. This is the #1 thing you can do to support an author. Write a review. It doesn’t have to be glowing and saccharine. Be honest about how the book made you feel (but not an asshole). Post the review on Smashwords and Amazon and Goodreads, send it to book blogs and put it on Facebook. If you love a book, talk about the book.
o Be kind, even if you didn’t like the work. Critique and constructive criticism are always welcome. Being a horrible flaming troll is not. Please remember that authors are people with feelings. Even if you didn’t enjoy the work, talk about the book when you talk about it; don’t attack the person who wrote it. Don’t be a dick.
Thirdly, try writing. Everyone has stories inside of them. Why not share them?
o If you’re up for the challenge of 50k in one month, try something like NaNoWriMo. Or one of the other many motivation-challenge contests out there.
o Write plays or screenplays, novel, poetry, anything! Make a promise to yourself to write once a week, or once a day, or even just once a month.
o Write an OpEd or article for your local newspaper; write letters to the editor; write articles on your academic interests, or your hobbies, or your area of expertise.
o Write a memoir. Write about your illness or a challenge you’ve overcome. Write about your pain, and your anger. Write about your joy and your motivation. Write about your family and your lovers. Write for yourself, or write to share it. Purge.
o Write fanfic. Write stories that matter to you using the shorthand of someone else’s’ worlds. Write smut. Write fluff. Write something painful and dark, or something domestic and sweet.
o Write poems, or letters to your friends and loved ones, or little sayings in a book. Collect the words that warm your heart and mean the most to you in a journal, or in a note box, or on the fridge. Send your friends post cards just because. Share your love of words with the world.
Happy World Book Day, everyone! And happy reading!
(Photo Source: Woman Reading in a Study, by Mary Ferris Kelly.)