10 Commandments for reading activists

  1. Invest in the writers you care about. Buy their books. Don’t borrow or boast of buying 2nd-hand. (Live authors need royalties.)
  2. Don’t assume that just because authors “love” writing, they can survive on inspiration alone.
  3. Step outside your comfort zone: read adventurously.
  4. Read and buy locally, especially if you live in a country with a small “home” market.
  5. Read and buy internationally. No better way to understand people and places that seem quite different from you and yours.
  6. Use public websites – including on-line bookstores – to write brief, positive reviews of books that matter. It makes a difference.
  7. Use social media (FB, blogs, Twitter) to stay in touch with your favoured writers. Actively “like”, “share” and spread the word about their work and what it means to you. Commit to this on a weekly basis. (You’ll be active in a global conversation that counts.)
  8. Join or start a reading group that ventures beyond hit fiction. You will extend your social circles, be provoked and stimulated, and can successfully promote the books you value.
  9. Talk to local booksellers about books that matter. Ask their advice. Offer yours.
  10. Join your nearest public library. Request copies of every book you wish other people would read.  Those book sales count. The conversation extends. We all benefit.
  11. P.S.  (You can comment on these commandments – not written in or on stone – on Stephanie Dowrick’s “Official Stephanie Dowrick” FB page.)