When was the last time you sat down with a good book? How about the last time you sat down all day to dedicate your time to reading? If this sounds appealing to you, then consider participating in this year’s Do Nothing But Read Day. The event, running for its third year, will be held tomorrow: Saturday, August 6th. Head on over to DNBRD.org, where you can pledge to participate and earn an entry in the event’s prize raffle.
While it’s not unusual to see campaigns urging people to unplug from the high-tech world (such as GeekDad’s own Father’s Day “Disconnect to Reconnect” challenge), it’s not every day that you see one that focuses on the virtues of undisturbed reading. You don’t even need to go low-tech here – feel free to grab your e-book reader of choice and enjoy the day.
I had the opportunity to speak with Do Nothing But Read Day’s creator, Amanda Lanyon-LeSage, about her experiences running the event. Here’s what she had to say:
__GeekDad: __ What gave you the inspiration to create Do Nothing But Read Day?
__Amanda Lanyon-LeSage: __Two years ago, I was in library school at UW-Madison, and I wished I could have a whole day to just read. I posted that on Facebook, and someone said, “When is it?” I think they were being facetious, but I went with it, and started the blog that very day. People need permission to do “selfish” things like reading, and this holiday gives them that permission.
__GD: __Tell me a bit more about the event. What sort of response did you get that first year, and how has the event grown?
__ALL: __That first year we had about 200 people signed up, and it’s definitely grown! I’ve also become more tech- and social media-savvy through this experience, and that’s helped with the turnout.
__GD: __Now that this event has run a few times, is there a special Do Nothing But Read Day ritual that you’ve developed?
__ALL: __I usually get up around 9:30 or 10, make some tea and a little breakfast, then start reading. Maybe I’ll throw a crossword puzzle in there, to get my brain going. This year I think I’m going to spend a lot of time out on my porch, since I just moved and now have outdoor reading options. I always take a bit of a break in the afternoon, and then I read until dinner. I will probably consume a lot of tea throughout the day.
__GD: __Were you always an avid reader, even at a young age? Do you think your parents did anything special that helped encourage you to become one?
__ALL: __I apparently taught myself how to read when I was 2. My mom took me to the library quite often, and she read out loud to me all the time. I think that had a definite impact on my willingness to pick up a book and read by myself. My parents modeled a love of reading for me, too. After dinner, we’d all sit in the living room and read our respective books until bedtime. Reading to your kids is important, but so is reading in front of them.
__ALL: __I’ll probably start out with some short stories, like Shirley Jackson or Flannery O’Connor, and then move onto a yet-to-be-determined novel. I like alternating between novels and short stories; it keeps my brain feeling fresh.
__GD: __ Do you want to leave our readers and their children with any geeky book recommendations for this upcoming DNBRD?
__ALL: __Yes! The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster, is one of my absolute favorites. It is the perfect book for a child growing up in an urban or suburban world; it is total escapism. For a darker side of childhood fantasy, I loved Lois Lowry’s The Willoughbys. It’s about a family of entirely terrible children, and it’s very tongue-in-cheek. Actually, I’d recommend any of those older, or seemingly older, children’s novels. Another good one is The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. They read like classics, but classics with a sense of humor.
If you’d like to participate in this year’s Do Nothing But Read Day, visit the official website, where you can sign up and read more about the event.