Full Circle Books, or How to Love Books and Read More if You’re a Millennial Who was Born without an
Updated: Sep 20, 2021
Everytime I come to Full Circle Books, at 50 Penn Place off NW Expressway, I find something new that I absolutely love about it. The store turns 40 years old in November this year, and I don’t feel like much has changed about it past the current best sellers section.
It’s the smell of ink on paper on wood grain shelves. It’s the multiple black marble fireplaces. It’s the charming and friendly staff. It’s wandering through the aisles and rooms, never looking for anything but always finding something wonderful.
By something I mean more books to add to my pile of books that I swear I’m gonna read. At some point. After I finish the one I’m currently about a tenth of the way through (Moby Dick).
I love books. Big books, small books, old books, new books, good books, great books. I love books, and I love people who read books.
I don’t read as many as I’d like, and I buy more than I read. I don’t have an all time favorite, my favorite book tends to be whatever I’m reading at the time.
That was a lie, I do have a favorite and it’s The Old Man and the Sea.
If I had to guess without actually trying to count (because I’m lazy), I’d say that I read an average of 5-10 books a year. Which is less than 12 or 52, but it’s a lot more than zero. Some books take a while, and that’s okay.
But I certainly read more than I used to, and I love it more than ever.
So sitting here in a cozy, local bookstore, I want to offer a few opinions on why I think you should read more books, and some practical tips to increase your pages per day.
If you read more books, you’ll become a better person. Hear me out.
The more you read, the better you’ll get at reading. You’ll expand your vocabulary, you’ll exercise your imagination and you’ll grow the cognitive abilities of your mind. Your memory will get better. You’ll have fascinating conversations with total strangers with whom the only commonality you share is your mutual love for a particular novel. You’ll be inspired to change your life and travel the world. You’ll feel your breath pulled from your chest by how beautifully the author’s prose describes the tragic death of your favorite character. You’ll find out that people who lived hundreds of years ago spent their lives thinking about the same questions you ask yourself everyday. You’ll find answers to questions you haven’t asked yet. You’ll find paths out of darkness.
And you’ll probably laugh a lot more than you’re expecting to. Like, who knew Herman Melville was so funny?
But the question is, how do we actually find the time to sit down and read books? Everyone I know is busy all the time, or they’re so tired from being busy all the time that they’d rather crash in front of their tv or Xbox. Reading books requires you to sit in a quiet place and intently focus on the task in your hands, right?
Here’s the thing. The more you read, the easier reading will be. If you can successfully make it a regular habit, you won’t feel the need to seclude yourself in the library in order to find your focus.
But how to get started? How do you decide what to read? How do you find consistency when there’s always a distraction or something else to get done?
Here’s some practical advice from a guy who manages to read slightly more than a handful of books a year.
First, in my opinion, you really do need to go to bookstores if you want to love books. Local is always better, like Full Circle or Commonplace in Midtown. Be open minded. Maybe look for a new title by an author you’ve enjoyed before. Maybe look through the staff recommendations. Maybe wander around aimlessly until a good cover catches your eye. Or, just read one of the classics that you were supposed to read in high school. They tend to be a lot better when nobody is forcing you to read them.
Don’t be afraid to quit a book halfway through if it isn’t doing it for you. It’s more important to keep reading something than to finish every single text you pick up.
I’ve often found that using a highlighter to make note of important points or exceptional phrases as I read helps me maintain focus and improves my reading speed.
If you really want to spend more of your limited time reading good literature, here’s the easiest way to accomplish that goal.
You know how anytime you have to wait for something or kill sometime, you pull out your phone and mindlessly scroll through Twitter and Instagram? Why not just delete every distracting social media app that drains your time and makes you unhappy and anxious, and replace them with either digital or physical books?
Listen, if you want to change your behavior, you have to actually change your behavior.
If you don’t want to be that extreme, I get it. But thinking about reading time the same way you think about your typical phone time will make an enormous difference. Read constantly and in small increments. You’ll finish more books faster, you’ll improve your attention span, and you’ll become a better reader for it. Carry a book with you always and you’ll be okay.
Every 2nd Wednesday of the month is the Young Adult Book Club at Full Circle; every 3rd Wednesday is LGBTQ Book Club. Both groups start at 6 pm.