How awesome is THAT?
In fact, let's meditate on that notion a while...
I. Am. A. Patron. Of. Reading.
Of Norton Hill School, in Somerset (http://www.nortonhillschool.com) And if you want to know what they had to say on the matter, follow them on twitter and check out their msgs: https://twitter.com/nortonhill
Frankly, this is a massive deal. And I feel hugely privileged. To be given the chance to work alongside students and staff to promote reading? What's not to love?
Er ... Nothing.
On the day it was all made official, I spent my time with students just talking about books. And it was brilliant. I learned from them. I was inspired by them. And I wanted to help them read more, read wider, just READ.
I'm still reeling from it. Still stunned. Still humbled.
But a thought occurs to me. If we are readers, then surely we are all by default patrons of reading? It's up to us to show folk out there how important books are, stories are, words are. Because they are.
So here's a few ideas to help you promote reading:
1. Read. I'm serious: READ. Have a book on you. Carry it around with you. Let people see you with a book, holding it, reading it, loving it, wrestling with it.
2. Tweet about your books. Repeatedly. Tell people if it's good or bad. Ask what they think of it.
3. Read dangerously. You like crime? Why not read some horror? Like horror? Try a romance. Heard about a book that people think you shouldn't be allowed near? Get it, grab it, read it, devour it.
4. When you finish a book, don't put it on a shelf, leave it somewhere for someone to find. Like a pub table. Put a little note inside it from you to them. Tell them you hope they enjoy it. Include your twitter. Connect.
5. Visit the library. Not just to get another book out, but to meet other readers, chat with librarians.
6. Get involved with local schools. You could read with children, go talk about books, collect books for the library.
7. Invent the perfect sandwich to eat while reading. Go on! Then tell me what it is.
8. Take photos of your books in weird places: down a cave, up a chimney, inside the stomach of a dragon. Share these photos on Facebook, twitter. Ask other folk - where do you read yours?
9. Buy a dog and call it the name of your favourite book.
10. You know your fave independent bookshop? Buy them a cake.
Any more ideas, let me know.
Which reminds me of another idea...
Ebooks. No, they are not the devil. And no, they will not have us burning books in favour of only electronic ink. Buy them. Download free samples. Hell, why not publish your own book and get it up there? Like me, you could soon find yourself with readers all round the world. I know this because my Dead Trilogy is out in the US now. And you can even buy it well cheap for a limited time (if you're in the US that is). Don't believe me? Then click a link at the bottom of this and seeeeeeeeee...
So there you go. Patron of Reading. Me. WOW. Think of the fun I'm gonna have!
BOOM! YEAH! WOOHOO!
Dave 'Patron of Reading' Gatward
The Dead: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GBEO8DE
The Dark: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GBEP9PA
The Damned: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GBFINS4