In the US, we have spring break: a week of skipping out, visiting friends and family, or escaping to warmer climates for some serious partying. But in the UK and Canada, there is Reading Week. It’s a concept similar to spring break, usually offered halfway through the term to give students a break from their classes to catch up on reading and research.
Many use their break the same way as Americans. But the ideology remains: a week committed to reading.
What if Reading Week was something that writers, authors, book nerds, and publishing professionals did for themselves every year? Imagine it: a week free of work duties, where we could spend time at home or somewhere relaxing with our feet up, music playing, and a stack of books waiting for us.
Almost every single one of us who writes—whether for a living or for pleasure—loves reading. When you are lost in a good book, your life is temporarily put on hold to live in someone else’s world.
For writers, that can sometimes be the greatest inspiration we can ask for. After all, reading a great book reminds us about the incredible voices out there. It reminds us that this is our calling. And more importantly, it brings us back to why we write in the first place. We want to open doors into our worlds for others to experience—to create new destinations, new journeys, new friends, and maybe even an enemy.
When you write for a living, though—and certainly if, like me, you also read for a living—it can be difficult to carve out reading time. Reading is still a pleasure, but when your eyes are tired from a long day of staring at words on a page or a computer screen, sometimes not reading feels like the greatest gift you can give yourself.
When was the last time you created a stack of books and thought, All I have to do this week is read as many of these as I want.
Readers aren’t the only ones who would benefit. Imagine an entire retail holiday to prompt book sales, discussions, and book recommendations.
For many, the option of having a Reading Week might be impossible, what with work schedules, the demands of family, and other responsibilities. But for the writing and publishing community, what greater reward for our hard work than a little breather with our best book friends?
Let’s celebrate Reading Week to give us time to remember why we love what we do and to support authors and publishers. Give us that week of books, reading, discussion, and rest—and watch book sales rise, relaxation return, and writers and publishing folks go back to work with renewed vigor and excitement.
Hannah Guy lives in Toronto and is a professional writer and copywriter who specializes in books, books, and more books. Follow her on Twitter at @hannorg.