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Warm Winter Read: short novels can reignite your love of reading

YPRL Staff

7 June, 2022

As librarians, our passion is to find something for you to read no matter what. 

- Sarah

Sometimes the idea of choosing a book can be overwhelming, especially when you walk into the library and are faced with literal thousands of books on the shelf. You begin asking yourself, ‘What do I feel like reading? Where do I even start looking? What books do I actually enjoy reading now?’

Even beginning to answer these questions can make you want to walk away altogether.

As librarians, our passion is to find something for you to read no matter what. Whether you read a few novels a week or haven’t read a book in many years, we want you to feel comfortable choosing a book that is right for you, right now, without judgement. And a librarian can help you find exactly what you need.

During the lockdowns, I had grand plans to read every hefty tome I could get my hands on and finally cross them off my list of ‘Books I’ve gone done read and lived to tell the tale’. But every time I got to around page 50 I began losing concentration or found a book more boring than even I was prepared to put up with and I literally couldn’t comprehend how I would finish the book. And so I didn’t. I stopped reading. I had lost the stamina to read even though I loved reading and always felt good after finishing a book I enjoyed.

I loved how reading could take me to places I’d never been to, I loved how books could show me what it was like to be someone else, loved how they could inform as well as entertain. I loved being able to take some time for myself after working and being with my daughter and use reading time as a way to wind down and look after my mental health. And yet. Reading began to feel like a stranger and it felt like an utter chore to do it during Melbourne’s lockdowns.

That’s when I decided to care for myself in the way a librarian might care for a reader who comes through our doors. I started thinking about all the things we might ask to find out what book to recommend to you: what types of stories do you enjoy most? What’s your concentration level like at the moment? What books are you hating right now? What did you love reading when you feel unwell? How do you want to feel right now?

After I jotted down some notes I quickly realised that I could only handle short stories or short novels, that I wasn’t able to read ‘quickly’ and I wanted to feel the world of other people. I wanted to feel connected to characters in a way I couldn’t connect with others in the middle of a pandemic. And I wanted to either rediscover books I’d forgotten about or find hidden gems.

I started myself on audiobooks and I searched our collection for titles that were about 4 hours long or were about 200 pages long. I even started reading children’s books again because I wanted to be delighted and I wanted simple language.

Before I knew it I was finding hidden gems not even I knew were in our collection and they were exactly what I wanted. Over time my love of reading returned. I’ll admit I’m still struggling to concentrate on books from time to time but I’ve reignited my reading habit and I’m reading at my own pace, reading what feels good in the moment. If I don’t like a book or realise I’m not in the mood for it I stop reading and find something else.

The beauty of libraries is that we have books and they are free to borrow and you can explore as many of them as you like. And if you don't like one of them? Bring it back! Find something else.

The beauty of libraries is that we have books and they are free to borrow and you can explore as many of them as you like. And if you don't like one of them? Bring it back! Find something else.

- Sarah

Right now Yarra Plenty Regional Library is taking part in the Public Libraries Victoria’s state wide reading campaign for adults called Warm Winter Read. Running from 1 June to 31 July 2022, Warm Winter Read is all about incorporating reading into your daily routine regardless of whether you would consider yourself a reader or not. Find out more and start participating today.

To help you on your journey to reading every day, I have scoured our catalogue and have found some wonderful short novels and short audiobooks that are a bit lost amongst the shelves. Some are joyous, some have confronting themes, some are thought-provoking, and some are just plain weird. But they’re all compelling and they may just be what you’re looking for today.

And if they aren’t what you’re looking for, come to the library and speak to us: we will find you a book that is right for you.

 

Sarah Schmidt, Reading & Literacy Coordinator

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