Friday, August 9 would have been my father’s 92nd birthday.
It’s also Book Lover’s Day.
Those two seemingly incongruent circumstances actually have a powerful connection for me.
After suffering a major stroke on February 10, 2012, my father passed away on February 25. By the time I was able to get back to Tennessee to see him, he had lost motor functions and speech capacity. Over the few days I was there, the slow but steady decline continued.
I had last seen him during the Christmas holidays. While there, I spent some time alone at home with him. After suffering a series of strokes over the past several years, he could no longer read – but the legacy of his reading lines the bookshelves all over my boyhood home. In the quiet hours when everyone was asleep, I scanned the shelves and remembered hearing him talk about this book or that one. I pulled a few off the shelf, and opening them, was instantly transported back in time to a conversation about the subject, or to memories of the event itself.
I’ve been a reader of books since, well, before I can remember. My father was an avid reader, and he passed that passion along to me at an early age. Even though he worked 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, he often spent several hours reading at night. He insisted my mother take my brother and me to the library in the next town and check out books – every two weeks. I would get the maximum number of books, take them home, and read them – usually in the first day or two. Then it would be an impatient wait till the next library trip.
Reading is a passion I treasure, and one that I am thankful my father instilled in me.
Tomorrow it will be Book Lover’s Day – not an official holiday but one I eagerly celebrate. Book reading is a great hobby. It’s an important one, too. Employers look for it on resumes. Reading is educational, informative, and relaxing. It makes us both smarter and happier people.
Book Lovers Day is a great day to celebrate. Just grab an interesting book, find a quiet, cozy place, and crack open the cover. Celebrating Book Lovers Day in August is pleasurable on the deck, under a shady tree, poolside, or in a cozy hammock. If you fall asleep while reading, that’s okay. It’s all part of the relaxing benefits of being a book lover.
I’m also celebrating this Book Lover’s Day as a part of my vocation – Vision Room Curator and Digital Engagement Leader at Auxano. My role requires me to read – a lot – and then write book excerpts, Tweets, Facebook posts, and blogs about what I’m reading. During a recent consultation with a client, I was able to pull a half-dozen book titles off the top of my head when asked for recommendations on books about Guest Experiences. That’s part of the benefit of reading!
I love my job!
Here’s an example:
I call these my SUMS Remix Book Towers. Along with the current year (not pictured), these towers contain 371 books, representing 124 issues, one published every two weeks over the last five years. The format of SUMS Remix is simple: one problem statement faced by church leaders, 3 brief excepts from books that provide a solution to the problem, and 3 ready-to-use applications for leaders to try out immediately. (Click on the link above to find out more and purchase an annual subscription.)
And here’s a big announcement: we’re getting ready to release back issues of SUMS Remix! The first four years of SUMS Remix have been packaged into six digital “bookshelves,” each containing between 14-23 issues. The six bookshelf categories are: Vision; Leadership; Execution; Discipleship; Communication; and Resourcing. They will be available for purchase and instant download for $24 per bookshelf, or $18 per bookshelf if you purchase 2 or more. I’ll be announcing the launch of the prior year issues here very soon.
With a two-week production cycle, and a two-week preparation phase, at any given time I’m working on 4 SUMS Remix issues, which means there are 12 books on my front burner.
And that’s just for SUMS Remix reading…
Then there’s current reading for Auxano social media (Tweets, Instagram, and Facebook posts), preparation for Guest Experience training and consultations, other writing projects, and believe it or not, reading just for the pleasure of reading.
So, on Book Lover’s Day, and in memory of my father, I’m trying to emulate Thomas Edison, who believed that voracious reading was the key to self-improvement. He read books on a remarkable range of subjects to address his endless queries. As Edison noted, “I didn’t read a few books, I read the library.”
If you want to know more about my dad, here is the eulogy I gave at his funeral. After the funeral, while my sons and I were moving some things around his gas station, I discovered one reason I am so passionate about guest services. And read this post to find out why readers are leaders.