Part 1: Slowing Down to Speed Up
Just the other day we had a conversation with a customer at Chapter 101 about how books exist in a grey area between luxury and necessity. In the fast paced time we live in – a time that’s only getting faster with each passing week – there is an ever increasing need to invest time in slowing down. Whether you have five minutes or fifteen, daily or at the end of the week, now more than ever has arisen the need to disengage from what exists in the spheres of the workplace the internet and the material world.
Here we may consider the oft quoted and clichéd line of ‘one must slow down to speed up’ but what’s interesting is that a line has to be repeated on and on to be considered a cliché. What this essentially means is that we are not built in the way of machines, blueprinted to persevere endlessly. This has become particularly evident in the current standards of striving for excellence and rising levels of anxiety. In simpler terms, as humans we need a well timed (and well earned!) break from our day to day routine, simply for the purpose of hitting refresh.
From general observation, we’ve noticed that people fall into three broad categories: voracious readers, those who loved books but have fallen out of the reading habit, those who have never had an interest in reading. What is most interesting is the last category of people because even in the absence of an interest in reading they find themselves drawn to books and maybe test the idea of reading as a means to uplift productivity, experiment with mindfulness, or any other reason. What has to happen here is simply connecting the reader with the right book. We’re even willing to set aside our bias against self-help books and recommend an easy read on de-cluttering the mind. There is of course the ongoing debate of the concept of mindfulness being muddled into pop culture but we’ll save that for later.
At the crux of this essentially is the importance of books – even if regarded simply as a tool to de-stress after a crappy day at the office, even if you want to carry it around for Instagramming the cover. Every single page read goes a long way. What matters most is the reading itself. The subject matter becomes secondary here, because in times of people wilfully declaring that ‘books are dead’ each page read is an act of rebellion, of redemption, of self-care – depending on how you look at it.