Summer Reading

The book of the summer is most likely the one you happen to be reading. You've probably glimpsed articles that talk about what you should read between now and Labor Day, what authors are reading now, what books are selling this summer and ask yourself what you yourself should do with the spare moments you have to devote to something like immersing yourself in a book.

Do what you do, and read what you want, and enjoy it.

We're sometimes pressured into thinking we need to read the latest book. But the thing is, too few of us read as it is, and so the latest book is irrelevant to us, interesting enough as it is to have read something on the lips of many people who've got an opinion on something few people have actually turned the pages of. The book you have in hand, whether it's paper-and-cardboard or digital, is the one that's important.

Last summer the big read was Gillian Flynn's thriller "Gone Girl." This year it's suddenly become "The Cuckoo's Calling," the surprise hit by J.K. Rowling, writing as Robert Galbraith. It's a surprise because it was published under that pseudonym and promptly sold relatively few copies.

In nonfiction the big books are "Zealot," Reza Aslan's biography of Jesus, and "This Town," Mark Leibovich's look at the political punditry and media zealotry of Washington, D.C. If you've read any of these, bravo for being so in touch with the reading climate. But if you haven't, don't fret - enjoy what you're reading, whatever it is.

Books sells because they promise people something. And people buy books that they hope to read because they want to experience something - hope, suspense, joy, emotional commitment, advice. People may buy themselves (or a friend) a book because they feel they should buy a certain book (I imagine that's how Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" sold so well) and then never get around to finishing it.

I am a book marketer, and have helped many authors become bestselling writers. I don't force anyone to read these bestselling books, but I am delighted they have found an audience and that they help increase business for the entrepreneurs and thought leaders who've written them. I imagine that these authors are like any authors: grateful that their work has been discovered. And I hope that everyone who bought the books will read and enjoy them. But I can't promise that. No author - or book marketer - has that power.

I'm all for saying read what you want (but I'll also add that everyone should buy my authors' books, too, and I hope these books get read as well as bought).