Reading Isn’t For Me


“Reading isn’t for you? But you’re a Language Arts teacher and published author!” Before you pick up that stone, let me explain.

I teach reluctant readers every day and realized the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Did anyone see a recent poll in the associated press that only one in four adults read?

Raise your hand if you think it’s sad only 25% of our adult population reads books? Okay, now put your hand down, people are staring (welcome to my world . . . and it’s not because I’m extremely good-looking, no matter what Mom says).

And out of those adults, most admit to only reading four novels a year! This mentality doesn’t make sense to me because I’d much rather read than do ANYTHING else. There’s a quote by Groucho Marx that goes, “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” HA! Raise your hand again if that’s you. (Again, put your hand down. People are laughing now.)

But I do understand this is a real mentality. I live with a husband who falls under the category of, “Reading isn’t for me.” In fact, he still hasn’t finished reading my debut novel, 18 Things, which released last January. Yeah, you read that right. LAST January. He said it’s his New Year’s Resolution to finish it in 2014. I’m not holding my breath, or I’d turn purple before you could say Ghastly Guilt Trip Glutton Reader!

And don’t even get me started on my middle schoolers! I’m required by my district to do a read aloud from a novel at least once a semester with each of my classes. This last semester, I chose 10 books that were award-winning YA literature and let each class (I have a total of seven) vote on what they wanted me to read. I thought they’d be motivated to listen if they picked the book. After all, I’m highly entertaining to listen to (aren’t most people with a coffee addiction? *downs eighth cup today*), so I wasn’t the problem. But I have to say, at times I wondered why I tried .While I do think students should be exposed to the beauty of actual literature (because they do read, but it’s usually just trash on the internet), I do not think my read alouds are having much effect on their capacity as readers. And at this stage of their lives as young students, more than anything, they need to read on their own. Otherwise, chances are, they’ll grow up and join the 75% of our adult population that gives the excuse, “Reading isn’t for me.”

Another quote. “Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.” –Napoleon Bonaparte

Raise your hand if you think the future of our world is looking bleak? (People are breaking out their smartphones now to take a picture of the freak who keeps raising their hand for no reason.)

I write and read as if breathing depends on it, so as an author and teacher, when I hear so many voices around me saying, “Reading isn’t for me,” I start to get more panicked than a sinner at church on Sunday.

When I think back to my own young adult days of reading (a long time ago in a galaxy far away), I can testify books made me everything I am. I started to believe in magic while taking up residence in Narnia and Hogwarts, craved adventures while sailing the raft with Huck and Jim, developed courage while sitting around the Round Table with King Arthur, expanded my understanding of everyday communication when laughing with Amelia Bedelia, learned to accept people for who they are with an ugly duckling, appreciated the value of trying new things when eating green eggs and ham with Sam I Am, overcame difficulties with the Swiss Family Robinson, utilized my critical thinking skills while solving mysteries with Nancy Drew, repented and cared about others with Ebenezer Scrooge, craved true love and romance with Miss Elizabeth Bennet, reveled in the power of grace with Jean Valjean, and became a good friend and writer alongside a spider named Charlotte.

These characters made me believe in a world where I could go anywhere and be anything I wanted to be. The stories helped me to know I wasn’t alone (even though I sat by myself in the cafeteria), evolved my perceptions about the world around me and how to sympathize with others, entertained me when I was bored, and made me feel emotions I lacked from growing up in a dysfunctional family.

Already, I know my case for why reading is for everyone is being drowned out by the sound of kids inhaling violent video games, by the sound of teens receiving yet another text message, by you (if you’ve managed to read this far, then pat yourself on the back until you get a muscle cramp) getting distracted by some shiny new object posted to YouTube.

With the release of my second novel, 18 Truths, coming this month (January 28th!), I’m willing to do just about anything to get people to read (short of sprinting across the field during the upcoming Super Bowl with my book’s title painted across my bare chest).

18 Truths high resolution image

Most of you reading this post are probably veracious readers . . . any ideas on motivating those around me, young and old, to READ?

Because I don’t think the “Reading isn’t for me,” should hold up in the courtroom of life. What better way to satisfy our curiosities, learn what we need to know, and come together to make sense of this world than through a good book?

So yeah, my reply? “You’re right. Reading isn’t for you. It’s for everyone!”

Don’t forget to visit other bloggers in the Insecure Writers Support Group ! And as always, mucho thanks to our Head Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating this wonderful group!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others on Facebook or Twitter . . . I could use allll the help I can get with name recognition before my book releases! ❤

18 THiNGs bOOk bomb!!!

Hi Everyone,

The release date for 18 Things is almost here! You guys have already helped me soooo much over the past 2 1/2 years, but I can’t stop my quest for world domination now;-) Especially with the Little Blue Lady from Jennifer Eaton’s blog trying to stop me! Sooo . . . On January 24th we’re going to try and push 18 Things to the top of Amazon—and I need your help!

This book has a message that obviously, I think, teens (or anyone over the age of 12) need to hear. Many would say an inspirational young adult book put out by a small publisher isn’t supposed to do well. So . . . wouldn’t it be cool to drive 18 Things to the top on January 24th? Will you join me in being part of a grassroots success story? I don’t have the money or resources to rely on slick marketing or targeted ad campaigns— instead my sales have to be driven by ordinary people like you spreading the word in your circles of influence. Here’s how it works: Every book on has what’s called a “Sales Rank” which is updated hourly. Because these rankings update every hour a book can drop quickly out of sight—or come soaring to the front. The Book Bomb will coordinate hundreds (maybe thousands) of people ordering 18 Things on the same day (January 24th) instead of sales being spread out over months, and raising it to a place where tens of thousands of new people will see it.

The book bomb is a great chance to get a copy for yourself (plus one to give away) at a great price—and help get the book in front of thousands of new people—all at the same time! Now, you might be asking yourself these questions:

Why Amazon?

  • Small Publisher: Since I signed with a small publisher, 18 Things won’t be sitting on bookshelves across America. It may be stocked at a few local bookstores in Lee County and in Grand Haven at best. is the easiest way to order 18 Things from wherever you happen to be on January 24th, whether it’s an ebook for $7.99 or a paperback for $12.99.

Why 2 copies?

  • Free Shipping on Paperbacks: If you order two or more copies you get free shipping because your grand total will be over $25. Just make sure you click on the Free Super-Saving Shipping option at Checkout

Who would you give your extra copies away to?

  • Local Library/School/Youth Groups: Order an extra copy to donate to your local library, school, or someone in your church youth group. Did you know that 80% of book sales happen via word-of-mouth? This would help create some great buzz!
  • Birthday Present: Yes, Christmas has past, but I’m sure there’s a young adult in your life with a birthday coming up (maybe even their 18th birthday!)
  • Graduation: Looking for a graduation gift for the young adults in your life (whether it is high school, middle school, or even college)? Order 18 Things! It may not be for another 3-4 months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t order it on January 24th!
  • Friends can order together: Maybe you can’t think of anyone to give your extra copies to. But remember, when you spend $25 or more on Amazon, you get free shipping! So order with a buddy!

In addition, I know many of you have asked when you can get your autographed copy. If you’d like your own copy autographed but don’t live in my area, email me through my website at and I’ll send you an autographed sticker you can place inside your book! Or, can I just say Southwest Florida makes a great vacation spot, so come on down and I’ll sign it in personJ

Finally, please do not feel obligated to participate. It would be easy (and understandable) for you to view this as very self-serving on my part. After all, I’m the author and I’m asking you to buy copies of my book! But being self-serving is not my intention. I’m only asking that if you already planned on buying my book, please do it on release day verses another day. My motivation for the book bomb is the same one that drove me to write the book: to inspire others. Think back to your own young adult days of reading, even if it was you as a very young adult, a long, long time ago in a galaxy far away.

I can testify that stories made me a better person growing up. I’ve always lived in two worlds. One is the world where I actually live, and the other is where I took up residence in Narnia and Hogwarts, sailed the raft with Huck and Jim, laughed at the absurdities of life with Yossarian, ate green eggs and ham with Sam I Am, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew, wept over injustices with Scout Finch, craved romance with Miss Elizabeth Bennet, and learned about being a good friend and a good writer from a spider named Charlotte. These characters made me believe in a world where I could go anywhere and be anything I wanted to be. Why do I love to read stories? Because I love to know I’m not alone, I want someone to understand me, they remind me of my past, they instill in me a sense of pride in my fellow citizens of the world, they give me a new perspective, they make me laugh and entertain me, and sometimes they make me feel emotions I wish I had in my everyday life. But they always challenge me to become like the characters in the books that inspire me. They challenge me to get out of my hiding place and step out in faith, and to not give up so easily. That’s the heart of 18 Things, and my whole trilogy, and I want to share it.


Do you want to share it too? Do you have any tips on how to plan for success? Do you plan on buying 18 Things on January 24th? Help spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, or on your website or blog? Let me know in the comments so I can give you a HUGE virtual hug:-)  Two weeks until the Amazon links go live on release day! We don’t have much time!

Your Excited and Extremely Grateful Blogger Friend,

Jamie Ayres

P.S. Stop by next Wednesday for the dets on “What’s Your 18 Things?” blogfest! A TON of giveaways, including books, giftcards, bookmarks, and critiques!! My way of giving back to all you wonderful peeps~Love you guys!!