One of the unlucky caveats of growing up is the unwilling bargaining away of some of our most treasured pastimes in favor of more demanding homework loads, longer school hours, or even our easily accessible cell phones. For former elementary and middle schoolers, myself included, reading was considered a refuge, a mystical and much-needed transport to a world much more interesting than my own.
The transition from pleasurable reading to scouring Sparknotes on late nights is often sneakingly inconspicuous. With reading being a keystone in becoming a more effective writer, speaker, and student, salvaging our love for books is necessary. Now, the question is of how to actually go about this. While no two readers are the same, here is a compilation of a few general tips to help you get the ball rolling.
1) Start Small
Reading doesn’t have to be an all-day affair. In fact, the idea of jumping into a lengthy novel may be the intimidating idea preventing you from getting out of your slump. The key to fixing this is to remove the baseless rules you may have subconsciously created for yourself. While your younger self may have been able to devour multiple chapters per day, that doesn’t mean you have to hold yourself to the same standard. Begin your book with the idea that you’ll read just the first few pages. That way, you don’t have to worry about fulfilling a quota. And, who knows: you’ll most likely end up reading more than this new goal anyways. It’s the shift in mindset that counts.
2) Make It A Full Event
We acknowledge that starting small might not work for everyone. If you have more time on your hands, take it upon yourself to dedicate a day to books. Visit a local bookstore, peruse the offerings, and end your day at a café or coffee shop where you can spend some time enjoying your new selections. The grandeur may help reignite the wondrous aspect of reading for you, or even evoke a touch of nostalgia.
3) Try Out New Formats
Worthwhile reading doesn’t have to be limited to physical books. Rather, try out some new mixed formats to keep reading enticing and fresh. Cookbooks, magazines, and eBooks are all great resources available at your fingertips that can be just as intriguing as your favorite novel.
4) Keep Books Near You
One of the main reasons we divert our attention to our phones so often is due to ease of access. The more accessible something is, the more we will be inclined to use it. Thankfully, this is an easy fix to address. Try keeping newspapers or short novels near you at all times so that you can take advantage of them during those few, arbitrary minutes of free time that crop up. Or, if you’re leaving your house for a while, you could bring some reading material along for the ride.
5) Reread Your Favorite Book
Sometimes there’s a certain solace to be found in our most cherished books. The comfort in already having established a relationship with the characters and the knowledge of the ending can be just the kickstart you need. Whether it may be a childhood favorite or a nineteenth-century classic, rereading your favorite book can help pull you out of your slump by reminding you what made you fall in love with reading in the first place.
6) Get Your Friends Involved
You don’t have to make this journey alone. Involving your friends can make this process more bearable and engaging, and will also provide you with people to hold you accountable along the road. Try organizing a book swap or a book club with a few (or many) of your friends. And, in case you needed extra prompting: this could easily be done socially distanced!
Thankfully for you, Affinity’s Arts + Culture section has some fantastic resources where you can check out some of our honest book commentaries and recommendations to help you pick out your next read. Good luck to all fellow bookworms!
Photo: Ben White via Unsplash