Throughout most of my life, I’ve been a pretty avid reader. The Scholastic Book Fair was one of my favorite parts of the year, and throughout middle school you would never catch me without a book close by. After high school, my reading hobby began to dwindle as I was assigned more work for class and had less time to enjoy my own books. This pattern continued, and by my senior year, I found myself struggling to think of the last book I read for my own enjoyment. I was shocked, and frankly, sad that what was once my passion had almost disappeared from my life.
I’ve heard many people describe going through the same experience, especially as school gets more demanding, and there’s less time to dedicate your attention to a novel. Many often complain that the rigidity of the education system removes the enjoyment from reading, citing that the fact that students are forced to read leads them to lose their interest entirely. Whether this is true or not, my lack of reading forced me to work to rediscover enjoyment in a pastime I hadn’t experienced in too long. There are endless benefits to reading, and I wanted to integrate them back into my life.
One way I jumped back into reading was by making a pact with my friend. We both wanted to read more, and decided to read Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility together. In hindsight, this book was a bit difficult to start out with, but it nevertheless forced me to finish a full novel. Having a friend to read with helped immensely in the beginning, as we were able to hold each other accountable, but also hang out together while reading. It took me longer than I’d anticipated to finish the book, but learning to accept your new pace is also an important aspect of getting back to reading. While I no longer had the time or voracity to read an entire book in one day, taking the time to read each day was just as valuable as it had been in the past.
Experimentation is also a critical aspect of rediscovering a love for reading. While I may have liked a certain genre when I was in eighth grade, I quickly realized that my interests had shifted over the years. I found myself reading mystery and suspense novels, which I’d never really thought I was interested in before, but now loved to read. Remembering not to limit yourself is essential, because it opens up so many possibilities you may never have discovered before. Any reading is better than no reading, so don’t be afraid to branch out and try new genres.
Lastly, developing a schedule for reading helped immensely in my goal to integrate books back into my life. Every night before bed, I tried to read for at least five minutes. These five minutes often turned to ten, or even thirty, but setting a minimum time frame allowed me to make sure I read at least a page before calling it a night. Whether you decide to read in the morning, during lunch, or on public transportation, having allocated times to dedicate to a book will ensure that you don’t fall into your old habits.