How to Work Pleasure Reading Back Into Your Schedule

With all the stress that college students are under and one million daily responsibilities to juggle, it can be extremely difficult to get any pleasure reading in. This has been my reality since high school, when the huge workload of AP classes, extracurriculars, and a social life took up my time. In college, it’s even worse. I barely have time to do anything for myself, much less read. Honestly, most of the time at the end of the day, I just want to do something that won’t require a lot of brainpower, so that usually means Netflix or YouTube. However, recently, I’ve been finding myself missing the times in middle school when I would always be reading.

I’ve been trying to get a little bit of reading in every day. Here is the advice I have for you if you want to do the same thing. 

The first step for me was figuring out why I wanted to read.  I was inspired to get back into reading during winter break when I visited Strand Bookstore in Manhattan with my two best friends. We wandered around the store’s many floors, pointing out books that we’d read in the past. In the Young Adult section, looking at book series like Beautiful CreaturesDivergent, and The Mortal Instruments that I was obsessed with when I was younger, I got nostalgic. I remembered my middle school years when I would have a book on me at all times. I could be found reading in class, while waiting for the bus, or whenever I had free time. I decided then that one of my resolutions for 2019 would be reading more. 

Photo credit: Pexels

The next step was to motivate myself. It's easy to incorporate more reading into my life when I'm genuinely excited about it. At Strand, I picked up two books: Pachinko and If Beale Street Could TalkPachinko enticed me because it got amazing reviews, was about a group of people I didn’t know a lot about, and one of my friends recommended it to me. Most importantly, the author, Min Jin Lee, came to BU to speak soon after we got back from break. Having this set date where I would be listening to the author talk about her book encouraged me to spend a lot of my break reading it. It was incredible, and so was the event.

The other book I chose because, again, I heard it was an amazing book, and James Baldwin is one of the best and most important American authors in my opinion. Another thing that motivated me to read it was the fact that it was recently made into a movie. Reading a book before seeing the movie is something I recommend as a way to encourage yourself to read. If Beale Street Could Talk was one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Photo credit: Pexels

After you figure out why you want to read and what you want to read, it's time to find ways to incorporate reading into your daily schedule. Do you spend a lot of time on the T? Bring a book for your commute! Do you have a relaxing nighttime routine? Add some reading in to wind down! For me, the biggest game changer in terms of reading was audiobooks. I recently bought the audiobook for Becoming by Michelle Obama and listening to it while I walk to class has made my days so much better. Another game changer were the apps Libby and Overdrive. If you have a library card, you can use these apps to get audiobooks for free. I have read a ton more books because of this, and I haven’t spent any money. 

Reading might take mental energy, but it’s worth thinking about doing it more. Reading makes you more informed, more creative, and better at critical thinking. It’s not that hard to read a little every day, and it will definitely improve your life. 


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