The Art of Reading for Fun in College

Reading is something that used to be a big part of my life. I would read every night before I went to bed and I had hundreds of books on my bookshelf that I could blaze through in no time. I thought reading would always be such a big part of my nighttime routine and I could continue to read a book a week in college, but I found that was just not the case. First of all, the workload in college is substantially different. In high school, I had a lot of busy work which was just worksheets I had to fill out and definitions I had to copy from the textbook. In college, the work is more about really learning concepts and materials and doing readings that relate to them.

Because of the academic differences, I was often exhausted by the time I finished my homework and stopped picking up a book to read before bed. Playing through my phone replaced my reading bedtime routine and sometimes social media would suck me in so I would spend an extra hour every night scrolling through Twitter. I gave up reading almost entirely freshmen year, except for the few books that I read for class and honestly, really enjoyed. Thankfully, I got back into reading in the next coming years and now, I still try to read every night before bed once again.

Getting out of a reading slump is very difficult to do once you have buried yourself in a hole. I found that picking up an old tried-and-true favorite is the best way to get yourself back into reading. For example, I began to reread the Harry Potter series when I got back into my reading journey. It is an easy book to get excited about and want to read every night, which kept me at a good pace and optimistic about wanting to read.

I also found that it is really important to be honest with yourself and what types of books you find “fun.” I have picked up tons of in-depth science books or difficult literary classics with the intent to read but just can’t find my way through. Even though I felt like I should be reading about the history of chemistry, it made me not want to read every night. It is important to be honest with yourself that reading any kind of book is still reading and still good for your brain and body, even if you’re reaching for a comedian’s memoir instead of 600-page history book.

This point extends beyond to stop finding shame in not finishing a book you don’t like. I have spent way too many weeks trying to finish a book that I was just not interested in but felt like I had to be because it is a best-seller or a book everyone must read. While it can be a good place to start to find a good book, you don’t have to love a book because the crowd loves it and shouldn’t force yourself to finish something you aren’t getting enjoyment out of.

I also found that I needed to stop finding shame in reading books that are seen as juvenile or silly. As I touched upon earlier, I spent a long time buying hefty historical or science-related books because I was so set that reading had to be used to expand my knowledge in the stuff I was learning. However, I really enjoy reading young adult novels, which is something that I shouldn’t stop myself from reading just because I am past the high-school age. Even my mom still reads young adult novels! There is no reason you should feel ashamed to pick up a book you really love, even if it may seem like a lesser-than book. News flash, a book is still a book no matter what the genre.

If you are someone who feels like you are in the same place, I encourage you to go back to a past favorite and regain your love for reading. Perhaps start a book club with a few friends to encourage each other to read, and have your roommate hold you accountable for when you haven’t been reading the past few nights. I hope you can rekindle your love for reading like I was able to as well. I have listed a few of my favorites below if you’re looking for a new book.

 

YA Novels

Dante and Aristotle Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

 

Adult Novels

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

 

Graphic Novels

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Marbles by Ellen Forney

 

Literary Classics

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

 

Memoirs

Educated by Tara Westover

Boy Erased by Garrard Conley