Beginning to read for pleasure, again

I will be the first to admit that since the start of High School, I have barely managed to read a book for pleasure, cover to cover. Being a Law student, reading consumes a substantive chunk of my time. I manage to scour through hundreds of pages of case law and commentary a week, on-top of numerous current affairs articles on news items that both interest and bore me. However, with my eyeballs following lines of words for more hours a day than one should ever spend sat at a table, it is only reasonable that the second I can get some time not reading and comprehending, I will treasure and savour it!

For most university students, term time is a haze of streams of paper and lists of books and as much as I love my degree, reading has begun to exhaust me. I find that when life gets hectic, I no longer look to a good book to rejuvenate and rewind like I used to. I instead have begun to consume newer forms of media. Pictures and videos are more enthralling to me; I presume it is because they are less time consuming and require minimal focus and therefore, a perfect fit to my quickly diminishing attention span.

Nevertheless, I cannot fully blame my lack of attention for wanting to watch the number one recommended show on Netflix over reading the newest New York Times bestseller. It also stems from my ever growing internal mind block towards reading. I have begun to attach the feeling of flipping pages with productivity and note taking instead of what I used to think of when I picked up a book - the smell of wet mud in the rain and droplets of rain dripping down the long glass window while my thick blanket hugged me. 

3 months into the Covid-19 pandemic, after taking the time to figure out what is and settle into what has become some sort of a new normal, post exam and essay stress, I found myself watching the monsoon raindrops dripping and smelling the petrichor whilst laying in bed. I was watching TikToks instead of scratching my head helping Agatha Christie figure out who the ABC murderer was. Suddenly, that itch to read an entire book in one sitting returned and I still can't figure what caused it - perhaps I was not dry eyed and overworked or maybe simply bored. Either way, in an effort to satisfy that itch I picked up the first book I saw, The Spy, by Paolo Coelho. Next I picked up Arundhati Roy's, The God of Small Things. The extended vacation and the lack of academic work proved to be the perfect environment for me to get lost in the rabbit hole of literature once again.

Novels - they almost became an alien concept to me and the two months I have spent attached to them alleviated my fears and showed me how the pure love we have for them cannot be replaced by any other form of media. The excitement you feel when the author begins to close the book, explaining so perfectly all the in discrepancies you found in the plot line and tying up lose ends so tight, you forget how they were ever lose, is unmatchable. Living for even a couple hours, in the magical world so perfectly thought out by a single human brain, is the closest to Utopia I can imagine.

I hope that now, with the world slowly healing and our workloads steadily mounting, all my fellow previously retired bookworms don’t return to our old habits but instead find the time to prioritise our first love - words strung together to create magic. I hope we continue to find and treasure our little escapes to the dystopian future or the romantic past and continue to keep the rawest form of media alive.