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Learning To Love Reading Again in the Time of COVID-19

When I was 15 years old, I read the Harry Potter series for the first time. Yes, I cried and yes, I acknowledge that seeing as it’s a children’s series, I probably should’ve read it for the first time before I no longer classified as a “child.” But that’s beside the point.

The Harry Potter series made me fall in love with storytelling all over again because prior to that year, the Hunger Games and Divergent had been my M.O. when it came to classifying myself as a “bookworm.”

I became so obsessed with the seven books and eight movies that, for a while, I didn’t feel the need to read anything else that wasn’t required for school. Mostly because I didn’t feel like anything would compare to the serotonin rush that was the Battle of Hogwarts. But that “short while” turned into me not picking up anything other than historical fiction and textbooks until the age of 22. 

Maybe it was that I just felt so attached to the Harry Potter universe, or maybe it was the whole “well-I’ve-read-what’s-considered-to-be-the-greatest-series-of-all-time-so-I’m-clocking-out” mentality, but I found myself completely unable to connect with a series the same way. 

And that was the case, until this past fall when I finally escaped “candle making TikTok” and landed in the wonderful world of BookTok. Over the past few months, I’ve found myself picking up books I’d purchased years ago and forgotten to ever crack open, while simultaneously adding more and more to my Goodreads “to-be-read” list. Thankfully, the state of the world and having more free time than ever has made entering these fantasy lands even easier.

I started with what I already had in my bookcase: the first of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Selection series by Kiera Cass and the Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson. And when I was done with those, I started in with BookTok’s top pick of the moment: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, and when I say I cried I mean I went through a box and a half of tissues (and not even Hogwarts being destroyed got that kind of reaction out of me).

It’s weird getting back into reading in the young adult category when you’re still technically a “young adult” but all the main protagonists within it are 16 going on 17 and you sort of just feel like not only did you not peak in high school, but somehow forgot to have some life-changing magical-realization at the same time. So, it was a breath of fresh air to open The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and see that she’s 23 and also has no idea what she’s doing — it was comforting, to say the least.

As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve realized there’s no expiration date on when you can still read “young adult” books. For a while, I’d believed that the moment you could legally drink meant that you had to stop enjoying what some may consider “childish fantasy novels.” However, when you look at them from a broader perspective, they’re really just stories of friendship, love and adventure — things that, no matter how old you get, are always exciting and always important. 

So, if you haven’t found yourself a new quarantine hobby (because becoming a fitness guru was absolutely not going to happen for me), I really do recommend taking a trip down the rabbit hole that is BookTok. You might just find yourself a new world to get lost in. 

Person Holding a Book
Photo by Aline Viana Prado from Pexels

A senior at the University of Central Florida, Rose is majoring in International Relations & Comparative Politics with minors in Diplomacy, History, and Intelligence and National Security. For her final year as a Knight, she is serving as the Senior Editor for Her Campus @ UCF. Outside of doing copious amounts of homework, she spends an unhealthy amount of time reading historical fiction, watching planes fly by outside of her apartment window, and eating ice cream from the pint. After college, she hopes to finally figure out the secret to life, or at least how to grow 2 more inches.
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