How I Rediscovered my Love of Reading

todayApril 4, 2023 53 1 4 5

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By Hannah Walls
News & Culture Assistant

When I was younger, reading was my favorite activity in the entire world. I would never be found without a book in hand, and even had a deal worked out with the librarian at my elementary school to let me check out more books than the usual limit.

I could easily breeze through a book in a day, give myself a few minutes to mourn and reminisce on my time in whatever world I was in for the past few hours, and then crack open a new one. Somewhere along the way, it feels like I lost that love, and reading actually became kind of difficult.

I blame this on a few factors.

I have many friends who share this same sentiment of being an avid reader until about middle school. As far as I can remember, this is about when mandatory readings became a regular thing in English classes.

I have nothing against books being assigned and required for certain classes at all, and in fact, I really enjoyed a good number of the books I was assigned to read in middle school, high school and college; “Lord of the Flies” and “Brave New World” actually ended up becoming some of my favorite books (however, I’m still overcome with unbridled rage when I think about “Great Expectations,” I hate it so much).

I do think required readings can make it overwhelming to enjoy any other book at the same time, and nothing is as fun when you literally have to do it without it being your choice. For people like me who were used to zooming through a book all in one night, it was also irritating to have to stop at specific chapters or put the book aside for a while.

As cheesy as it sounds, I also kind of attribute it to a developing digital world. It’s difficult to truly set aside distractions and focus on a book, and for me, most of my current hobbies as an adult are dependent upon technology, so choosing reading over those is rare.

I recently went camping, and I kind of think that completely changed my view of reading and re-ignited my love for it. I’m not saying you need to go off-the-grid for a weekend to rediscover how fun reading is, but it certainly made me realize a few things.

First, putting my phone on “do not disturb” is not enough sometimes. Once again, I know this might make me sound pretentious and cheesy, but a constant stream of notifications stresses me out a lot more than I thought. Being able to leave my phone in the tent all day and just sit in my hammock or lounge by the river with a book was the first time in a while I’ve felt genuinely relaxed. Even good notifications can be overwhelming or make you feel anxious, and coming to that realization was eye-opening for me.

Second, a big hurdle for me that now seems obvious: you do not have to read non-fiction! I went through a huge non-fiction book buying phase around my senior year of high school, which I just recently broke, because for some reason I was convinced I had grown out of fiction. I’m really not sure where this idea came from, all I know is that my bookshelf is now filled with memoirs, guides and psychology books that I’ve barely cracked open.

Once again, I love non-fiction books, and I love reading about topics I’m not familiar with and want to learn more about. But those books are not meant to be read all in one sitting, and are so much more enjoyable to read with the knowledge that I can read a little bit of that, then pick up a fiction book, or maybe even a fun graphic novel.

The photo features three books laid out on a blue and white gingham background. From left-to-right, top-to-bottom, the books read “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” by Caitlin Doughty, “The Adoration of Jenna Fox” by Mary E. Pearson, and the third volume of “Blue Period”  by Tsubasa Yamaguchi.
My current reads! I’ve found that keeping a non-fiction book, a fiction book and a manga or comic on deck to rotate through works best for me!

Finally, the real kicker for me: you don’t have to finish a book all in one sitting! Surprise! I think part of what pushed me away from reading for so long was that I held myself to the standard of an 8-year-old me; if I could get through two books in a night then, why not now?

Well, probably because an 8-year-old doesn’t have to worry about juggling classes, an internship, extracurriculars and a social life. It’s not realistic to spend six hours a day reading every single day, and that’s okay! If you have even 30 minutes of free time to read, that’s enough.

Revisiting the books I loved when I was younger has been really fun for me, and I look forward to digging up my old “to read” list.

Featured Image from Hannah Walls

Written by: Amaya Lewis

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  1. DK on April 6, 2023

    Another great article! You’re 100% right, I think I’ll have to pick up a book now

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