How to Read for Pleasure Again
Although I am currently studying English, as I’ve grown older I’ve found it harder and harder to read for pleasure in my spare time. This is probably because I’ve grown to associate reading with school or university work – it’s a lot less fun digesting a novel when you know you’ll have to debate it in a seminar the next day! Here are my three tips to help you begin reading for fun again.
If you haven’t read for pleasure in a while, it can be a daunting task to start back up. To combat the fear of beginning to read again, I like to start with something small. Find a short book or novella to begin – perhaps only 100 pages or so. This relieves any apprehension you might feel about starting a 400-page novel that you may end up hating. The benefit of a short book is that, even if you despise every word you read, it will be finished quickly! They can help you get back into the rhythm of reading for fun, without any long-term commitment. Alternatively, I recommend rereading a book that you’ve previously enjoyed. Having the security of enjoying the plot or characters can help you make reading a habit again, before moving onto other books that you may not have read.
Discover How You Like to Read
Personally, I’m very particular about how I like to read for fun. I find it very difficult to read for my own enjoyment during university term time, as I find that the academic analysis part of my brain can’t be fully switched off. This means that the holidays are my prime reading time – particularly summer! I tend to prefer longer stretches of uninterrupted reading, rather than short bursts, and enjoy reading outdoors or in cafes. All this has taken a while to figure out, but means that when I begin reading I already know the conditions I will enjoy most. Of course, your preferences may be completely different to mine, but I really recommend taking the time to discover your own tastes, in order to make your reading sessions all the more enjoyable.
Read What YOU Want to Read
If you, like me, often hated some of the texts you were taught in Secondary School English lessons, it can be tough to get rid of the feeling that there is a certain type of book that you ‘should’ be reading. It can be difficult to remember that you now get to choose precisely what books you want to read! You no longer need to struggle through a Shakespeare play, when you can now pick a cheesy romcom, a YA book, a poetry or essay collection that you can dip in and out of, or even a graphic novel! You could even read popular books from a few years ago, like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, if that’s what you fancy. After all, the key factor to reading for pleasure is to remember that you are reading for yourself, and no one else.