When I was in middle school, I was obsessed with reading. I’d go through books like I had nothing to do. I’d come home from the library carrying stacks of science fiction and dystopian novels ready to plop down on my couch and dive in. The school’s independent reading requirement was never a problem for me – I nearly always went beyond what was expected.
It wasn’t because I loved working. To me, reading wasn’t homework – it was a fun past time. I enjoyed immersing myself into alternate universes and becoming attached to the almost life-like characters. I would pre-order stories and wait impatiently for the newest books in a series to come out.
As I grew up, I had more and more trouble finding time to read. I needed to study for AP classes, spend time doing extracurriculars, and hang out with my friends. I’d often be so busy that I’d go weeks without even glancing at a novel.
It hurt to lose that part of myself. It’d been such an integral piece of my existence. Without it, it felt like I was missing something.
I wasn’t willing to give up reading. Instead, I yearned to find time to read, just as I had when I was younger.
Getting back into reading isn’t an easy task, but it is feasible. I know this for a fact – today, I’ve managed to make it a hobby of mine once again.
The most important factor is time. This was what originally pushed me away from continuing to read as I had. I know this matters to many people. For my friends who used to be avid readers, they complain that they can’t anymore because they don’t have the time.
Personally, I’ve jumped over this barrier by making time. Usually, I like to eat my meals at my desk or in the dining hall. In either case, I tend to distract myself with something while eating in order to relax. In high school, that meant browsing through Youtube videos and TV shows. I soon realized that I could also read while eating.
You have to eat daily. Why not add reading to your meal? For me, I tend to eat lunch right after class. Having a book allows my mind to relax and wander elsewhere. Sometimes, I end up reading hours after I finish my last bite – especially, if the book is addicting. If you’re trying to read more, bringing a book to dinner may be the way to go (as long as you aren’t eating with anyone else).
But if you tend to eat with friends or have other habits that would conflict, you can make time during other parts of your day. Specifically, I choose to read late at night. After a hectic day, a good book can clear my head before I go to sleep. You can even add a mug of tea and get cozy. Life is stressful – making time to cuddle up in a warm blanket and read a book can be exactly what you need.
Maybe time isn’t your problem. Instead, you’re having trouble getting books to read. A problem I’ve run into is being able to afford books. They’re usually ten dollars a piece at a normal bookstore which takes a toll on your wallet. One solution could be finding a local library. Library books are totally free, as long as you return them. They also have enough options to last you a lifetime. Sure, they may not have every single book you need, but they definitely can cover some of that cost.
On another hand, there’s the issue of not knowing what to read. This issue doesn’t ever go away. Even now, I sometimes run out of books in my TBR pile and have to scramble across the Internet to find new stories. My solution is using online algorithms and asking around for recommendations.
I have a Kindle that gives me helpful recommendations. I like to scroll through them and click on related stories until I find a plot summary that really speaks to me. Another good site is Goodreads. With a Goodreads account, you can easily find stories. But it goes beyond that – you can read reviews and look through forums to help in your decision.
Finally, I’d suggest looking into other genres. When I was trying to get back into reading, I was so set on science fiction that I ignored all other book recommendations. Then, a fantasy series stole my heart. Since that point, I’ve been devouring a wide variety of fantasy novels that I’d never considered reading. Jumping into a new genre can be a convenient spark to start your reading journey.
If you’re interested in reading, don’t let a busy schedule or lack of books stop you. There are so many options and ways to make time for a story. Reading is one of the best hobbies I’ve taken on in my life, and I’d feel lost without it.