As a kid, I devoured books. I could never understand why my friends simply didn’t like to read. As I got older, though, life got distracting. Schoolwork, testing, Instagram, and everything else that a teenage girl encounters filled up my days, and ultimately I forgot about my old passion for books. In addition to the distractions, my classmates’ and friends’ negative attitudes about reading rubbed off on me. I read only for English class and still saw that as a chore—something to get through in the quickest way possible.
I felt this way until this past summer. My summer reading for Ap Literature included two novels: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano. After these two books sat in my bedroom for almost a month I made a choice. I chose to forget all of the opinions and negativity about reading I held and tried to read these books with an open mind. Truthfully, this choice grew from the desire to finish these books in the shortest time I could, but it was a start nonetheless.
I finished both books in two weeks and was surprised to find myself searching for book recommendations after. Eventually, I was picking up a book to read any chance I could get; my old obsession was back. I read 10 books total this summer (and spent way more money than I should have). But I think I have figured out the key to enjoying reading.
Change your mindset on reading.
I have found that my perception of reading was tainted by years of boring required reading and hearing negative opinions. An open attitude was the first step to my newfound love. The best way to achieve this objective frame of mind is to forget. It might seem silly but pretend that you love to read and see what happens. This pretending is like practicing a positive mindset and practice makes perfect.
Read what interests you.
Page-turners. It’s in the name. These books will keep you reading. Whether it’s rom-coms or thrillers, what you find interesting is unique to you. TikTok and Pinterest have great recommendations of books that will reel you in. Personally, after my summer reading, I read 2 books that had movie adaptations I wanted to watch (Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn). This way I had something to look forward to as a sort of reward.
Romanticize and make it fun.
Again this seems silly but it helped me a lot. I loved taking pictures of what I was reading, making a Goodreads account, and cultivating a cute book collection in my room. For me, this romanticization was not phony and actually made it so much more fun. Set time aside every day to read but be lenient with yourself! If you don’t want to read, don’t. And if you don’t like a book don’t force yourself to finish. Overall keep it enjoyable for yourself!
Lastly, my recommendations for back-to-school reading. With the busyness of school and homework, reading should be a relaxing escape. The book Normal People by Sally Rooney is a poignant and beautiful novel. It’s easy to pick up and read whenever you can. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott would be a great book as well. The relatable characters and the heartwarming story makes it so easy to love (not to mention the movie is amazing too).
Hopefully, you can apply these tips and maybe learn to love reading!