Do you remember how excited you were when the next Magic Treehouse book came out? I know I do. Do you remember the last time you were excited about a book? I don’t.
When you ask people why they don’t read for fun anymore, the answer you often hear is that school ruined reading for them. With all the assignments that came with books, it’s easy to associate reading with grades. Not to mention the need to pay attention to style and themes. In general, just pulling a story apart for the sake of analysis can be a stressful chore. Because of this, it’s hard to see reading as fun again.
I recently got back into reading for fun, and here are some tips I learned:
1) Use eBooks.
eBooks have plenty of perks. They are digital for one, so they don’t bring clutter with them as print books do. Seeing how many pages you have left can be stressful, but eBooks don’t make you aware of page numbers due to their on-screen nature. You also can change the font size, which is helpful since small fonts can make books look like unfriendly seas of letters. eBooks give you the freedom to customize your reading experience. There’s no need to buy a Kindle to read eBooks. There is, of course, a Kindle app, as well as Apple Books. For classical works, there are often digital copies online for free. All in all, digital books provide a good alternative to print books for aspiring readers.
2. Use Audiobooks.
Sometimes even an eBook is still too similar to reading for school. With audiobooks, you get the perks of eBooks while also not even having to read physically. You can listen to stories while also not worrying about clutter or page numbers. While just listening and doing nothing else can make your brain wander off and miss the story, this means that audiobooks are great for menial tasks. These tasks include playing games on my phone, folding clothes, driving, walking, exercising, or simply doodling. Depending on what the action is, listening to an audiobook can help a productive task be more fun.
Thankfully, there’s a multitude of audiobook resources. There is Audible.com, which has a wide variety of genres, often available for a free trial with some Youtuber’s promo code. There is Librivox.org, a website full of public domain audiobooks. You can get anything from Greek philosophy to German Erotica on there, all for free! There is also Youtube, where you can find audiobooks such as Game of Thrones, all of course, for free. With their benefits and wide availability, audiobooks are certainly worth a listen.
3. Read whatever!
The most important thing in all of this is to read what you want. In school, there’s pressure to read certain books. While I do think there’s merit in reading comprehension and analytical skills taught in English class, it’s unfortunate that students can get the idea that some books are better than others. Sure, 1984 is an influential novel, but don’t choose it over your favorite romance fantasy series, just because it’s a “classic”. If you force yourself to read a novel because you feel like you should, you probably won’t enjoy it. Go read the edgiest teen vampire comic book there is. Who cares? Have fun!
Remember, reading should be enjoyable, so find what works for you. If all else fails, there’s no shame in reading an old Magic Tree House book. Maybe you’ll find magic in reading again.
Graphic by Juana Garcia