Getting Back to Reading for Fun
I’ve heard adults from all walks of life say “I’d like to get back to reading, but…”
Their reasons for wanting to read again (and for not reading now) vary, but here are a few common ones:
Time; not enough time! I won’t waste my own time and yours rehashing the time complaint. Do a google search and you’ll get two solid pages of articles giving solid advice that will free up the minutes in no time.
They don’t actually want to… but feel they should. Books, for someone who hasn’t read for recreation in a long time, tend to mentally morph handy paperbacks with eye-catching covers into massive leather-bound volumes with tiny print and a thousand pages.
Also in this way of thinking, books have more value after reading than before. To tell people you read a lot is almost worth doing it. Almost.
Too many books. Decisions, decisions, decisions. A bookstore or library can be more intimidating than pleasant when you don’t have a clue what you want.
If it’s been awhile, where do you even go? Romance takes up four full shelf blocks, and the reader you ask for help has a dozen recommendations. The health section has books next to each other whose titles totally disagree in bright, commanding letters. Even the fantasy section doesn’t look like you remembered it, mushed in with big signs that say YA and Young Adult when the last time you read those you might have matched that description.
Low reading confidence. Analysis paralysis like the description above doesn’t do a thing for someone trying to get back to books. It could also be that twisted mental image of books as some massive, difficult, classical status symbol.
Actually, the more popular books, the ones your friends have likely read, have a far more accessible language standard. As far as language complexity, most popular literature can be understood by a third or fourth grade reader (though the content may be more appropriate for adult readers). – See our post on Calculating Readability
There is a need to “finish”. This is more something that can stall out any reader when hitting a book they don’t particularly like for whatever reason, and they just can’t justify leaving it behind until they’ve finished. This “duty” can destroy the pleasure of reading, and make picking up the next one that much more difficult.
Recreational reading should be fun.
People define fun differently, which is part of why there are so many books to choose from.
When getting back to reading for fun, the best place to start is through your core motivations (or the motivation of your friends – since readers tend to try to get non-readers reading) .
Why do you want to read?
Here are a few major motivations that can direct you toward a new to be read (TBR) list that will get you excited to get reading.
Is there a particular topic/subject/genre of interest? If you were previously reading a lot, what did you like then? This could be a time to voice a professional interest, like wanting to be a better communicator, leader, or salesperson. There are books for all kinds of things – don’t limit yourself (or your new reader friend) to just one type of book when looking for a spark of interest. There’s something out there for just about everything.
The act of reading slows down the world, gives some peace, and requires a stop to distractions. If this is what you want from a reading habit, good on you. Reading is a wonderful aide for mental health, empathy, and inner growth. While the common suggestion may be to look toward books on philosophy, history, or self-help, there are wonderful recommendations out there for fiction reads that soothe the soul and stimulate higher, more empathetic thinking.
Reading a popular book, or being a member of a book club, allows for a more intimate connection and real friend-making. Jump on the bandwagon of a hot new series and you’ll have something in common with hordes of people in person and online. A great place to start at this would be through books currently being made into movies. You’ll have plenty to talk about, and you’ll likely start seeing references to these books made in TV shows, among friends, in those articles that show up all over your social media feeds.
Reading on your own time should be a positive experience. Getting back into reading is surprisingly difficult, since it requires focus on a single task for longer than a few minutes. Don’t feel bad or get discouraged if the first, or even second, book you pick up doesn’t engage you. There are literally billions of titles available out there.
The benefits are worth it!