These are my recommendations for falling into good habits and new hobbies.
JUMPSTART is a feature on Wings on the Way about rediscovering inspiration when it comes to things you might have stopped doing, never did, or have felt obligated to do. It’s all about putting fun back into things that should be fun!
I can’t stress enough just how much I love reading. I mean, it’s kinda my job to share books with people. Working at a library has only reminded me of my love for the written word. When I was much younger, I was a voracious reader and, because of that, I wanted to be an author. You couldn’t find me without my current read, a notebook, and a small box of Bic Cristal pens (BLACK INK ONLY). As I hit my teen years, I strayed from both books and my first ever dream job. I would read occasionally (I anticipated the yearly release of Gossip Girl and fell in deep and everlasting love with the Jessica Darling books during this time period), but not as much as I once had or eventually would again. It’s normal to stop and start some passions in life, but I really believe in the importance of reading.
I have a lot of friends and acquaintances in my life who say they want to read but don’t have time. At first, I understood. But then I noticed something. Those same people (and there’s nothing wrong with this and I love you, but still) were caught up with their favorite TV shows or binge watching new ones on Netflix and generally having plenty of free time for other things. So, now, when someone tells me they don’t have the time to read, I secretly roll my eyes inside of my brain. If you want to do something, you make the time. It’s okay if you don’t want to read…no one is making you do anything you don’t want to do. Why do people feel the need to make excuses by saying they don’t have time? We always find time for things we love and if we don’t, that’s a whole other problem that needs to be fixed. Of course, I’m not telling you to stop socializing or watching TV or movies or ignore your friends and family just to read, but trust me…you can find the time to read. You might even be glad you did. Here are my tips for falling in love with books!
1. Go to the library.
When I was younger my mom would take me and my sister to the public library and we would read Dr. Seuss and pick out books to take home. That’s how I killed time as a kid in the 90s. Anyway, when I started to fall in love with books again, I found that buying books was getting pricey. I still love building my own collection, but if you haven’t been to the library in a while I promise you will be glad you did. It’s quiet, a nice respite from the craziness of the world. You’ll also have access to so many books, new and old, and FOR FREE. There’s no pressure or guilt if you don’t read the book you take out, as long as you don’t let a fine rack up. You can always renew the book if you need more time. Libraries really want to make you happy, so they will find ways to get the books you request in a variety of ways such as requesting outside of the county or state at no extra charge. Another incentive for those still wary of reading: Libraries have movies. You can rent a movie FOR FREE for an entire week. Also, they don’t just have the latest movies. If there’s a movie you missed and it’s not in Redbox or on Netflix, there’s a very good chance you’ll find it at the library. It reminds me of the wonders of Blockbuster. You’re not stuck with a small selection. Can you tell I both work at and love the library? So if you go to find a movie, take home a book with you too!
2. What Do You Love?
For any TV show, movie, music, or hobby you love, there is absolutely a book about it. Sure, if you love knitting or baseball or politics you can find a non-fiction book about it, something to teach you. But there are also fictional stories about these things. There are books about everything, made-up or real. That means there’s a book out there that you will really enjoy reading, you just have to look for it.
3. Embrace the Hype
I read Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl in 2012 when the book was first released. The book wasn’t yet a movie so, as an avid Entertainment Weekly reader, I was persuaded to pick it up by the excellent review. I never read mystery/thriller/crime novels, and I figured it was the best way to experiment. Since then, pretty much everyone I know has read the book, especially in preparation of the movie. Hype is a tough call; your expectations can get super high and you get let down. However, hype happens for a reason. It’s often well-deserved. Check out books that have hit the bestseller lists, won awards, or that most people you know have picked up.
4. Set the Time Aside to Unplug
I, of all people, know how hard it is to get stuck in a social media wormhole. I am often disgusted with how much time I spend on my phone doing extremely pointless things. I won’t stop, because I enjoy playing silly games and refreshing my Instagram feed. Still, I often feel like I wasted a lot of time for nothing. When I’m reading a book, especially something I’m really into, I look forward to time spent where the TV is off, the phone is put away, and I can just read. I get most of my reading done at bedtime, which I feel is the case for most people. Sometimes, it keeps me up way later than I intend. But if you love something, maybe it’ll help you get into bed earlier and benefit you in a completely different way!
5. Take Yourself Out
I’m sure it frightened me at the beginning, but I look forward to going out for lunch by myself. It’s always the case when I’m at work, because I get an hour and that’s a good chunk of time to grab food at a nice café (or Wendy’s more often than not) and sit down with my latest read. If you’re nervous about eating on your own, books make the best dates. If you’re reading, you won’t focus on the fact that you’re alone which seriously isn’t as scary as you might think. If you haven’t done it, I highly recommend it! Since you’re on your own, there are no distractions, no need to get caught up in silly gossip. Take your sweet time eating and (this step is important) sipping on your coffee while you lose yourself in a book.
So, what do you think? Is reading a habit that anyone can pick up? Do you think these are good tips? What has helped you keep a love of reading in your life, even during the busiest times?
If you need recommendations, I love the website Goodreads (here’s my profile). You can see what your friends are reading, look up recommendations based on books you have enjoyed in the past, and check ratings and reviews to see if that book you’re curious about is worth it!