I was just 8 years old that fateful summer. That’s how most YA or pre-teen novels start right?
My sister and I were living in a practically empty apartment while our father was on an assignment in Dallas. Actually, I remember I said goodbye to all my friends in May because I thought we were moving to Dallas for good. That was an awkward way to start fourth grade. “Oh LOL JK I’m actually here to stay.”
The endless cookies at reception, other apartment amenities, constant showing of Rat Race on TV, and few toys I had couldn’t keep us company for long. My sister had loved to read for as long as she (or I) could remember. She was on the fourth (and latest) harry Potter book at the time. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but after years of disliking reading, I caved. I picked up the second Harry Potter book and started reading. Truly, it was out of desperation. Plus, I had seen the first film and liked it. Don’t worry, I read the first book a few years later when I realized my egregious mistake.
And that’s what made the summer fateful.
So, Harry Potter really kickstarted my imagination and reading interest. From there I explored middle-grade fantasy and moved onto YA fiction. And classics. And period pieces. Really, most things.
However, I stopped devouring books the way I used to. I chalked it up to not having time or energy. But honestly, it’s because of the distractions and easy journalism of the internet. Listicles. Buzzfeed quizzes. Youtube videos. NETFLIX. They are so much easier than sitting down with a book and concentrating. Of course, I read novels and short stories for critical analysis essays for English classes in college. But now that I’ve graduated and am taking some time off, I need a push. Here are some things that worked for me:
Online reading community! How fab. It gets me excited about books to read reviews (scathing or otherwise). I can also see what books are similar to ones that I already love. The best part is racking up the number of books you’ve read, leaving reviews, and keeping track of what you want to read. Currently, I’m challenging myself to read 30 books in 2015, something I didn’t think a big feat, but proving more difficult that I thought.
READ SHORT, EASY BOOKS AT FIRST
This is actually sound advice when you’re trying anything new. When you first start something, allow yourself some wins before a few failures. If you try to swim a marathon after going awhile without swimming at all, you might give up more quickly. The sense of accomplishment you feel from finishing a 200 page book (or three) will fuel you through Crime & Punishment (or any long/dense book you’ve been meaning to read). It’s basically like training. Just read something like Catcher in the Rye or The Scarlet Letter and you’ll be good to go.
READ AT THE SAME TIME EVERYDAY
I do it before bed. I’ll tell myself “all screens off by 11:30.” And, on the off chance I actually follow that rule and I’m not really sleepy, I’ll read whatever is on my bedside. Usually, I fall asleep 30 minutes-1 hour into the book. But, if the plot is gripping, I can go for hours. If you make it a part of your routine to read (maybe on public transportation? or during lunch break? instead of scrolling through Instagram?), it’s just more likely to happen. And then you’ll be breezing through books.
That’s all I’ve got. You can follow my Goodreads account if you want to see what I’ve been reading. I have it linked in my social media section on this page also. I’m currently on Middlesex because Jeffrey Eugenides is a tender, magical soul. Well, The Virgin Suicides is one my favorite works ever. But Middlesex is a hefty one and I think it’s about a transgender teen? Unsure.
Oh and quick tip about $$! If you think books are expensive (which they are) then go on the discounted section on Amazon for Kindle books. My kindle broke in India (the screen basically froze and it’s beyond repair) so I’m pretty salty about Amazon right now. When I was in the US, I’d go straight to the clearance section of every Half-Price Books store and buy all the $1 books. Some serious gems can be found there. And then I just donate them back when I’m done! I don’t have the luxury of keeping all the books I read, you see. And in England there are tons of charity shops & National Trust secondhand bookstores with books for less than a pound usually. Just scour everything!
Hope that was helpful for you. Keep on reading! Please!