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Why I Always Make Time for Pleasure Reading

Reading used to be my escape. As I got older, I turned to brainless activities instead. Now in my 20s, I'm reminding myself I HAVE to read for fun. Here's why.

It’s June. At one point in my life, I would have normally read about 20 books at this point in the year.

Now? I’ve read about seven and most of those were for a graduate class. Bleh. Sorry, but Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon is just not pleasurable reading.

Now that it’s summer, I have more time. Usually, I read through about 10 books in the first two weeks of my teenage summers. Now? I haven’t finished a single one. Granted, I’ve only been out a few weeks now, but I just haven’t picked up many books and gotten down to business. Why?

As we get older, we have far more responsibilities. I’m still working during the summer and honestly, once I get done with work, I don’t want to read anymore. I want to do something brainless.

I have a friend who reads pretty much every day for hours straight. She’s read all her books on her bookshelf, pretty much. (I have hundreds of books I haven’t read…) I admire her ability to just sit down and get absorbed. I lost that ability after high school.

So for the rest of us, those who love reading but just never seem to be able to sit down and open a book, here’s a little advice for how you should do it (and how I’m getting back on the horse) and why it even matters:

1. Use the “in-between” minutes.

In undergrad, I challenged myself to carry a book around everywhere I went (which wasn’t all that unusual) and to read it every chance I got. That means I read it in the five minutes before class started. I read walking the stairs (which is dangerous; proceed with caution). I read it every free moment I had. And guess what? In the midst of a very busy week where I had plenty of other things to read and do, I finished a book. I finished the book that week, just because I read in the tiny still moments of the day. It’s also pretty amazing how much more productive I felt when I’d taken time for pleasure, as well as my school work.

2. Read at night.

I know, I know! You’re tired. All you want to do is sleep.

But how long does it take to read five pages? Five.

Not that long, especially if you’re a speed-reader. If you read just a few pages before bed every night – a book of your choice – then you just might find yourself speeding through books faster than when you binge read on a Saturday.

3. Reignite your love.

I’ve recently been picking up some young adult books to read. Why? Because they are like candy for the imagination. A little angst, a little magic, a little love, a little adventure – these are the types of books that first made me fall in love with reading and there’s a reason why.

They capture our attention and imagination. They are purposefully written to provide escape. Isn’t that what we crave in our busy lives?

Reading isn’t a mindless activity, but if we occasionally pick up an old favorite or a fun book with magic or dragons, it just might get us more excited to sit down and read, even when we break back into the adult literary world.

Reading for pleasure is important. If reading is something your soul thrives on, like mine does, but you struggle to get that book opened because of responsibilities or tiredness, you have to push through.

Falling into a book may just be the brain-break or escape you need.

How do you get back into reading after an extended break?

About the Author

Maggie Marshall

Maggie is a senior English major at Abilene Christian University. She enjoys creative writing, reading everything she can get her hands on, and learning what it means to be a grown-up. After graduation, she plans to pursue a MFA in creative writing and perhaps a PhD after that, all while working on getting published and finding as many writing opportunities as possible. She would love to continue contributing to sites like GenTwenty and perhaps, after getting her doctorate, become a professor of creative writing at a university.


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