2019: The Year I Returned to Reading for Pleasure
Growing up I was an avid reader, testing well above grade-level pretty early on and devouring series like Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots and The Baby-Sitters Club quickly. When my mom suggested I read something more serious, like a biography, I rebelliously came home with an Elvis biography — really showed her! But somewhere between high school and college my habit of reading for pleasure dwindled. My personal curiosities were overtaken by academic reading and the ever increasing availability of other media. In 2019 I set a goal of reading 20 books, as a way to get myself back into the habit of reading — and not just for school or for work.
Somewhat to my own amazement, I surpassed my goal of reading 20 books and completed a total of 27 books by the end of December. Compared to the 3 books that I read in 2018 I considered it a huge success. I started by reading while on planes and found myself quickly sucked in to a few great books. This worked well because of my busy travel schedule for the first half of the year and slowly I transitioned into spending more of my weekend time reading and resuming my long-held childhood habit of reading before bed. I am never able to read for every long before getting sleepy but a few pages can add up quickly when it’s every night (or almost every night).
Making a concerted, long-term effort to get my reading muscles back in shape was a success and I’m happy to have reconnected with that part of myself. The joy and escape that reading can provide was something I’d long forgotten about — too focused on the more recent memories of academic drudgery — and have been privileged to find again. So if you are trying to get back into the habit of reading, or start a new habit of reading for pleasure, here are some of the tricks that I found most helpful, as well as some book recommendations from my 2019 Reading Challenge.
When & Where to Read:
- While Traveling — Planes, trains, or otherwise, any mode of travel where you don’t have to take an active role in driving, is a great opportunity to read. You’ve got nowhere to go and often your other entertainment options are limited. Further, with the advent of e-books and audio-books it’s easier than ever to pack light and make use of all that wait time.