My sister used to hate reading. She found it dull and tedious that you had to read to see a picture in your mind. She preferred television shows.
One day last year, she asked me if I could check out a couple of books that had caught her attention. Both works were non-fiction: one about race, and the other, feminism.
She hasn’t stopped reading since then.
By no means does she read a lot. She’s a slow reader who only picks up her novel half an hour before she accidentally falls asleep. But she went from “I hate reading” to “Damn it, I don’t have a book.”
There’s a book for everyone
Even those who proclaim they dislike reading.
The reason you don’t like reading is that you’re choosing the wrong books.
My sister still refuses to read fiction, but it doesn’t matter. She’s found her kind of books.
In 2016, I read 12 novels. We’re nearing the end of March, and I’m already reading my sixteenth read. The most significant difference between then and now is the stories I’m reading.
I can devour a book in a matter of days, not because I’m focused on my reading goal but because I want to keep reading.
I’m always eager to start new novels because I like my choices. More importantly, I get excited to sit down and read.
Don’t read books you think you should like
Caring about what people think trickles down even to the stories we read.
Some people will read classics because they want to look smarter, even if they find them annoying. Others will pick up popular titles because they have FOMO — not because the concept catches their attention.
Don’t force yourself to read stories you think you should read. If you do this, you’ll kill your love for reading before it’s had a chance to manifest.
Reading books you don’t like is the equivalent of your English teacher assigning you a novel you know you won’t read. You’ll dread it. You’ll find the SparkNotes instead.
If you’re forty-five and enjoy reading Young Adult novels, so be it. If you’re a man and romance is your jam, there’s nothing wrong with that. Venture into the kid’s section and check out Harry Potter.
Read the stories you want to read because:
- Life is too short
- You’ll take a long time reading it
Don’t ruin your reading experience. Pick a title you like and read it with pleasure.
What if you don’t know what type of books you like?
You don’t know what kind of food you like until you’ve tried it. The same goes for books.
If you want to figure out which stories you like, read everything.
Go to your local library and check out works from different genres. Get one romance, one science-fiction, one classic, one horror, one thriller.
If you have a library card, you can check out free eBooks on the Libby app. You can get a 30-day free trial of Kindle Unlimited, buy cheap eBooks on Amazon, or order novels online.
Read the summary — and the first couple of pages — before you borrow or check out a novel. If it seems interesting, grab it and check it out. That’s the only criteria for picking a book.
It took a lot of reading for me to realize that my top genres are:
- historical fiction
- contemporary fiction
I also learned that I’m not a fan of classics. (Yes, I’m a writer who doesn’t like the classics. Sue me.)
If you like the story you read, keep reading it. If you don’t enjoy it, let it go. Some readers struggle to give up on novels when they’re ten or even fifty pages in.
Don’t keep reading. It’s a painful experience.
You need to find the types of books you’ll read through like they held the answers to life.
You’ll speed through your books if you enjoy reading them
As I said, the only reason I’m on my sixteenth book is that I’m thrilled about reading.
When you let yourself read stories you genuinely enjoy, you learn to appreciate reading.
Trips to the library or Barnes and Noble will be more exciting. You’ll put down your phone and read an hour before bed. You’ll take your Kindle with you more often. When you finish a book, you’ll jump into another the next day.
Reading is fun and makes for great company. If you want to love reading, you can.