Years ago I would have described myself as a frequent reader. Before college and graduate school sucked the reading for pleasure joy out of me, and before books about little blue trucks, curious monkeys, and hungry caterpillars took over our bookshelves; I usually had a book(s) I was working my way through at any given time.
Non-fiction was often my go to, but I can’t deny a rom-com or a mystery. Reading wasn’t something I would say I did without effort, I’m not the fastest reader, and it’s not my first or second choice when I want to relax. But as long as I can remember I’ve always made time to do it for pleasure, and always enjoy when I do.
Finding my way back to reading, became a mission for me. I felt like the constant tug of life, was desperately missing an escape that I had known before, and I wanted it back. That feeling of getting lost in someone else’s story, diving deep into an event or perspective, and stimulating critical thought, all can happen with books. And equally important, I want my children to see me reading for me, while I also continue to expose them to a multitude of books.
In 2019, a good friend of mine started mentioning many of the books she was reading and was eager to discuss their contents. I obliged and began reading her recommendations, the books were wonderful, but I loved having someone to discuss them with. I realized I was missing not just reading but also connection outside of my being a mother. The social piece and accountability lead me to a book club. Joining a book club and hearing what those close to me were reading, was definitely the catalyst for me and I’ve found that these two things and a few others have helped me sustain my joy of reading over these past 3 years.
I am sure that I will have a lull in my reading journey again, but my hope is that next time this happens I can quickly find my way back, by remembering the things that were helpful.
1. Ask your people what they’re reading – By hearing what those around me are reading, I have been exposed to different genres and authors I’ve never read before. And it’s fun to discuss a book with someone you know.
2. Book club – Committing to reading a book with a group, and the social component of meeting and connecting with a group of individuals from all backgrounds, ages and experiences has really been fun and exciting.
3. Local library/Book apps/Bookstagram – I am amazed at the amount of social media accounts related to books. I have found many books for my children this way, but it’s also been a great way for me to learn more about some of my favorite authors, see what others think about books I’ve read, and to join reading challenges. As for apps, having a designated space to track the books I’m reading, what I’ve read and what I aspire to read is nice and it’s also another way to connect with others. The app I use most often for audiobooks is linked to my local library system, which has an impressive selection.
4. Audiobooks – Reading this way has been so useful, and the main way I have read the majority of books in the past two years. Utilizing the app associated with my local library has been a great way to browse books, place holds, and listen to audiobooks.
5. Read together – Reading to and with our children has always been a top priority and joy for our family. Years of taking them to the library and bookstores was helpful in leading me back to doing the same for me. Also, reading more as couple has been a goal of mine and I am looking forward to making that happen.
I hope if there’s something that used to bring you comfort and connection and you’re longing to get back there, that you’re able to find a way back in a manageable and meaningful way.