It’s been a while since I have written anything, mainly because I have been reading everything. In just two months I have read almost 20 books, and I don’t feel the need to slow down. This probably isn’t a topic worth writing about, but hey. I’m going to write about it anyway.
Growing up I was a classic book-worm. I had read every single Nancy Drew book in my local library before I turned nine years old, and then as I got older I read my way through the YA section multiple time. The librarian would always call me when a new order of books was delivered, and I was there within minutes. I read constantly, everywhere I went. In the car, at the dinner table, in the bathroom, under the blankets after bedtime, when I should have been working on math, at ballet, at birthday parties. Like an awkward, prepubescent Belle, my nose was always stuck in a book. Then towards the end of high school, I stopped reading. Not totally sure why: Maybe it was having my own laptop and cellphone full of distractions. Maybe it was academic burnout. Maybe a combination of a lot of things. But my disinterest in reading continued until very recently.
I tried to get back into reading, I really did. But I tried the wrong way. I got all the books I used to enjoy, like Christian written Amish romances, humorous books, YA fantasy. Yes, I even tried to read Twilight again. And not surprisingly, 25 year old me had a hard time getting into the same books and genres that 15 year old me enjoyed. So then I went in the opposite direction and tried more challenging books like Vanity Fair and Atlas Shrugged, but I didn’t enjoy those either. So I just assumed that the issue was with me, that I was just not intelligent or academic enough to enjoy reading. I never stopped to think maybe I just hadn’t chosen the right books.
I am eternally grateful to a friend who loaned me a large stack of books she thought I would enjoy, and another friends who introduced me to Reese’s Book Club by Hello Sunshine. The first non-compulsory book I read in a very long time was The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine. It was a psychological suspense book which I had never considered, and I was hooked. I read the entire book in less than a day, and just like that I was hooked back on reading again. I ran to Barnes and Nobles and bought a dozen more books, and whipped through them at rapid speed, like a starving woman finally given food.
After Mrs. Parrish I read a couple more psychological suspense books, then moved into historical/spy fiction, then cultural satire, etc. I had lived in a YA fiction bubble for so long, then tried to force myself into the classic literature bubble, and didn’t even stop to think about all the different genres and subgenres available. Nothing against the classics, but I am just not interested. If you love Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and Bronte — that’s great! I prefer Kate Quinn, Jason Matthews, and Kevin Kwan. And that’s great too. While reading for enrichment and learning is important, it is also important to read for enjoyment and escape.
With all that being said, if you are like me and have lost your love for reading (or if you just never loved it to start) I hope you will try shaking up your routine, and try some books you had never considered before. I never, in a million years, would have thought I would enjoy psychological thrillers. But here I am, 400 pages into my sixth psychological thriller. Give your mind a chance, you might discover a whole new world locked away in a new-to-you genre. And don’t let the book snobs get you down! Not everybody is going to love reading thousand-page books written in Victorian era English. There is no shame in reading from the NY Times best sellers list. Books are best sellers for a reason: because a lot of people enjoy them, and maybe you will too.