Finding time to read can be difficult at times, but with the right book, reading can turn into something enjoyable and less of a chore. (Photo by Trinity Chau)


Column: Enjoy the highs of reading even when your time is running low

After you work around the obstacles that come with reading more, you can finally trek through the endless, beautiful world of books at your own pace.
<a href="" target="_self">Jenny Tran</a>

Jenny Tran

January 16, 2022
Maybe it’s the New Year’s resolution you mindlessly wrote down, or the sudden, unprovoked motivation that sparked—you feel like reading. And, this time, it’s not for an essay you need to write for your English class. You want to read for fun, and for no other reason.

But, as you open up to the first page of your paperback and stare at the words, your mind can’t help but wander. It wanders to the daunting task list you have yet to start. It wanders to the piles upon piles of schoolwork lying idle on your desk. Your eyes flicker to the ticking clock eating up the minutes like they’re nothing.

Then, you turn over the book you have barely started and stare at the daunting thickness of it. You wonder: Is reading all 382 pages of this book worth it?

We all live perpetually busy lives. From cramming for your next final to spending hours a day at sports practice, it can be hard to even entertain the idea of free time.

Reading is no exception to this. Even when you push past the idea of reading being a chore, it can still be difficult to pick up a book in the midst of a stressful life. Because, how can you find the motivation to read when it seems that you have already used up all your energy?

Yet, there are still numerous ways to read more for fun despite all this.

Try to understand why you want to read in the first place. Are you reading for entertainment? To gain knowledge on your own? To do something other than use your phone? Or is it a mixture of all this and more?

It is helpful to reflect on your goals while picking out and reading books. That being said, try to pick out books that meet these goals. And, pick books you know you might genuinely enjoy.

Don’t stress about picking books that are currently being “praised” if you think you’ll have a hard time getting through them. If you aren’t reading a book you like, you’ll end up lacking the motivation to pick it back up.

For example, it’s perfectly okay to not feel like reading something like a dense classic or a non-fiction memoir. If you genuinely like cheesy rom-coms riddled with clichés, then feel free to read said rom-coms without shame.

A lot of readers have a hard time digesting the task of dropping a book when they aren’t enjoying it. When you’re already well into a book, the thought of suddenly putting it down can be hard, whether you want to or not.

If you’re reading something you aren’t liking, you’ll likely end up slogging through the whole thing for weeks on end and not like a single moment of it. Only if it’s possible, try to drop books when you aren’t enjoying them. If you’re worried about wasting money, borrow books you’re unsure about from the library or buy them discounted.

So, now you have something to read. The hardest part is now finding the time to do so.

It might seem near-impossible to find the time, especially when you seem to have too much to do in a day. Try to gauge when you’ll have free gaps in your life when you aren’t or can’t be doing anything important. Weekends and breaks, for instance, can be greatly advantageous.

You can also try reflecting back on your goals. For example, if one of your goals is to replace screen time: think about when you’re on your phone the most during the day, or when you usually watch movies or TV shows. The next time you find yourself reaching for your phone or the remote, pick up your current read instead.

From waiting for your appointment to sitting in the car, there are numerous instances that you can fill in with reading time. Setting aside specific times for reading, such as for a couple minutes before bed, can also help you get into the groove of reading routinely.

When it comes to actually reading, simply read how you want to read. You can soak up the words the same way you watch movies. You can read slowly and take in every plot point, or skim over scenes you don’t like, or just read at a leisurely speed.

In the end, don’t beat yourself up for any roadblocks that hit you on your path to reading. Reading books should be an enjoyable activity, and don’t force yourself to do anything you don’t want to. It’s perfectly okay to not have the time, or even the motivation if you do have it. Just as it’s fine to not read a book for months on end, it’s also fine to feel the need to read every waking second.

Simply understand why you’re reading, and when it comes to picking up a book, read how you want to. After you work around the obstacles that come with reading more, you can finally trek through the endless, beautiful world of books at your own pace.

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