I was never much of a reader growing up. In school, I found ways around the mandatory reading, somehow managing to still make decent grades. I always blamed my eyesight, as reading was straining and challenging. The font was always too small and the page number always intimidating. If the book didn’t pull me in over the first few pages, I gave up.
As I became an adult, I noticed reading became ‘cool‘ again. My friends started referencing books they’d read and things they’d learned. They were reading in their free time, rather than watching TV.
It was a foreign concept to me at first, reading for fun, but last year, I decided to give it a try. Last year, my goal was to read one full book. (I wanted to be realistic and start small.) Throughout the year, I would start a book and then set it down. This happened multiple times and the stack of half read books on my nightstand was growing. By the time August rolled around, I decided I needed to get serious if I were ever to achieve my goal. I started by reading aloud to Simon before bed. Eventually, I moved into reading to myself, and after several months of very slow reading (I often read before bed and would fall asleep after only a couple of pages), I finished my first book in years!
Feeling proud of my accomplishment, I read through another book before year end. I was on a roll now! I was enjoying reading and the knowledge gained from the books. For the following year (this year, 2019), I again set a reading goal. I wanted to read four books by the end of the year. Still riding off pride, I dove right in. Within four months, I’d already surpassed my goal!
I’ve discovered the joy of reading, but it wasn’t without its challenges. Here are a few lessons I learned along the way…
When I was struggling to get into a book, it was often because I didn’t give it a chance. I would read the first chapter and be frustrated it hadn’t grabbed my attention. Most books take the first few chapters to establish the setting, characters, and plot. Sometime you have to push through the parts you find ‘boring’ to get to the good stuff!
Even if you end up pushing through the whole book and still end up not liking it, I guarantee you will have learned something.
Set Aside Time
In an attempt to have more meaningful evenings, I started setting time aside after dinner to read. I was energized and really able to focus on the story or content. I found I was reading much faster and enjoying my books more fully. On the weekends, Simon and I would take our books to the park and read in the sun. Not only were we getting the benefits of fresh air and vitamin D, we were learning and growing our minds at the same time!
I do still read before bed as well, but I don’t feel as guilty when I fall asleep after just one page!
Find Your Preference
Everyone has a preference. Whether you like the escape of fiction or the learning of nonfiction, reading at night or during the day, discovering your preference will help to find books you will find interesting and worthwhile of your time.
I tend to prefer nonfiction self-help books, but recently tried a fiction novel and really enjoyed the change! Some people are able to read both fiction and nonfiction at the same time, since they read quite different from one another. I prefer to focus on one book at a time, but that could change once I get more into reading.
Overall, reading feels like a productive use of time. I feel I am bettering myself with every page. There is so much to learn and experience, reading adds to life things you may not experience otherwise. As someone who was once ‘not much of a reader,’ I can say it is worth the discovery period to introduce reading back into your life.