I grew up as an avid reader. I would secretly read the classics aloud to myself in an English accent. I would devour 600 page books from cover to cover.
But in recent years, I lost that joy of reading. Reading started to feel like a chore, or something that I was feeling guilty for not doing. I would pick up a top-selling book from time to time, fail to get sucked in, & then wonder what was wrong with me.
It turns out that there wasn’t anything wrong with me… I hadn’t gotten dumber. The internet hadn’t ruined my attention-span. I simply had higher standards than my twelve year old self.
Over the last few months, there have been three main things that renewed my love for reading…
- A Seth Godin Interview
I was watching an interview with Seth Godin (when he was on the #AskGaryVee show), & he was talking about how many books he reads. It was an insane number of books, but then he shared something that really hit-home for me. He said that he doesn’t read books from cover to cover necessarily; he reads until he gets the punchline.
This is such an important point when you are reading books having to do with self-help, business, parenting, etc. A book can be extremely valuable to you even if you don’t read every word, every page, or even every chapter. A lot of authors have one main point, & then they spend the rest the book rephrasing that point. It is okay to gather than valid point, make note of it, & then close the book. Why waste your time if it isn’t going to help you further?
2. Finding Phenomenal Authors
On the other hand, I came across an author this year where I love reading his books from cover to cover. Jon Ronson. He is an incredible journalist & author. He brings intrigue & humor to his writing, picks fascinating topics, & has a way of making you see things through various lenses in the course of one book. He renewed my love for reading because when I read a Jon Ronson book, it never feels like a chore. He picks fascinating topics time & time again. I started with The Psychopath Test, & I have been working my way through all of his other books.
I realized that I was blaming myself for not being enthralled by books, when really I just wasn’t finding phenomenal authors. My own preferences & standards are different than what they were while I was growing up. I find different things fascinating, & I don’t find lengthy descriptions of countrysides romantic anymore. Of course, finding these types of amazing authors is not an easy task; but at least I now know that they exist.
3. Buying Physical Copies of Books
In theory, getting books on the Kindle app on my iPhone would make me more likely to read those books. In reality, that was not the case. I found that I had a hard time getting drawn into a book when it was on my phone because my brain was treating it like a blog post that I typically skimmed through looking for the bold print.
The other reason that I started buying physical books again was that I wanted to be a better influence for my two sons. My first grader was feeling like reading was a chore, & he always wanted to read the bare minimum for his homework. I wanted him to see me reading physical books by choice. I wanted him to discover that books can be enjoyable, & they aren’t just another thing on a checklist.
I also decided to buy more books instead of borrowing them from the library. I like having the flexibility to be reading a couple books at a time over the course of a few months instead of being tied down to a book that I feel the pressure of completing it before I have to return it. I also love being able to write in the margins, get it splashed on while reading at the pool, or pass it on to someone else who I know will enjoy it when I’m done.
Regardless of how you get there, I want to encourage you to find the joy in reading. Whether that means rediscovering it from your childhood or starting fresh. It’s okay to be picky. It’s okay to skim. It’s okay to take months to finish a book. But finding the joy in reading again is genuinely refreshing.
Originally published at medium.com