Do you remember the times when we would devour books in mere hours or days? I miss the moments when we would go home after school and jump into bed with the latest book we snagged from the library, ready to read it all in one sitting. I miss those chilly October mornings spent wandering through the aisles of the Scholastic Book Fair just wishing I could take everything home. It seemed like there were never enough books to read! Authors like Mary Pope Osborne, Rick Riordan, John Green and J.K. Rowling all gave us unforgettable narratives that always left us wanting for more — more books.
When I was younger, I used to keep a list of the books I had read and the ones that I wanted to read next. With every passing day, both lists grew longer and longer. I even memorized my library password to keep checking out more books. I would drag my weary mother every week to the library and walk back to the car with novels stacked up to my chin. It would only be a few days before I would come back to my mom with doe eyes asking to go back since I had finished the books we had just checked out.
But something changed — high school happened. I tried to keep up my reading habits. I tried to maintain my routine of coming home from school and reading before going to bed. But high school was too much. I quickly realized that I had to rearrange my priorities. This wasn’t going to be like middle school where we could choose which books we wanted to read. Here, we would have to read long and drab novels written centuries ago and analyze every nitty gritty detail.
Little by little, my devotion to reading withered away. The books on my shelf began collecting dust as I spent more time sitting in front of my laptop. Extracurriculars and AP classes ate away at all my time. Even though I wanted to read more than anything else, it became a matter of choosing between keeping up with school or “wasting time” by reading. Any precious free time I had left went towards resting since I didn’t even have the brain power to read. Summer and winter breaks were scams — schools made sure that we had lots of assignments and required readings to take up the free time we were supposed to have.
On top of that, the mandatory literature for school disillusioned my perceptions toward reading. We were taught to analyze with a singular perspective or else we would be marked off for disagreeing with the teacher’s ideas. Reading became a chore and a hassle that I grew to dread. More often than not, I would resign to studying the SparkNotes for our assigned reading and only say what I knew my teacher wanted to hear.
Now that I’m in college, I’m saddened by my current relationship with reading. Reading is a hobby that can bring such serenity and comfort. It had served as my escape and provided me with unique perspectives from a multitude of worlds, as each narrative offered its own special moral message that I could take away and apply to my own reality. But for myself and many others, high school has simply torn away the joy in reading. We’re only left with guilt for not reading for pleasure anymore. Some of us even feel obligated to read more “adult” books instead of picking up where we left off, even though deep down we may want to return to our comfort books.
So how do we fall back in love with reading? How can I sit back down during this two-month long winter break and restore my faith in literature? It’s not easy to turn the habit of binging “Parks and Recreation” for hours into binging novels by Cassandra Clare. I think it would be best to physically set my laptop and phone into a different room and get so comfortable in bed with a book that I won’t want to get out. Once I do that, I should be entrapped by the story I read, snuggled by the weighted blankets around me.
Another method we could employ is to start out with some simple, comfort books. We don’t have to tire ourselves out by searching endlessly for a completely new book or series that’s “mature enough.” You can never go wrong with brushing up on Marie Lu’s “The Young Elites” or the “Legend” series. Maybe you crave for the classic teen drama in John Green’s “Paper Towns” and “Looking for Alaska.” Revisit the epic sci-fi story in “The Lorien Legacies” series or get spooky with Ransom Riggs’ “Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.” Rediscover your inner bookworm through literature that makes you feel good.
I think it will be a difficult task, for sure. It will take a substantial amount of self-discipline and commitment. But in the end, I know it will be fulfilling and meaningful. And that’s what drives me — meaningful ventures.
Books provide a unique kind of solace like no other, and I fully intend to fall back in love with the art of reading.
Cecy Juárez is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at email@example.com