When I was younger, I would go through one book a week. Sometimes, I would have two books lined up so whenever I finished the first one, I would have another one ready to be read. That love for reading slowly died down as my life picked up and I became busier with school, friends and responsibilities. 

Entering college, I couldn’t remember the last time I read a book for my own pleasure. However, that desire to be consumed by a novel and let the words transport me to another world continued to reside deeply within myself. I was at a loss because I wanted to read more books, but I didn’t know where to start. I felt like I was too old to be reading the books I read as a child, but the books I deemed “mature” and “adult” just seemed boring to me. 

Then I realized that reading books doesn’t have to feel like a chore. If I wanted to get back into reading, I would have to read books that I enjoyed reading as a child and work my way up from there. So let me offer some advice if you are in the same boat as I was:

  • Read something that you enjoy and want to read. It doesn’t have to be a Pulitzer prize winning novel with complex language and metaphors. If you want to read a fantasy novel with intricate world building or a summer romance story, you can, and you should because that is how you will regain your love for reading. 
  • Don’t beat yourself up over how long it takes you to finish a book. Your life is much busier than when you were a child, and any progress you make towards finishing a book is good progress. 
  • Reading should not feel like a task to complete; read for pleasure. You have plenty of dry, dense textbooks to read, so choose books that are enjoyable to you. 

Truly, to begin reading again, re-read the books you loved reading as a child. Then, figure out what you loved about those books and find new ones that fit those categories. Until then, here’s a list of books ranging from fiction to self-help that might help you get out of your reading funk. 

For Fiction Lovers: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

This is a crime story like none other. The opening line: “The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation” prepares you for a mysterious, dark and twisted story. 

The novel follows the story of a group of students who push the boundaries of morality when they murder one of their classmates while attending Hampden College, a small, elite liberal arts school in Vermont. The novel takes imposter syndrome to the next level and handles themes of isolation, peer pressure, social class and morality. 

It is dark and intriguing and will definitely pique your interest into the world of reading once again. 

Self-Discovery: Untamed by Glennon Doyle

If you open the front flap of this memoir you will immediately see, in bold words “THIS IS HOW YOU FIND YOURSELF” – and it’s true. Glennon Doyle expertly pokes into the carefully constructed facade we each put up and exposes our deeply buried feelings of discontent, longing and overall understanding that this can’t be it for life. 

Her prose is beautifully written, and she is brutally honest. She doesn’t sugarcoat the nuances of life but instead allows the reader to sit in the pain of life and hold onto beautiful moments as they enter existence. 

Reading Untamed feels like you’re having a conversation with a close friend. Doyle brings humor and romance into her stories and ends with a punch to the gut as you realize that you have the power to live the “truest and most beautiful” version of your life. 

If you feel stuck in relationships, jobs, friendships or life in general, read Untamed and allow yourself to be humbled only so you can discover yourself once again. 

Productivity: Atomic Habits by James Clear

James Clear is a world leader on habit formation and expertly details how to form good habits and alter your system to live your best, productive life. 

He outlines four laws of behavioral change that are rules to help you form better habits: 

  1. Make it obvious 
  2. Make it attractive 
  3. Make it easy 
  4. Make it satisfying 

This book gives you a straightforward, attainable guide to forming and maintaining good habits. If you feel at a loss in your life with low motivation, take small steps towards achieving your goals. Clear’s advice and techniques are based in scientific principles and will leave you with a better understanding of how you can change your system and develop better habits. 

Fiction Again – Because Why Not? House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

The point of this list is to provide you with books that will help you rediscover your love for reading. I would be remiss not to suggest a book that connects to the nostalgic, fantasy driven novels we read as children. House of Earth and Blood is – in my opinion – the perfect intermediate book linking childhood books and this new era of reading we are entering. 

It contains the iconic world building setting with mythical creatures and a character-driven, fast paced plot. With a little bit of romance sprinkled throughout, this novel will remind you why you loved reading in the first place. It doesn’t dumb down some of the concepts like young adult books seemed to do, and Maas expertly navigates the balance between fantasy and reality. 

Final Thoughts

Reading for pleasure is supposed to be just that – pleasure. Whether you want to be transported to another reality and forget about yours for a brief moment or you want to learn valuable life skills to make yourself a well-rounded individual, reading can help you achieve those goals. 

With the fast-paced nature of our lives and social media impacting our attention spans, being able to sit down and read a book is crucial for our own well-being.