Conor McCarthy gives his advice for those looking to get back into book
For many of us, starting university signalled the end of our ‘reading for pleasure’ lives. We might offer excuses of being tired, lazy, or bored of staring at words on a white page.
Granted, in most cases being at university requires a hell of a lot of reading. But reading for pleasure is an entirely different activity, it induces emotion (not that your thesis on quantum physics doesn’t make you cry), it inspires creativity, it allows us to explore the impossible and relish in the everyday.
Recently I have started reading again every evening, and not only do I enjoy what I read, but I feel much better for reading it. Reading is a skill, and one you get better at with time. But reading for fun can be so important to your state of mind and can have massive influences on the development of your personality. We all know that starting and getting into a book can be the hardest thing, so I’ve compiled a top five tips list to help you get back into reading.
It may seem like cheating, but that’s okay, it’s still a book! If you can’t bring yourself to start reading a book after a long day at the library, audiobooks can provide relaxing downtime and a well-earned rest from looking at words all day. Audiobooks are also incredibly handy; many sites allow you to download versions of the book so that you can take them anywhere, the gym, on the bus, the library…
They’re also increasingly available and cheap in price. But if you really don’t want to fork out, audible offers a 30-day free trial in which you have one credit for any book. There are also shed-loads of sites that offer free (legal) downloads of published and unpublished books covering all topics and genres, start off by having a browse in the Manchester libraries website.
2. Reread your favourite book
Honestly, there’s nothing better than revisiting one of your much-loved books. Whether it’s a psychological thriller you adored in your late teens or the first Harry Potter book that you read with your mum, rereading a personal classic can set you on the road to rekindling your love for literature.
3. Branch out
Perhaps you tried reading a book from what used to be your favourite author but you didn’t enjoy it. That’s fine. It’s totally natural that our literary taste buds should change over time. So grab something different, move out of your comfort zone. Chat with a friend or a stranger about what excites them. Head to the English literature section of the library and pick out a romantic poet, grab a copy of Das Kapital or be enveloped by a graphic novel. The beauty of the written word is that it takes such infinite forms!
4. Hit up the YA section!
Okay, maybe Marx was a bit much for ‘light reading’. Change of plan. Young adult fiction has given us some of the greatest writers of all time. From fantastical stories, like those from Tolkien and Philip Pullman, to classic ‘coming of age’ tales like The Catcher in the Rye or To Kill a Mockingbird, the YA genre has it all.
Often YA novels require significantly less active reading from the reader. Not that YA books can’t be challenging and reflect important strains in our society, but that they are often written in such an engrossing way that allows the reader to leap into new worlds and (for the most part) forget about the problems in ours. A useful tool if you find university pressures muddling your mind.
5. Go to your local Library
Your local library is there for a reason…to be used! Government funding for libraries has seen a dramatic decline, with many councils off laying libraries to be run by local communities. Take advantage of them while they are still around and still free! There’s no rush to finish books as you can often renew outstanding items.
Manchester City Council offers an online service so if there’s a particular book you’re after, you can search and reserve it without stepping out the door. If you just fancy a browse the central library in town has a massive collection of all genres, you’d be surprised what you can find.
So there you have it, your top tips guide to rekindling that lost love of books.