This is how I turned from not picking up a book for fun in 6 years, to reading 1 book per month. If you’re looking to start reading, or get back into reading after a (very long) hiatus, this is for you!
Why did I stop reading?
I absolutely adore the idea of reading – I’ll collect recommendations from friends (and TikTok), flick endlessly through the bookshelves of a charity shop, and then collect more books than I’d care to admit. This collection of books has grown significantly over the years, but my list of “have read books” has sady not seen the same growth.
Let me explain why. As much as I love the idea of reading, I always struggled to find time to pick up a book and fully commit. I blamed this on being in full-time education: “I have too much homework”, “I’ve got to revise”, and “I need a nap” were battles that always won against “Why not read?”.
The truth is, after looking at books and screens all day, I didn’t want to pick up something else that I had to look at and invest a lot of energy in. The strange thing is that I never felt the same about when I would spend a whole evening on my phone, watching TV, or playing games on my Nintendo Switch (oops).
So, after graduating from university in June 2020, I told myself that I’d get back into it. However, months later, I hadn’t even finished a book (despite starting a few)! So as New Year’s Day 2021 came knocking, I set myself a challenge to read 1 book per month.
Why did I want to start reading again?
I love hearing new stories, growing along with characters, and exploring the lives of other people. Whether you’re more into fiction or non-fiction, reading is a great way to learn new things and challenge your thought process when presented with new scenarios or information.
Also, reading is a great way to spend your time. Having spent WAY too much time on my phone, I wanted to get into something I can both enjoy, but that will also help me to develop as a well-rounded person.
Reading also allows a great escape from reality and forces you to be present in the book to pay attention in what’s happening.
It was no good to say I was going to do something – I needed something physical to keep track of books I’d like to read, and books I have (hopefully) read.
I downloaded an app I’d heard about called Goodreads. The app is somewhat clumsy, but using it mean that I didn’t spend hours trying to update my ‘profile’ or make anything look pretty. It was a place where I could store my wishlist, as well as books I have read, and am currently reading.
When you’re reading a book, you can update your progress on Goodreads by inserting your page number. The app automatically gives you a reading %, which definitely helped me stay motivated. You can also see recommendations and reviews from other people, as well as explore books you may like based on your interests and previous reads.
My favourite books (read in 2021) so far
1) The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was unlike any book that I have read before. The story focuses on Hollywood icon, Evelyn Hugo, who is finally telling the truth about her life. She calls upon an unknown magazine reporter called Monique to help her write her biography – but why now? Why Monique? Throughout the novel, we find out the truth about Evelyn’s turbulent life in showbiz which was exasperated by her 7 ex-husbands, and her forbidden lover.
2) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus was a wonderfully magical ride through the tale of The Night Circus, and all the people in it. I’m not really into fantasy, but it’s the best term that I can use to describe the book without giving too much away. The book includes a love story, but is not a romance. It also includes a lot of mystery. This books strength is of course the story, but also the incredible description within it that allow you to imagine the most exquisite scenes and characters.
3) Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given
Women Don’t Owe You Pretty is a non-fiction entry-level book about feminism and self-love. The book is grossly relatable to everyone – you don’t have to identify as a woman to read this book! It is enjoyable and funny to read, but will also call you out.