A Fall Reading Regimen for the Non-Reader

While I don't consider myself a Bibliophobe, or someone who hates reading, I think it is safe to say that many people have anxiety when it comes to opening the cover of a book and investing all of their time into a story they know nothing about. My averseness to reading started at a young age, filled with timed reading tests and rhetorical analyses. I dreaded it. There is a true saying that as you grow older, you grow out of bad habits and distastes. I feel like I've now come to appreciate the wonders of a new book, finding escapism through different worlds and new narratives to become immersed in. 

Living with English professors and writers did me justice, but I think the noise and constant tremor of the internet has lead me to other things outside of social media rhetoric and into new worlds I discover in books. As someone who was a non-reader before, I have found a couple handy ways to reassess this distaste for reading and a motivation to find books I actually like reading, as well. 
Finding a Book...

This can be probably one of the hardest steps to finding a good book and to start liking to read again. Books we read in school were forced upon us with a strict list of classics and not much room to explore multiple genres beyond Charles Dickens or F. Scott Fitzgerald. Walking into a library alone can seem intimidating and now that we can't go into libraries as we used to at our own leisure, finding books now can seem even more tedious. 

For someone like me who likes mixed genres or doesn't exactly know the exact type of book they like, the stress of finding the "perfect" book to read can seem daunting. However, I confided in a book club to help me start my genre discovery. I have Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine bookclub to thank for that. I know what you're thinking, Natalie, there are SO many other great types of books out there! And I hear you, but this is what has worked for me and I've come to love the variety of authors and genres I've read so far. Reading is a unique journey for everybody, so be open to discovering book recommendations from other people who might be interested in the same topics you are. 

Avoid Decision Fatigue...
Much like finding a book, choosing the book can be a much more stressful and exhausting idea. But to put it simply—it doesn't matter which book you choose as long as you read it. Don't go to Barnes and Noble, go to understocked book stores or smaller libraries so that you're not bombarded. 

Making a decision on what book to read can be so draining, and I've been there. You can also subscribe to reading lists, book subscriptions, or find a Little Free Library around your neighborhood to make the choice a lot more easier.

Make Reading Time a Part of Your Time...
So many people I know say they want to start reading again, but that "there's not enough time" to dedicate to it. I think it's BS because all of that time spent on our phones—which is an average of 12 hours and 9 minutes per day—could be spared to sit down and digest a couple chapters of a book. Focus is a muscle and the desire for easy entertainment is like a craving for junk food. Rather than binge watching Netflix, it will feel a lot more gratifying to recount books you've read and actively consume something more worthwhile to your mental rigor than Tik Tok videos late at night. 

I try to start reading at least an hour or so before I go to bed. That way, my eyes are not strained by blue light and reading will naturally help me fall asleep. Plus, you'll be able to remember what you read when you wake up since it will be fresh on your mind. If you can dedicate a separate time for reading, when you are most motivated and have the most focus, it's definitely a more suitable entertainment option. Plus, it drowns out the noise of social media. 
It's easy to forget that reading is a privilege not an obligation. We are not forced to read anything, and school has definitely stripped away our enjoyment of reading—no 12 year old should have to read Shakespeare. We are so lucky to have access to millions of new perspectives, ideas, and stories in our history. Oscar Wilde said it best: It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.

Books can be as easily accessible as you make them to be, nothing is beyond your reach. I love that books can allow me to travel through time, learn from remarkable people, and discover complex topics that challenge me and alter my way of thinking. It will only be a matter of time when going a day without reading will be unfathomable, so why wait?

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