Reviving My Love of Reading
After studying for the whole of your life, once you’ve graduated, regardless of your discipline, reading feels like a chore. As an English Literature and Creative Writing graduate, I wanted to do nothing more than to never pick up a book again.
I spent much of my uni life feeling inadequate because I don’t enjoy the classics. Feeling stupid because I hadn’t heard of the canon. Feeling disheartened because I couldn’t read at the same speed as everyone else. It led me to spending the whole 3 years without a book that I read for pleasure, which was the first time in my life that that had ever happened.
As a child, I was always looking for the next book to read. For an author to take me on my next greatest adventure. Falling in love with reading is an absolute gift. Falling out of love with it was joyless.
Falling Out of Love
In my first year, I felt determined to keep up with the reading for my course. But as deadlines drew closer and books got longer it seemed almost impossible to keep up. There wasn’t a book on the list that I felt spoke to me as a young woman in the 21st century. I didn’t fall in love with the characters or appreciate the language. I just felt bored. It was the first time (other than when I attempted Wuthering Heights as a teenager) that I felt lost and that maybe I’d got it wrong. Maybe reading wasn’t for me.
I’ve always loved the aesthetics of reading too. I fit the trope of quiet, uncool girl with glasses who’s always got her nose in a book. So when that melted away, I was left in a state of confusion. Maybe I’d chosen the wrong degree. The wrong career. Plus my life was falling apart elsewhere too so reading didn’t take priority.
I became very detached and withdrawn throughout my university days. Regardless of reading, I found instant pleasure in things I’d never experienced before. Nights out. Boys. Alcohol. So my degree became a bit of a backseat anyway. And the books had been completely lost by graduation.
Finding Love Again
So how did I go from forgetting to finding? The honest answer is: commuting. I found myself a job in London and the tube journey was almost an hour to work, most of it being underground. So where I would usually just sit and listen to music, I decided to pick up a book and it went from there.
Once I found that actually, I was quite good at reading and I enjoyed it, I became more confident. I posted reviews, created a bookstagram and started connecting with other book lovers. Finally I felt as though I was rekindling my love of the written word. Just in time too as I was about to start teaching English.
One of the reasons I chose to teach secondary English is this thought that occurred to me: no one had ever told me that reading is personal. You don’t have to pick books that you think everyone expects you to read. You don’t have to pick books that are from the canon if you don’t want to. If you want to read YA for the rest of your life, DO IT. I wanted to be the person who encouraged reading not the person who only encouraged reading certain books.
Finding My Feet
So I’m back! I feel as though I’ve finally found my love of reading again. My obsession with it comes and goes, but the pure joy books bring will never leave my heart.
Although this blog is about things that I’m learning in my twenties, I definitely think books are going to become a regular feature because I find books and the hobby of reading, collecting and networking heart warming. I don’t think there’s another hobby out there as wholesome as reading. It’s just you and another world. What’s not to love?
It might sound trivial but reading is so important. It’s the key to imagination, to adventure, to freedom. If you don’t like reading it’s because you haven’t found the right book yet and that’s a promise.