A few years ago, when my son learned to read well enough to read chapter books on his own, he made a startling revelation to me.
“Mommy, when I read a book, it’s like watching a movie in my head,” he told me.
That’s a proud parent moment right there. Notice I said parent and not parenting. I didn’t teach him that. I didn’t plant that idea. That’s something he discovered all on his own. And it corresponds to my notion that some people are just innate readers.
Growing up, I’d find myself reading whatever I could get my hands on: books from our latest yard sale run, Mad magazine from my brother’s secret stash, a random Reader’s Digest laying around, or even the back of the cereal box. It was like I needed to keep mentally stimulated at all times.
Admittedly, as we get older, we often stop reading for pleasure. Tell me if one of these excuses rings true for you.
- I don’t have the time. (the oldest excuse in the book)
- I read so much for work that I don’t get pleasure in reading for fun.
- I’m a mom. I don’t read anything unless it comes in a board book version.
How about my personal excuse: Technology steals my joy for consuming content.
All day long, I’m on the computer reading Twitter updates and Facebook posts and sometimes if I read on more thing, I feel like I’ll scream.
But there is a way. There are several ways actually that you can rediscover the joy of reading despite all of the excuses above.
Buy a Kindle.
I can hear you already. I only like to read real books that I can feel in my hands. That’s fine if you’re actually reading. If not, here’s why I like the Kindle. I actually have the Kindle Touch which they no longer make but this is the closest substitution.
This particular Kindle is easy on your eyes with a touchscreen display that reads like real paper. And you get absolutely no screen glare, even in bright sunlight. And, believe it or not, it’s lighter than a paperback and the charge lasts for weeks.
So how does this make time for you to read? It’s light enough to carry with you so you can pull it out of your bag wherever and whenever you have time to kill.
Obviously you need to complete the first task before you can take advantage of this one. Did you know there are tons of free electronic books out there? And not just the crappy ones that no one has ever heard of.
With an Amazon Prime membership, you have access to thousands of books in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. I’ve been a Kindle owner and Amazon Prime member for years and just found out about this last week when I was checking out a page turner that a friend recommended. I logged in and saw I could “borrow” it for free! You can do this once per month and keep the e-book for up to 30 days.
And if that doesn’t work for you, many libraries have e-book lending programs. I hear the good books are usually on a waitlist but my friends consistently do this. I haven’t figured it out yet but then again, I haven’t tried.
This way, if you don’t end up reading what you started, you don’t have wasted money and space being taken up by books that would otherwise collect dust.
Download the Kindle app on your phone.
Okay, now I’m getting crazy. Who wants to read a book on their phone? Trust me, I don’t. But I also don’t like to spend my wasted time on timewasters.
Example: You’re sitting at the dentist office waiting for your child to get his teeth cleaned. Yes, you could check email and Facebook 1000 times. Or work on that next level of Candy Crush. Or you can play catch up on that book you started.
Wait! You left your Kindle at home. No worries. The e-books sync across all your e-reading devices. If you have a Kindle, then you can sync your progress to your Kindle app. Pick up where you left off without a moment’s hesitation.
Before you know it, you’ll end up reading an entire book on your phone. It’s not ideal but remember I’m the type that would read the back of a cereal box if I had to.
Listen to your books instead of reading them.
Some people think it’s cheating somehow. That if you listened to a book, you didn’t actually read it. While that is technically true, you are consuming the exact text as anyone that reads the book. They do it visually. You do it audibly.
I’m a huge fan of audiobooks from Audible. In fact, there are some books that have been narrated so well that I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed it as much if I had just read it. And there are some where the audiobook is superior to the movie, even! (The Help and The Book Thief are two examples that come to mind).
I listen in the car whether it’s a 10 minute ride to the grocery store, a long drive into DC, or just killing time at the bus stop. I’ve even been known to listen while mowing the lawn, folding laundry, or painting a bedroom.
For the record, I always have at least one book that I’m listening to and one that I’m reading. There is also a feature that you can purchase through Amazon where you can co-mingle reading and listening the same book. I’ve tried it once with mild success but the option is there.
Join a book club.
Maybe you don’t want to hang out with people you don’t know well. Or maybe you don’t like talking about the books you’re reading (it can be a very personal experience). But here’s why I recommend joining one anyway.
Like a good student, I like to get my assignments done on time. If my assignment is to read this book by the end of this month, I feel on the hook to do it. I need that deadline and I also need someone to tell me what to read.
I’ve been going faithfully to my neighborhood book club for over three years now and it has made me rediscover my love of reading. The stories, whether read or listened to, give me a retreat from my every day life. It allows me to dream and inspires me in so many ways.
Whether it’s renewing my love of hiking (thank you, Wild) or giving me pause about using the term Nazi (thank you, The Nightingale) or make me long to visit the seaside town of Cornwall, England (thank you, The Lake House), it’s broadening my horizons even if I never get to leave the house.
How do you make time to read? How do you choose your stories? What’s your preferred format for reading? And lastly, share a good book with me!
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