For months now I have wanted to write about a new passion of mine… Reading. Sometime around July or August, I can’t remember which, I stumbled upon a video that helped change my perspective on how much easier it would be for me to read more books. For as long as I can remember I’ve loved books.. The smell, the texture, the color the pages turn after x amount of time, the feeling of accomplishment that comes from finishing one, the knowledge gained, and so much more. Every once in a while my brain will rush back to one of my oldest memories of reading… It only happens when I smell a certain scent of a novel and although I can’t describe the smell, the memory is very special. When I’m lucky enough to be randomly transported to this moment in my life I am brought back to the summer before 4th grade. I’m in the front lawn, stomach first on a towel laying in the sun, and I just got back from spending the little money I had received from birthdays and however else 8 year-old me obtained money. I’m starting The Prisoner of Azkaban (my favorite Harry Potter book) and the feeling of reading in this moment ignites my mind and imagination. The sun is on my back, the smell of whatever paper Scholastic used is filling my nose, Aunt Marge is floating through the London sky, and life is good.
I am sure I am not alone in having an appreciation for books. The “aesthetic” of books is enough for most people to be attracted to them, enough to spend money on them even if we don’t end up reading them. For years I’ve always had the best of intentions to read these “Best Sellers” and other books recommended to me by friends, etc. Sometimes even just obtaining them made me think I was smarter or better for just having these “good books” on my shelf or in my bag. Of the many books I would buy in a year I would only get through a couple of them (if that) and in the back of my mind I would constantly be shameful for not fulfilling my intentions of reading them. I would get distracted by other content or by the next great book. I was trapped in a cyclical cycle of buying a book, starting it, spending my precious time with other things, forgetting about that book, rinse and repeat.
Last year I spent a lot of energy focusing on organizing my time and my intentions, learning the importance of habits and how they can change your life. Stationary has helped me a lot with this (putting aside that the hobby allows me obsess over the tiniest of details)… I watched the video I mentioned above at a moment in time where I was ready to take the many lessons I was learning and start applying them deeper into my life. For better or for worse, YouTube’s algorithm placed this video, “BOOKSTORES: How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content” in my ‘Recommended’ feed. The clickbait-y capitalization caught my eye and on this random summer lunch break I went for it. I have no idea who Max Joseph is or what any of his other videos are about but this video completely changed my perspective on how easy it is to read, to actually commit to starting and finishing a book, and enjoying it. The transformative moment for me while watching this video happened when one of the bookstore owners mentions (9:40-10:30) that they read for 1-2 hours a day and because of that they are able to read 50-60 books a year! Before I could even finished the video I was already starting to think about the moments in my day I could fill with pockets of reading instead of just looking at my phone “because”.
For a long time most of my excuses have been, “I’m a student, I don’t have any time to read anything but my school books”…“There isn’t enough time for me in the day to read any books”… You get the idea. I was lying to myself and if I really wanted to fill my mind with good books, all I needed to do was prioritize my time. The story in the video did a really good job illustrating how reading just 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference in the amount of books I could finish. There is always time to read.
Since the summer of 2019 I have put my best foot forward in trying to read every single day. I have read some truly wonderful books, my mind has been enlightened, I have found a healthy and positive escape, and I’ve spent less time wandering aimlessly on my pocket computer. If you are someone who is itching to read more I invite you on this journey with me. One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give is, do not compare yourself to others. If your goal is to read 5 minutes or just 1 page a day, do that. Don’t look at others, or myself, and think about the number of books you are reading, comparatively. If you do that, you will get stuck in the same cycle I did. You will buy a bunch of books thinking about all the wonderful novels or literature you are going to finish to then get overwhelmed and not have developed the skills to practice reading every, single, day. Start small. Train your brain to read whatever amount you feel is a good start, each day, and then do just that. Over time you will realize that it becomes a part of who you are. If you are worried about spending less time watching movies, or the latest shows, or missing out on feeds, I can assure you that you will still find time to do that. My experience has been that those moments of consumption are more meaningful because of the intention I give them. I love the arts and have a tremendous appreciation for film and television. But I have also found a renewed joy and admiration for the medium of books.
I used to be an “aficionado” on books I had never read, and now I can honestly call myself a reader, and it feels so damn good.
If any of you are interested in what I’m reading, feel free to follow me on Goodreads.