Person reading books with tea and flowers. Image from Unsplash.com.
For most of my life, reading was always an on-and-off hobby. I remember reading non-stop throughout my childhood and going to the library every few weeks to pick out new books while participating in summer book games for stamps and prizes. I remember loving fiction, fantasy, and any young adult novels. However, back in middle and high school, like all students, I was assigned specific books in my English courses for reading, writing, and analyzing. There were not any specific problems with the books, but deadlines for finishing chapters and critical thinking prompts quickly became a chore rather than a pleasure. I told myself reading was no longer fun for me, and I’d rather just watch a movie. I actually hated reading. Now, diving into my final year of college, I’m slowly picking up my once-lost passion again, and I couldn’t be more excited.
During my sophomore year in college, my business communications professor loved to recommend career and motivational books, but she specifically emphasized that reading anything, in general, should be for pleasure. I guess you could say this was what started to spark a slight interest in me again to read. I bought a few of her recommendations, but I still couldn’t find myself to finish them; I got incredibly bored and frustrated with myself for not knowing where the demotivation came from. I thought, “this book is going to help me in my future career and life. Surely I will like this, right?”. Nope. I realized mindset is everything. Over the summer, I reconnected with a good friend of mine who absolutely loved to read. I loved hearing her talk about the new books she finished and what she was eager to pick up next. Her passion for reading exuded in the way she talked about all the different characters from the books or the author. Deep down, I really wanted to enjoy reading again, so I asked her how she does it. How does she continue to find books and read them multiple times a month? Is it not expensive? She explained that she uses two specific mobile apps to keep up with her reading. Those two apps, her advice and my own new experiences have shifted my entire mindset. I’ve learned to choose books I knew I would like and keep up a steady pace in my new book journey. In just a month and a half, I have read six books with one currently in progress and thirteen others that I want to read. If you are hoping to re-spark that interest in reading, I hope these resources can help you find that motivation again as they did to me.
Libby & Kindle:
These two apps are entirely personal preferences, but I have found it so easy to start reading a book again (digitally!). Instead of spending hundreds of dollars buying books, rent them!! Libby is a library app where you can browse through thousands of books from your local library. Simply register and add your library card to Libby and browse away. You can opt to read directly on Libby, but I like to use Amazon’s Kindle app. Both apps work seamlessly together, and I have never had any issues.
Of course, many still love to physically hold and turn the pages of a book, so that is the downside to reading digitally. Visit your local library and easily rent from there. You are also more than welcome to purchase your books if you would like to directly annotate or highlight quotes; I do this with books I know I would reread over and over! Do what fits you.
The library reading app, Libby. Images from Google.com and created on Canva.com by Janice Lee.
Some think that reading is a solo hobby. After this past summer, I think it’s the total opposite. Much like Yelp Some think that reading is a solo hobby. After this past summer, I think it’s the total opposite. Much like Yelp is for food spots or Letterboxd is for movies, Goodreads is for books. Goodreads is a popular book review app where you can rate and review books, see what your friends are reading, and keep track of the books you’ve read or want to read. I love using this app to find new books, and I also find it extremely helpful in keeping track of my reading. There’s a special kind of comfort in community-based platforms. Reading reviews and interacting with other book lovers has been incredibly motivating. Goodreads has helped me rediscover my love of reading, and I continue to find so many new books I’m dying to have my hands on.
The book review app, Goodreads. Images from Google.com and created on Canva.com by Janice Lee
YouTube & TikTok:
These two social media apps are great for keeping up with book trends and helping you realize if a book is for you or not. As a visual learner and someone who loves to watch videos and movies in general, YouTube and TikTok give you book recommendations from other readers. There are many book creators on YouTube, such as my personal favorite, Haley Pham, who gives her subscribers book recommendations monthly, by genre, or whatever she currently has her hands on. I especially like to follow her since she is a huge fan of romance and young adult books. Watching her videos makes reading look so fun, and she is also on Goodreads where fans can follow her and keep up with her live tracker.
From “let’s talk about the books I read in October!” by Haley Pham. Image from YouTube.com.
I have also been starting to have the popular #Booktok videos pop up on my “for you page” on TikTok. These videos are short, sweet, and are the perfect place for you to find what book is currently popular. With every new book, before I start reading, I like to scroll through TikToks of the specific book to “hype” myself up and see if I am in the mood to read it. With how addictive TikTok can be, it definitely does the trick in keeping me motivated.
Overall, know what you love to read and start to read those books that excite you. Once you start getting in the swing of things, the books that you once found difficult to read may become easier. Experiment with new genres and see what others are reading. Share your thoughts with friends! Reading helps with communication, reduces stress, and improves your memory and focus. I fell back in love with reading – and all it took was one book.
What books have you been wanting to read lately? Let us know by tagging us on Instagram, @HerCampusSJSU! Until then, I’ll be curled up in bed with one!