In grade school, high school and college, we’re forced to read a lot of books (and many of them were not volumes we probably wouldn’t have picked out on your own–given the choice. So, it’s probably not surprising that we all get a little burnt out on reading. It begins to feel like a chore; and, for some, it almost feels like all-out torture.

So, how do you find the motivation to read when it doesn’t feel like fun any more? How do you inspire yourself? How do you let the pages of a book feel like old friends again?

  1. Use technology! Listen to an audiobook or read an ebook. Don’t let yourself think of it as required, forced, or difficult. Just listen to the story, or browse through the book on your preferred device.
  2. Read with friends! Whether you join a book club, or get together with friends to discuss books, make it a community activity. The social part of it allows you to share your favorite genre with your friends, without fear or annoyance.
  3. Read aloud, with kids or loved ones. It’s fun to read children’s books, but we often don’t allow ourselves to enjoy them (unless we have kids in our lives to read with). This exercise is also a great learning experience for your children. And, of course, you don’t have to be a parent (or be in a relationship) to enjoy the shared reading experience. Volunteer for a reading program or read with a friend.
  4. Read what you enjoy. You don’t have to read that Great American Novel, or a classic. Just think back to the last book that you enjoyed. Was it a book of poetry? Short stories? Was it the Harry Potter series? Get back to those works that you’ve enjoyed in the past. You’ll likely find that you still enjoy them. You need to pick them up and start reading!
  5. Find a browser’s paradise! Sometimes you need to read a few pages (or even a few chapters) before you know if you can really “get into” that book. And, it’s sometimes difficult to justify spending the time and money on a book that you don’t know whether you’ll enjoy. Instead of buying your book online–and just guessing by a postage-stamp sized graphic–go to a library or bookstore, preferably one where you’re allowed to spend some time in a comfortable chair and determine whether you’re intrigued by the plot and characters. Just think, is this a book that you can live with (sitting up on your shelf for years to come)! Remember, you can still go back and purchase the ebook (if that’s the format you prefer) after you’ve “test-driven” the volume for a little piece of time.

There are so many ways to meander our way back into reading. Don’t feel guilty about the process. Just allow yourself the time (and the space) to rediscover what you really loved about reading books. Get back to that book-geek self that we all know is in there…

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