As a child, being read to was my favorite pre-bedtime activity. As I got older, reading became a stressor as I was forced to read books for school. Oftentimes, they were books I didn’t like much, so it was hard to pick them up and finish them in a timely manner. Although I loved (and still love) learning new words, reading was definitely not my hobby of choice.
In high school, my best friend and I discovered that we could get free books on our iPods, so we started exploring that together. We began to read books that were romantic and fun and I found myself getting hooked. Though, I still felt like I had to read faster in order to keep up with my friend who was really blazing through the books. There was still a sense of pressure attached to the hobby.
Once I entered college, there was only one book that tickled my fancy… The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. Given to me by a friend, it was a super engaging fiction book about a danger-filled quest for knowledge, wisdom, and enlightenment… a quest that I was on in real life (minus all the danger). I got to pass that book along to all of my best friends, who loved it as well, and we shared our love for the book with each other. It was very special to us.
Throughout college, as you know, I had to do a ton of reading for my classes. Of course, much of it was boring and difficult for me to stay engaged with. I often didn’t finish reading assignments or found myself not absorbing any of the information. One of my professor’s literally forced us to read The Wall Street Journal in its entirety each night for homework. Excuse me, but who has time for that?! Not me!
I had totally forgotten that deep down, I did enjoy reading certain novels. I had developed this story that stuck with me that said: I hate reading, I’m a slow reader, and I’d much rather watch or listen to a story. I held onto this story for a while…
After college, once I had more free time, I tried to pick up books again. Though, I realize now that I was trying to read books that I saw others reading and recommending. Self-help books, spiritual books, and overall dense books that were often non-fiction. Don’t get me wrong, those books are great, but they weren’t books that kept me engaged and driven to finish them. Life is dense… when I read, I want to indulge in books that are fun, mysterious, and filled with love and excitement.
On my 25th birthday, just two weeks ago, I found myself in the book section of my local Target. I read the descriptions and reviews of probably 75% of the fiction books on the shelf until I could walk away with one that I was confident I would like. Yes, I’m picky… but the deliberation was worth it. I brought home Lana’s War by Anita Abriel, a novel that’s set in German-occupied France in the 1940s. Lana, the main character who happens to be my age, hesitantly moves to the French Riviera and becomes a spy for the French Resistance after she sees her husband get shot by the Nazis and subsequently miscarries.
Wow. I have fallen in love with reading again. Over the past two weeks, I felt called to pick up this book almost every day, on my own time. It’s meditative, it’s cozy, and it keeps me away from staring at a screen for entertainment. Reading is no longer a stressful activity that has a deadline attached to it. There are no strings attached, no pressure. Lana’s War kept me on my toes and kept me coming back for more. It’s filled with excitement, mystery, romance, history, and new words to learn. I finished it last night and I already can’t wait to pick up another novel.
Who knows how my relationship to reading will evolve in the future, but right now, I’m content.
What is your relationship to reading? Are you an avid reader? Do you dislike reading? Leave your answer and your favorite book(s) in the comments!
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