Reading two books a week plus critical essays means that English students rarely have time for that elusive thing: reading for pleasure. However, when the holidays roll around, or there is a lull in the reading list, I have found that there is nothing I want to do less than read, despite having picked my university course based on my love of books. If you find yourself in a similar situation, read on for advice to hopefully kick start your love of literature.
It’s not very likely that any of your modules allow you to read much non-fiction, aside from critical essays, so reading around a subject that interests you could be a way to get you back into the pattern of reading. At university you often find yourself not having time for interests that you may have had earlier, and for subjects that you took at A-Level, and when you’re not in the mood to read from your reading lists, it’s the perfect time to pick up those interests that you haven’t had time for.
For a lot of people, their love of reading can be traced back to particular books that they enjoyed as a child, so perhaps to rekindle that love we must return to a time of innocence. As long as you pick a book that isn’t so simplistic and full of pictures that it will drive you crazy, returning to a book that you loved as a child is a good way to remind yourself why you love reading so much. Perhaps pick a book from your early teenage years, or just before, and immerse yourself in the first books that really spoke to you.
Beyond the Reading List
If there is a book from one of your modules that you particularly enjoyed, then consider looking into works by the same author, or novels that are from the same time period or in the same genre. English seminars can sometimes be annoyingly restrictive, in that you can become particularly engaged with an author, only to drop them for the work that must be done for next week. When you have free time, it’s a great opportunity to pick up where you left off, and do some independent research into the writing that you enjoyed so much. Often, lecturers will provide extra reading that can be done around the subject, and this might include other works of fiction that are similar. Don’t treat the reading list as something that has to be done for work, and not something to be enjoyed.
Take A Break
Sometimes, you just need a break, and no book will satisfy you. That’s ok. I definitely have a sense of shame whenever I’m in a reading lull, and it’s sometimes difficult to just accept that you’re not really in the mood at the time. However, this can happen, and forcing yourself to read without enjoying it will only lead to greater frustration. Give yourself a break, pick up another hobby that you’ve perhaps been neglecting, and hopefully, somewhere along the way, you’ll find a new book that reminds you why you love reading. It sometimes feels like this is impossible, and you’ll never read for pleasure again, but by keeping yourself open to recommendations and perhaps reading outside of your comfort zone, you’ll hopefully find the exact novel to satisfy your needs.