How to Make Reading Fun Again
Updated: Sep 20
These four tips will revive your love for reading this year.
It’s a new year, which means it's the perfect time to set new reading goals. And by new, I don’t mean reading X number of books per month, or trying once again to read through the list of classics given to you at your local library. Instead, let’s make reading FUN again this year. Reading doesn’t need to have standards, and it shouldn’t be a duty. Check out a few of the ways I make reading fun.
1. Don’t finish every book you start.
If you’re anything like me, the very idea of leaving a book unfinished is blasphemous–even if by chapter two you know finishing the thing is going to be painful. Why do we do this to ourselves? Perhaps we feel obligated to finish every book we start because we are readers. We aren’t like those other people who don’t finish books, right? Or perhaps we feel we should finish books because they are classics or well-liked by our friends.
But guess what? We don’t actually have to slog through a book we know we don’t like. (There’s a sentence to add to your list of daily affirmations.) We don’t have time for that. If you want to know how a book ends without finishing it, read the last few pages or search for a review of it on YouTube or Goodreads.
Do give a book a fair attempt, but don’t let it make reading a chore. Yes, you may have fewer books to add to your list, but you’ll read more books you actually like and have a better time reading them too.
2. Think about what you actually like to read—and don’t judge yourself for it.
It’s time to get real with yourself. What do you like to read? I mean actually like to read. Here’s an experiment: Without judgement, shame, or embarrassment, think about the books or genres you have loved reading in the past and still love now. Are those books different from the ones you say out loud when asked what your favorite books are?
It’s time to stop suppressing your love for the Twlilight series ever since it became “cool to dislike.” It’s time to read those admittedly cringy short stories on Wattpad that bring you so much joy. And maybe it’s even time to order that copy of Kissing the Coronavirus that has intrigued you for months. Don’t guilt yourself for making reading fun again. Read what you love. Read what makes you happy.
3. Get creative with audiobooks.
Some reading “purists” out there believe that if you don’t read a book with your eyeballs, you are cheating. I disagree. Audiobooks count just as much as regular books do. And they can be much more accessible and fun too. If you’re short on time, audiobooks can be a great way to read a book while running, cooking dinner, or wrangling children.
All these are great, but don’t forget the funnest thing about audiobooks: the narrator. While on a roadtrip last year, I listened to Neil Gaiman’s book-turned-show American Gods narrated by the cast of the show, and it was an incredible experience. RIght now, I’m listening to the great Rob Inglis sing Hobbit songs and speak Elvish for my nth reading of The Fellowship of the Ring. If pricey audiobook subscription services like Audible have turned you off from audiobooks, I encourage you to check out these free resources: Libby, LibriVox, and even YouTube.
4. Seek out reading groups and fan pages.
I’m not just talking about your mom’s reading group that meets at her house every Wednesday afternoon. I’m talking about online groups (on Facebook, Reddit, Tumblr) that are full of thousands of people who love reading what you love. Take me, for example. You say fantasy, I say, “Have you read the books or only seen the movies?” I joined several fantasy novel fan pages on Facebook for fun during the pandemic (fan pages did not, in fact, go extinct in high school). Now, I have interesting content and great book recommendations filling up my feed every day. I see memes, fan art, and insider facts that boost my love for my favorite series. I also get great recommendations from like-minded people–and those recommendations are usually backed up by up-votes and comments. If you’re like me and don’t know many people who are interested in the same types of books that you are interested in, fan pages are a great place to ask for recommendations.
As you make it through the first few months of this new year and reevaluate the ambitious goals you made on January 1, remember that reading is meant to bring you joy. Books may break your heart or have you in stitches, but that is all part of the experience of the joy of reading. Remember reading is fun.