Hey there —
Dune. Jurassic Park. Howl’s Moving Castle. The Princess Bride. Where the Crawdads Sing. The Wolf of Wall Street.
If you’ve read any of these titles, you’re probably a certified booknerd. 🤓
But if you’re thinking “Wait, those movies are books?”...maybe it’s been a while since you browsed the shelves of your local library or Barnes and Noble.
And you wouldn’t be alone — in a 2021 Pew Research survey, 23% of Americans reported that they hadn’t read a single book in the past year.
While the rise of screen time can probably take some of the blame for recent declines in reading, author Katherine Marsh highlights a different suspect in an article for The Atlantic: the increased pressure to read analytically, rather than simply for pleasure.
Marsh points to books in classrooms being used largely as tools for passing standardized tests, concluding:
The self-development space can certainly be guilty of emphasizing analysis and application before enjoyment when it comes to books. And putting too much pressure on yourself to study or memorize text can easily turn reading into just another task on your to-do list (and give you flashbacks to middle-school book reports).
It’s important to remember that reading isn’t easy for everyone (nor are books always readily accessible), and it’s okay if you don’t love reading. (And if you’ve ever felt looked down on for not being a reader, we apologize for the…exuberance…with which some of us share our beloved pastime.)
But for those of you who “aren’t much of a reader” but wish you were, here are some tips for discovering (or rediscovering) the joy of reading.
🥰 Give yourself permission to read for pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with reading purely for entertainment. And even if your main goal is to learn something, chances are you can find an author whose writing style makes the topic fun and engaging.
🔭 Explore different genres. Horror, literary, sci-fi, fantasy, non-fiction, romance…find what you actually like, not just what you’ve been told you “should” read. And don’t think that if you’re over 18 you can only read adult books — there are tons of middle-grade and young adult novels you might love.
🎧 Audiobooks count. So do e-books, comics, short stories, etc. Consume books in whatever way is most enjoyable and accessible for you!
🙅 Don’t be afraid to quit a book. Yes, even if it’s a bestseller or everyone you know is raving about it. No book is for everyone. Like what you like — and give a guilt-free “pass” to what you don’t. (One exception: if you’re tempted to put a book down because it’s pushing you out of your comfort zone. Sometimes you gotta sit with discomfort in order to learn and grow.)
Reading doesn’t have to be a chore — and it's a habit far more likely to stick if you can make it fun, not just educational.
Let your curiosity lead, and with a bit of time and experimentation, you just might unearth your inner bookworm. 🐛
Lessons in Chemistry
by Bonnie Garmus
Lessons in Chemistry is a laugh-out-loud, insightful, and beautifully-written novel about Elizabeth Zott, a 1960s scientist battling against her male colleagues’ (and all of society’s) very unscientific view of equality.
When a series of unexpected events lead to Zott becoming the unlikely star of a TV cooking show, she turns her kitchen into a laboratory dedicated to educating and empowering the women who watch her every afternoon — much to the consternation of those who would rather maintain the status quo.
Notes from a Young Black Chef
by Kwame Onwuachi
From his tumultuous childhood in the Bronx to discovering his passion as a chef on a Deep Water Horizon cleanup ship to the acclaimed opening (and heartbreaking closure) of his first restaurant, James Beard Award-winning chef Kwame Onwuachi’s memoir almost reads like a work of fiction.
At the intersection of race, fame, and food, Onwuachi’s story is a poignant, inspiring, and honest look at chasing your dreams — even when they don’t turn out how you expected.
A Deadly Education
by Naomi Novik
Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games in this young adult fantasy set in the Scholomance: a semi-sentient wizard high school full of monsters and cursed artifacts that does its best to devour students on a daily basis.
Snarky outcast Galadriel is determined not to make friends — or turn into the dark sorceress she’s been prophesied to become. But universally adored golden boy Orion Lake and his insistence on saving her when she doesn’t need saving is seriously making her reconsider her vow to not commit murder.
Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk: And Other Truths About Being a Creator
by Danielle Krysa
Consider this book duct tape for the mouth of your inner critic. 🤐
Each encouraging (and fun to read) chapter takes you on a journey through a creator’s most terrifying moments — facing the blank page, the green-eyed monster of jealousy, sharing your work with others — and offers anecdotes, mindsets, and practical exercises to help you find the confidence to get down to business and make good work.
(And if you’re thinking, “Well, I’m not really a creative…” then you should know the first chapter is titled “Everyone is Creative.”)
"As you read a book word by word and page by page, you participate in its creation, just as a cellist playing a Bach suite participates, note by note, in the creation, the coming-to-be, the existence, of the music. And, as you read and re-read, the book of course participates in the creation of you, your thoughts and feelings, the size and temper of your soul."
Written by Ashley Martin
Edited by Matt D'Avella