Reading. It’s something we all know we should do more of – but when was the last time you read a book you really enjoyed? I don’t read anywhere near as much as I did when I was younger but I’ve recently started to rekindle my interest. I’ve decided to share a few book recommendations with you and remind you how beneficial turning the pages of a book can be.
Why is reading important?
Reading provides a way to constantly learn new things. Books can introduce you to such an enormous range of subject matter that it's impossible to list them all. You can learn so much just by reading fiction books you enjoy, as they introduce us to culture, history and life around the world. Gaining such perspectives are essential as it is important to be able to understand people from different backgrounds and see how versatile the world is.
Besides expanding your knowledge and exposing you to lots of information, reading can do wonders for your comprehension. By reading you are actively training your brain and this can improve your performance in many areas of your life. Reading can also improve your vocabulary and consequently your writing style.
While there are many benefits of reading, that shouldn’t be the only thing that motivates you to do it. Reading is fun and exciting - it transports you to different worlds! There are so many genres to explore that you’re certain to find something that suits you. Reading for enjoyment is crucial to personal development as it helps you understand what you like and what you don’t and could even help you build upon areas of interest. Sometimes, school can turn reading into a chore and this is dangerous and problematic. Reading is about what works for you so you’ll only ever realise its true importance when you start to find the relation between yourself and the words you are reading.
But I don’t have time to read!
I completely understand this. Between revision, extracurriculars and everything else that takes up our time it can feel impossible to fit reading into your schedule. While this feeling is valid, trying to do at least 10 minutes of reading a day could be incredibly beneficial for you. Reading something, no matter how small, will always be better than reading nothing and it's the first step towards including more reading in your life.
When you’re in a crunch for time it may not be practical to read a physical book. Audiobooks and ebooks are great alternatives and they allow you to read on the go at any time. Despite this, they can be expensive, especially for students. Below I have listed some resources that provide access to free audiobooks. Listening to audiobooks can help get you back into the flow of reading and actively listening to a story can be both relaxing and educational. A great way to tackle the task of “reading” more books is by not actually reading them! How strange.
The Teen/Young adult section may be of interest to you. Some of the books are quite dated but there are many books to explore and listen to on this website.
This website contains many great titles by authors including James Baldwin, Ray Bradbury and Virginia Woolf - why not take a look?
Amazon’s Audible.com 30 free day trial
This isn’t a permanent solution however during this time period you could listen to quite a few books and their vast library provides a variety of options, including more modern and popular titles such as Where the Crawdads Sing and It Ends with Us.
Note: An audible subscription is 7.99 per month and you will be charged if you do not cancel your membership before the trial ends.
Your local libraries could provide you with access to online copies of books, including both audio and ebooks. Start out by searching the name of your library and “online”; you may need to email a local librarian or visit a library to get assistance.
I have nothing to read!
This is how I felt a few months ago. I was in a massive reading slump that seemed to drag on and on. I didn’t think I'd ever get out of it. Every book I read bored me and I couldn’t get past the first few pages. That was until I took a stroll to a local bookshop, picked up a few books and decided to give reading one last try. Surprisingly it worked. Maybe the act of buying the book worked to motivate me to read more. Regardless, below I have listed a few books that could help you get out of a reading slump along with some tips.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Set in the south, in a beautifully described area called the marsh, Where the Crawdads Sing follows Kya as she learns to navigate her way through life and the challenges that come with growing up. We quickly learn that she was abandoned as a child and had to learn to fend for herself. Filled with friendships, a murder, and a truck full of suspense, this book is absolutely gut wrenching and will leave you in tears, unable to tear your eyes from the pages.
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
There’s nothing like a bit of dystopia to get you out of a slump. The Handmaid's Tale immerses you in an alternate world-gone-wrong-not-so-distant- future, where women are oppressed by the governing body and personal freedoms no longer exist. This book encapsulates you as you follow the protagonist, Offred, and begin to realise that the world described in the book is not so different from our own. Warning: Once you’ve finished, you’ll be left with a creepy feeling that may take a while to shake off.
The Ultimate how to start reading again guide:
1 – choose something exciting
The more exciting the better, after all you’re not going to read something boring.
2 – start with something short
Reading needs to be made as easy and enjoyable as possible when trying to escape the dreaded slump. Starting with something shorter makes reading seem more approachable.
3 – read with a friend / join a book club
Having someone you can discuss a book with really helps to make it more exciting. I find talking to friends about a book we’ve both read can sometimes be more enjoyable than the actual book itself. Try talking to a friend the next time you read a book and watch yourself become overwhelmed by the desire to read more books. Okay – maybe not “overwhelmed” but a little enthusiasm goes a long way.
Happy Reading and remember - reading a blog like this one is equally as important and beneficial as reading in any other format!
Tiffany Igharoro is a student in Y11 preparing to take her GCSE's next year. One of her favourite pastimes is writing as it helps her organise her thoughts creatively and dynamically. She has won awards and prizes for poetry, academic and scientific writing and short stories. Recently, she won a nationwide historical essay competition that opened her eyes to the importance of how things are told, and the impact ordinary people have on the world. She is studying art GCSE and believes there is something incredible about finding links between drama, art and maths.
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