The self-help saga


The self-help saga

Morgan Rich, Managing Editor

Rich shows off her book of the week.

Reading for pleasure is a pastime often lost among college students. When students are tasked to read 10 different chapters in a textbook for class, the last thing they want to do is sit down and open another book. 

There are plenty of college students out there who desperately want to get back into reading for pleasure but just do not know where to start. Here is how to find the spark for reading again and incorporate it into that hectic college routine. 

How to find the motivation to get back into reading: 

I know that I have heard plenty of my professors preach on and on about how reading for pleasure is extremely beneficial for the brain. If I have heard this from my own professors, I am sure that many other students on campus have also heard this. 

A majority of the time, people are motivated to do something if it benefits them. Reading, though the benefits are not automatic, improves lots of different aspects of a person, particularly brain health. 

To put it simply, reading for pleasure is almost like having your brain run laps. It forces the brain to be creative, increase empathy, increase emotional intelligence, expand vocabulary, obtain new knowledge and much more. It is essentially the brain’s way of exercising. 

I have a creative writing minor, which forces me to read academically a lot for my English classes. Like everyone else, I too fall victim to not having motivation to read for pleasure even though a big part of me wants nothing more than to sit down with a book. I often get wrapped up in my phone because it is an easy way to pass time. 

One of the best ways I find motivation to read is by looking at reading for pleasure as a privilege. Truth be told, there are plenty of people around the world who do not have access to a college, high school, middle school or even elementary school education. There are also plenty of people who have disabilities that refrain them from being able to read. 

Sometimes sitting down and thinking about those who would love to read for pleasure but do not have the means to do so is motivation in itself to pick up a book and read it. After all, reading for pleasure is an educational and beneficial way to pass time. 

Another way I find motivation to read is by looking at the contents of reading as a movie that I get to picture and make up in my mind. Granted, this is a niche thing as not everyone has a super vivid imagination but for those that do, reading is almost like watching a movie. I view it as a way to tune out the outside world and dive deep into my own imagination. It is a way to explore one’s own mind and creativity. 

How to incorporate reading into a hectic and overwhelming schedule:

Now, I will be the first person to tell you that I too find it hard to read for pleasure during the fall and spring semesters. With exams and homework, sometimes it feels impossible to find the time to sit down and read a book. However, reading for pleasure should not be something that feels like a chore or something that is required to be in one’s schedule. 

The easiest way to incorporate reading into a hectic and overwhelming schedule is to slowly incorporate it into a night routine. Start off slow with reading fifteen minutes before bed and then slowly work up to reading an hour before bed. It is the best way to put the phone down before bed and decrease screen time. 

It is also important to remember that reading for pleasure is not a competition. Put down the TikToks of “how many books I read in a year.” Just because someone was able to read 50 books in a year, does not mean anyone else has to catch up to them. I find that not comparing progress is the perfect way to read for pleasure. 

It also helps to bring the book to classes to read during some kind of downtime. Personally, I am someone who cannot read without it being silent but reading bits and pieces in between class is the perfect way to chill out before, between and after classes. 

How to annotate books according to the content:  

Not everybody likes to annotate, however, I found that this made reading 10 times more fun. Perhaps it is just because I am the kind of person who enjoys writing down my thoughts but I think that annotating can help one get a more firm grasp on what they are reading. 

Annotating is specifically any kind of action that deliberately interacts with the text to enhance the reader’s understanding of the text. I like to annotate with sticky notes, tabs, pens and different colored highlighters so I can mark what is interesting to me and so it is easy for me to spot later on.

Annotating allows people to grasp concepts easier and helps provide the reader with a broader understanding of what is going on. Plus, going back and re-reading annotations can expand thoughts and make the reader think differently about their previous thoughts and ideas. 

I usually annotate different vocabulary words that are unfamiliar to me, my favorite romance moments, characterizations, emotional moments and much more. The fun thing about annotating is that it is specific to every person. It all depends on what the reader finds interesting and what sparks their ideas. 

Weekly book and song recommendations to get back into reading: 

The book that pulled me out of my reading slump was “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens. I recently read this book this past summer and I could not put it down. I took it everywhere with me, including out to family dinners when I was on vacation. 

This book follows two different timelines, one following the adventures of an outcast girl named Kya in the marshes of North Carolina. The second timeline follows the investigation of the murder of a local boy named Chase Andrews. 

This book was extremely similar to the movie and my favorite thing about this book was the way we do not find out the plot twist until the very last page so I suggest watching the movie as soon as the book is finished.

To go along with the book, my song suggestion of the week is “Carolina” by Taylor Swift. Swift made this song for the movie after she read the book back in 2020 and it matches the vibe of the book perfectly. It is the perfect book and song to get out of a reading slump.