How do we enjoy books?Doug Conway
There’s a reason why those books in your cupboard haven’t been touched. Contributed by a member of Arthur’s Readers, the Co-curricular book club.
We at Arthur’s Readers like books. A lot. But for a lot of people, reading books as a hobby might seem tiresome or uninteresting. Trust me, even we feel that sentiment sometimes. (But very rarely). But we also spend a lot of time thinking about how to get other people to read. Parents may want to take notes, because this might be your chance to wrangle your kids off their screens.
So, what is this big secret to getting the book-reading experience that other people have told you about?
It really comes down to how you read books. I’m talking about the when, where, and what of reading. At the time of writing this, I’ve come down with quite the cold. You should know how the fatigue, sneezing, and sore throats get to you after a while. I am five days into this sickness, and I barely want to move or speak. Luckily, reading and school work doesn’t take a whole lot of physical effort. But why do I spend all day doing things like this? It all boils down to your environment. You wouldn’t drink hot chocolate in summer or ice cream in winter, would you?
Maybe the reason why you haven’t been able to get into that book is because you were reading it on the train home. Bright acidic lights, a mild chill, and a whirlwind of noise surround you, and every few minutes something makes you look up. In the back of your mind, you’re worried about whether the next stop is yours. At the end of the ride, you only make it through the first two chapters, and you feel slightly annoyed. And when you make it home, you end up discarding it, reducing it to a dust-catcher.
It’s these kinds of reading environments, plagued by the annoyances of modern life, that taint people’s ability to really enjoy a book. You might have fallen in love with that story if it was at night, and you have nothing else to do. The thunder and rain is rolling down, and you feel all warm curled up in your armchair or bed. There’s a cup of tea next to you, but it’s been untouched. You are completely absorbed inside that book.
But you don’t even have to read books this way. Everyone has their own preferences. I mean, in parts of Northern China, they eat ice cream in the winter, and the temperature often dips below zero! So the best advice that I could give you is to see what kinds of places you like to be in and what times and accessories you like the most when you want to read. I can give you some starters if you’re confused.
Can music work with my reading experience?
Personally, I listen to a lot of hip-hop, so I generally don’t have music in my ears when I’m reading unless I’m reading a comic or a manga. However, more ambient or less vocal-heavy music can certainly enhance how you read a book.
How do I even start?
Try curling up with a book in a library, like ours,The Arthur Holt Library. We’ve got a plethora of books, and a space full of beanbags for a comfy reading experience. Honestly, I’d be surprised if you couldn’t focus on a book here.
What’s your biggest tip?
I would say that above all, the most important thing is to try and enjoy it. Expecting different environments to work like magic will not get you very far, because it’s the sentiments they inspire that really get you to discover the magic of reading.
By Priyann Thanujan (9We)
Speak to library staff if you are interested in joining Arthur’s Readers, the Co-curricular book club.