I've recently taken it upon myself to promote reading and literature. Modern pop culture's focus has turned to Jersey Shore and Keeping up with the Kardashians as a means of entertainment and mental stimulation. Violent video games fill the attention spans of young adults instead of the pages of books. Cable television and smart phones are making people progressively stupider. Don't fall into the trend; Get your hand off the remote and get your head into a good book.
1. Don't view it as homework.
A huge setback is thinking of reading as a chore. Think of reading as going on an adventure even when the weather is crummy or you're stuck on the bus. When you're reading an article for school, you can view it as gaining a new perspective or learning about a situation that you wouldn't otherwise be familiarised with. Changing your viewpoint on reading is the first step; view it as something exciting instead of a time consuming task.
2. Find time to read.
Unless if you're working 3 jobs, going to school full time, and raising a kid, you probably have a bit of downtime when you can crack open a book or a newspaper. My personal favourite time of day to read is while at the bus stop or on the train. Read instead of flipping through your hundreds of cable channels. Read while you're sitting around on a Saturday night waiting for a boy to call. Read while on break at work or when your girlfriend is shoe shopping. Read instead of Facebook stalking people you hardly know or clicking through endless amounts of fashion blogs written by 19-year-old girls.
There. Now that we've cleared away some time for you to read, now to decide what to read. Head over to the library or, if you don't like reading books numerous other people have paged through or ate over, go to the bookstore. If you like poetry, head to the poetry section and start digging. If you like essays, choose a topic you're passionate about and find a book on it. If you like biographies, choose one about a person you're particularly fascinated or inspired by. A certain era in time may send you to the non-fiction category, or a childhood favourite might send you back for those Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys mysteries. Always remember, it's okay to start small. Don't jump for Faulker or Gogol if it doesn't interest you or if it'll be way over your head. This will only discourage you rather than delight you.
4. Talk about literature.
It helps to talk about what you read with other people. Form a bookclub if you like, or even just ask a friend about what they've been reading lately. Having debates over literature with other people will fuel your interest in the topic and lead you to want to read more, or read again. A friend who recently read The Great Gatsby inspired me to re-read it in order to have a more definite opinion on Daisy's character. A man who recently told me that rape certainly is not "normal" and the best way to deal with it was to take a gun to a rapist's head, gave me motivation to finish Transforming a Rape Culture so I can back up my own opinion on the normalcy of rape in our culture. Discussion with others creates motivation for reading.
5. Make recommendations, take recommendations.
Talking about literature will often open up the opportunity to make recommendations as well as recieve them. Making a recommendation will often lead to further discussion about the book or possibly inspire another person to be active about your cause. Accepting a recommendation may deepen your interest in the subject matter or lead you to discover a new title, genre, or author that you may have overlooked.
6. Take delight in literature.
Learning to love these new characters, new worlds, and new perspectives will lead you to take delight in literature and appreciate it as a form of entertainment or knowledge.
As part of transforming Urban Tease from a mindless fashion blog and more into a lifestyle blog to stimulate the creative mind, I will now feature weekly book reviews. Feel free to offer up recommendations to me and I hope that some of my future suggestions might inspire you to crack open a new book!