I’ve Fallen Back In Love With Reading Again

And I'm only delighted.

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I was a bookish child.

You know the type. The kind that dragged their mam to the library every weekend and left with an arm full of hardbacks. And reread every A Series of Unfortunate Events instalment over and over. And got into horror far too early thanks to R.L. Stine.

When I was young, my thirst for reading couldn’t be satiated. I wanted to be the first in my class to finish the new Harry Potter. I dove into The Lord of the Rings despite not really understanding what was going on. I’d stay up under the covers armed with a nightlight and a novel, devouring pages until I was told to just go to sleep, you can finish it in the morning.

Then, life happened. I went to college, I started working, and my days were dominated by words. My first job in journalism meant that I spent my days churning out article after article, desperate to impress and finally step beyond the realm of meagrely paid intern.

It also meant that by extension, I was reading a lot… On the screen. I read other people’s articles, I read my own articles, I read tweets, FB posts, GoFundMes searching for the next tragic story that would give me something to write about.

During this time I basically stopped reading books. I couldn’t be bothered to pick up something new only to have it sitting on my bedside table for months on end. I was out all the time, in the office, on the bus, in the pub, on the nitelink home for the sixth time that month.

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Reading fell by the wayside for years, as I spent my free time bingeing TV, scrolling on Instagram, and surrounding myself with people. The idea of sitting down by myself and getting lost in a book didn’t appeal to me anymore. Sure, I read the odd novel but they were few and far between, and I didn’t necessarily look forward to picking up something new, and spending an afternoon with myself.

Maybe it was the fear of missing out, maybe it was Sally Rooney, maybe it was the sheer amount of Irish talent coming out of the woodwork, but over the past year or so I’ve rekindled my love for reading – and I’m only delighted.

Recently I’ve read Dolly Alderton, Caroline O’Donoghue, Paul Murray, Anna Fitzgerald, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jen Beagin, Rachel Yoder… It was the incredible The Rachel Incident that got me out of my slump and reminded me why I used to stay up all night reading as a child, desperate to find out what happened next, telling myself ‘just one more page…’

And it turns out the issue wasn’t work or busy-ness or needing to rewatch every single episode of HBO’s Girls. Once I starting reading books I actually enjoyed, it came easily.

Gone are the days of trudging through a Booker prize winner because I think I should (except for Prophet Song, Prophet Song is excellent). No more will I start a book, realise it’s not my vibe, and force myself to finish it.

These days, if I’m not into it, I move on. Set it aside. Pick up something I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy and go with that instead. Such has been the key to my consistent reading this year. I actually get excited to pick up a novel – and if I don’t, then I’m not reading it.