One of the great joys of IMAGE team members is taking time away from a world consumed by social media to read a book. But reading is a habit, one that is sometimes difficult to keep up
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin
Unlike TV, books open up a realm of imagination that only exists within our minds.
As a child and a teenager, I always read. I wasn’t a book worm by any stretch of the imagination, and I wouldn’t have been constantly reading a book, but it was a big part of my life.
My love for books and storytelling began from a very young age, asking my dad to “tell stories from the mouth” before I could read. These stories consisted of the same two characters, whose adventures he made up as he went along.
I then moved on to Dr Suess and books about fairies (who else remembers these!) before discovering the classics like Black Beauty and then moving onto my all time favourite series, Harry Potter.
"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” - Dr. Seuss
As a pre-teen, I began to read about love, friendships, and hardships through Jacqueline Wilson and Cathy Cassidy’s books. I imagined the lives of the young girls in these novels and compared them to my life. The insecurities they had were just like mine and made me feel like I wasn’t alone.
As cheesy as it is, they taught little 12-year-old me that things would get better.
Fast forward a few years, the teenage years brought many vampire series and John Green novels galore. These novels were dramatic and created a world inside my head which I craved to live in. However, the state of always having a book on my bedside locker stopped at age 19 when I started College.
I decided to study Film Studies with English and Irish when I finished school. I couldn’t think of anything better than analysing films and reading literature and getting to say it was "work".
How wrong I was.
Reading a novel a week for college took the fun out of it for me. And when I ultimately decided to change to Journalism, I just lost my interest in reading.
I read the odd book on holidays or at Christmas time, but for the majority of my four years in college I didn’t read, it just felt like a chore. I used the excuse that I was reading a lot for course work, but in reality, if I had time to watch Netflix before going to bed every night, I had time to read.
Now, I’m only two months out of college; and although I am just as busy as ever, I am reading so much more, and I feel so much better.
As an aspiring journalist, I think it so important to not only read non-fiction but fiction too. Novels teach us what well-written works look like, while also expanding our vocabulary and widening our imagination.
I am now reading roughly a book every week or two weeks. Not only am I escaping technology for a couple of hours a day, but I am also sleeping better and not spending my 50-minute commutes on the DART listening to the same 10 songs.
I don’t put pressure on myself to necessarily read hard-going, intellectual novels, but merely take my time reading a novel that I enjoy and helps me escape from reality.
Oh, and one tip; if you’re not enjoying a book, don’t finish it, life is way too short. There are also way too many amazing books out there.
“Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you.” – Louis L’Amour
My top five picks to get back into reading
1. Normal People; Sally Rooney
Winner of Book of the Year 2019, if you're looking for a book to get stuck into, look no further. This stunningly written novel follows the lives of two teenagers studying at Trinity College Dublin. You will become captivated by their characters, and trust me you won't be able to put this book down!
2. Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling; Emer Mc Lysaght and Sarah Breen
Following on from the infamous 'Oh my god, what a complete Aisling' Facebook group, this story follows the life of Aisling, a small-town girl living in the big shmoke. It's a nice easy read that is sure to make you laugh!
3. The Girl Before; JP Delaney
If you love thrillers, you have to give this ago! I don't want to give anything away, but I can tell you that once you pick it up you won't be able to put it back down.
4. The Couple Next Door; Shari Lapena
This number 1 bestseller is a must for any crime and thriller lovers. Like every book on this list, it is a page-turner and will definitely get you back into your love for reading.
5. Only Ever Yours; Louise O'Neill
In this dystopian novel, we follow the lives of the 'eves', girls who are created solely to be beautiful companions for men. This highly addictive book, like all of Louise O'Neills novels, will really make you think about today's society. It was described by The Vagenda as 'The Handmaid's Tale meets Mean Girls'.
Featured image: Thought Catalog via Unsplash
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