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  • Melanie Notaras

For The Love Of Books, Read This!

Did you let your first love slip away? I mean reading – that intense and passionate emotional affair you have with books long before your first crush. I wasn’t picky for a partner, anything science fiction or fantasy adventure would do. I used to be one of those kids who read way beyond midnight, until my eyeballs felt like they were falling out. I used to read walking home from school, and if it took longer walking home it only meant I had more time to read. I even used to keep reading in the shower - with my book inside a plastic bag!

And then … books and I fell into a bit of a rut. I started taking them for granted, seeing other formats – textbooks, magazines, work research. I wasted a lot of years going nowhere on the internet. Or being consumed by work. When I could, I’d return to books and greedily gulp them whole – they never lasted long because that’s how I like to read, everything at once all the way to the end. And then I’d get side-tracked, forgetful, engrossed in television or collapsing from raising a young family.

True, I’ve never fully let reading for pleasure go, but I realise that my disjointed pattern means I spend long periods missing reading very much. I’ve recently been working on strengthening my relationship with books, and you can do it too. Why? Because it feels sooo good.

My 9 year old daughter defines love as ‘strong feelings, soft spots’, and I reckon that's right. Let's treat reading as a person, and find our way back to a loving, thriving relationship:

  • Pay attention, more attention, and more attention again – to the habit and to the moment. Find a time and space that you can devote to reading, to help focus your attention. The train. A reading chair. In bed every night.

  • Play together – because how many friends have faded away over the years? All of life is but a series of (hopefully good) habits. If you play together, you stay together – so make sure you’re reading often!

  • Discover new things so you grow together. Let books lead you from one experience to another. Explore new worlds, subjects and situations with every book.

  • Cuddle lots – with books and people, and both at the same time if possible. It feels wonderful.

  • Be a place of comfort. Books can be a great support when you’re in pain, or a problem-solver when you’re in stress – just like a good friend.

  • Forgive and learn if something doesn’t go the way you like. Be patient with your time and choice of books - don’t throw out the habit just because you chose something that turned out boring. Forgive yourself - and the author - and find a new one.

  • Cherish their quirks. There’s as much variety in books as there are in people. Turn irritations into explorations – you’ll find new favourites.

  • Work at it every day. Like every loving relationship, you have to make a commitment.

Be brave and take the first step! Find two books (one to read now, and the next ready to read when you’ve finished the first), and read every day in the same place and at the same time for 3 weeks. Twenty minutes a day will do.

And when you just can’t help yourself, when books shout at you to read them, when you simply can’t resist the fiery temptation … baby, you’re back in love!

This blog post was brought to you by My School Adventure - a reading fundraiser for primary, elementary and middle grade schools, where we customise an exciting adventure gamebook novel to your school including 4 teachers as characters.

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