Reading for Fun in College

Reading for Fun in College | Scribbling in the Margins blog

Let me be blunt: you won’t have time to read for fun at college if you don’t make time. I have 30 books assigned for next semester. THIRTY. 

So disclaimer: I probably will not be reading for fun this semester. These tips are more for people with reasonable reading assignments or who would rather give up eating than pleasure reading. And while no, I won’t selecting what I read until December, most of the books I have to read are still great reading material. I typically like most of them. No textbooks for the English/History major!

But I digress. You’re here because you want know how to read for fun at college. Or maybe you’ve just found yourself busy with your job, your high school work, your newborn baby, your car, your yard work- you get the picture- and want to fit reading into your schedule. Look no further: here’s what you should try.

The most important thing to do is choose a book that can be easily put down for several weeks. It will be extremely difficult to read your book continuously over a couple of days. Last year, I brought along Life is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman to school. Over the course of the semester, I could pick up this book with weeks in between and not feel lost because of its building plot and memorable story.

I highly recommend any “auto-biographical” or “memoir” type book for that reason. It’s fairly easy to jump in after being away for a long period of time. A couple other options are Ellen DeGeneres’s Seriously…I’m Kidding (just don’t listen to it as an audio book- surprisingly a bad idea) and Barbara Kingsolver’s High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never.

You should also set aside a certain time to read. Even the most die-hard readers struggle to pick up a book spontaneously when faced with unfinished assignments and unread emails. In the past, I’ve set Saturday mornings as reading time. It worked maybe once. But I have generally stuck with Saturday mornings as my “chill” time. If I have a book I want to read during chill time, I totally can, guilt free. You can choose whatever time or frequency you want; it’s all about what works best for you.

Finally, use your book as a reward. Tell yourself “if I finish this chapter before dinner, I can read Life is So Good for 30 minutes.” Or, when the procrastination is running strong, tell yourself that every minute spent on Twitter is a minute lost on reading time. When you get your work done, you won’t feel as guilty for taking time to read as you would when a blank Word document stares you in the face.

How do you find time to read for fun? What books do you recommend? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

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Below the Line:

  • Another great post on this subject is by Katie at My College Advice. She writes more about why you should keep reading in college.
  • I FINALLY FOUND THE PLANNER. Whoosh, that was a frustrating, stressful process. I’ll reveal my choice in another back-to-school post next week.
  • The clock is ticking on summer days, and I have quite a bit left to do. Like the big stack of books next to my full bookshelf that still needs a home. And the stack of boxes in front of my closet. And all the blog posts I was going to write and plan ahead…
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3 thoughts on “Reading for Fun in College

  1. 30?? Oh my gosh. You must be overwhelmed! I’m actually in my last year of high school so it won’t be that bad. Will still be able to read. Although I do read for fun, I also for review a lot but I try to chose those looking nice as much as I can. :P

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