The Christian Lifestyle: How to Start Reading

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Art by Alice Hsieh

How can I find time to read for fun in college?— Anonymous

As a Literature major, trust: if the weekly line-up for my classes is, a novel or two, secondary literature to accompany such discourses, essays or assignments that supplement the texts, and the daily horoscope — Mercury retrograde is about to happen again, people; be prepared! — then nobody has an excuse to drop a book on its spine and reduce it to mere shelf aesthetic to seem well-read. Read these next three sentences with Jane Lynch’s tracksuit voice in your mind: You think reading a young adult novella is hard? Try reading “Riddley Walker” and “Almanac of the Dead.” That’s hard.

Start steady. Unless you’re some elitist guru named Tai Lopez, whose humble-brag perspiration can be felt seething into your pores, there’s no way you can consume an entire book in a day without thoroughly enjoying its intricate details. If reading is simply to combat chronic nihilism, a doctor — Ph.D., mind your hegemonic conceptions about the title — would prescribe 20 minutes a day. This is sufficient to finish a book within two weeks to a month. Because you’re reading for fun, as opposed to the late-night cram session, there’s no need to gorge it all in one sitting. Similar to how nobody deep-throats a Costco-sized bag of onions and says they really savored the flavor, you shouldn’t expect to finish entire texts in a short period of time. It’s all about consistency and investing time.

Twenty is the magical number. It’s got two numbers, just as the first digit implies, and it also has a zero for style — it really highlights the magnitude of the two. Reserving 20 minutes is easy when you put it in context of your entire day: You already spend a copious amount of time studying for exams, so why not tack on twenty minutes more toward something that you can enjoy? It’s obvi, it’s formulaic and it’ll guarantee results fast. You’ll no longer have to answer “Harry Potter … the second one!” when prompted to describe your favorite book. Perhaps, now, you can sriracha your daily conversation. Yes, Miss Lady, I read Sylvia Plath. Of course, Mister Man, Haruki Murakami is completely underrated. Yep yep, I am well-informed on Kenneth Goldsmith and Vanessa Place — and, yes, I am aware that they are racist.