How to Enjoy Reading Books Again

When did reading stop being fun? When did I lose the thrill of turning pages, devouring printed words, and escaping into another world where adventure and new ideas exploded into my mind?

Maybe it was the starving in the book desert, combing through dry brush, scratched up by the cacti of cheap, poorly written novels. Mirages of ‘great’ books shimmering in the distance. Chewing on fibrous stems looking for a few drops of liquid. Tongue parched and swollen.

Or maybe I didn’t know how to dream anymore.

Or I didn’t care anymore.

Books used to be doors into other dimensions. Nourishment for the imagination. Escape from the tedium of life. They were food for thought, exposure to new culture, and opportunities to have fun.

The book world has suffered the same onslaught as the food industry. Cheap additives, poor substitutes, and tons of sugar. By the time we pick up a good book, we’re already mildly sickened by swallowing bite after bite of shallow words. Tweets, memes, emails, texts, posts, video clips with subtitles. Ads and more ads and more ads. Headlines that pretend to be news but are really just hooks for more ads and more ads.

I took to reading classics but that didn’t solve the problem. What I really wanted was to find new authors I could enjoy without being subjected to all the junk that was clogging my intake valve.

Our brains are turning into bigger couch potatoes than our bodies.

What if all these word-clips—mental junk food—were required by law to include a list of ingredients? The shock would do us good. In fact, the only way you can do this idea justice is if you walk into a grocery store, or your kitchen for that matter, and pick things up and start reading the ingredients out loud. Bread crumbs, ranch dip, granola bars… try it.

Now picture this. Before you’re allowed to read a word-clip about the latest fad to improve your figure, you’re given an ingredient list that goes something like this:

Ingredients: mockery, shame, selfishness, embarrassment, fun, sexual pressure, and traces of an increased sense of immediate danger.

And this is also tacked on:

Warning: content has been determined by the FCC to be addicting in nature and unsuitable for minors or the elderly or people with compromised mental stability.

It unlikely we’ll see anything like that in the near future, and maybe it’s just as well. There’s enough stress in the modern world without obsessing about the burden of modern info-mania.

The solution is simple.

A brain diet.

I’ve reviewed a few indie books I enjoyed and will continue to do so, looking for stories that nourish the mind.

Suzanne Hagelin

Writing and publishing books with nutrition for creative minds. 

VPR books

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