I don’t have a single core memory of reading as a child, but rather many memories of reading. At that time, reading really was magic. The world hadn’t jaded me just yet, which meant that life was still full of possibilities. But a Great Recession and a COVID-19 Pandemic later, much of that magic has faded from my mind. I still turn to reading, but now more to mentally escape and learn something rather than to simply read for the pure joy and magic of reading.
But I’m 29 now and will be 30 next March, and I can’t help but think that 30-year-old me deserves the reading experience that 10-year-old me had. That inner child needs to be happy as well, and nothing makes her happier than books (and perhaps fudge brownies). So can an adult woman read like a kid again?
Here are a few ideas.
Make a Comfy Reading Nook
As an adult, I am constantly on the move. Whether it’s commuting to work, doing chores, or meeting up with friends. With this lifestyle, I mostly do my reading via audiobooks over my car’s Bluetooth. While I love reading like this, the fastness of it all takes away from the magic. As a kid, I vividly remember draping a blanket from the top bunk, so my bottom bunk became a tent. I’d then snuggle up with my book and read the evening away.
Pick a Book You Know Nothing About From a Local Bookstore
Thanks to Bookstagram and BookTok, I know way too much about recent releases and old books. I love having this knowledge, but it means that I’ve heard of almost every book I’ve read and go in with set expectations. As a kid, I didn’t know if the book I was reading would be any good. And honestly? I didn’t care what anyone else thought of the books I read. I read for me. Not for others. Walking into a local bookstore and just letting myself choose an interesting book by an author I’d never heard of reminds me of that time.
Read an Old Childhood Favorite
I used to be a notorious rereader as a kid. I would read and reread my old favorites because they were so comforting. Nowadays, there are so many books I want to read that I can’t fathom rereading something. But I honestly think it would be worth it to revisit an old childhood favorite. I haven’t read them in years and know reading those books will spark old memories and feelings that that young reader felt.
Read Under the Blanket with an Actual Flashlight
Sometimes, I didn’t have the time or energy to create a proper reading nook with the aforementioned draped blanket. For these times, I was content with reading under my comforter with a flashlight. Now this was back in the Mesolithic, when kids didn’t have cellphones, and if they did, those phones didn’t have flashlights. Therefore, I had to steal my dad’s flashlight and read under my covers until my mom came into my room and demanded I go to sleep. Now, I am almost 30, so my mom doesn’t do that anymore. But it’s nice to imagine she might at some point.
Reading is as much reading as it is an experience. In our fast-paced information age, it’s more convenient to strip reading to just consuming the words in front of us rather than allowing ourselves the time and space to actually experience the story. Trying to read like a kid again, I think, is the perfect antidote to fast-paced reading. Reading like a kid makes reading an innocent act, in which the only expectation is to feel a sense of joy, not accomplishment or escape.