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Learning to love books again

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MARCH 08, 2023

When I’ve been reading too many scholarly articles and classic literature for school, the mere sight of a book gives me a visceral level of dread. These are the books on my “To Be Read” list from my childhood — easy enough to follow with enjoyable plots and interesting characters so I can learn to love to read again. 

1. J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter”

Don’t be daunted by the “Harry Potter” series! Despite its eight thick volumes, it’s easy to move through these fairly quickly. I haven’t read them all, but I find it really enjoyable to match up scenes in the books with ones in the movies, as well as notice the moments that were omitted. J.K. Rowling has a an admittedly problematic career, but what I love is that her books can be found in nearly every book section of thrift stores. Both in person and online, there are conscious ways to get your hands on these classics. 

2. Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach,” “Matilda”

Roald Dahl books are short but entirely entertaining with his quirky characters and wildly out-of-this-world storytelling. I loved stories like these when I was young because I felt like these weird kids were so cool and unique. I think we can all take a moment and remove ourselves from the pressures of who we want to be and just be — like Dahl’s characters do. 

3. Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” 

These were my favorite books to borrow out of the library as a kid. The covers and binding were so academic-esque and the characters are so well-developed. Snicket provides a terrifying plot of three orphans who keep coming within mere reach of their happy ending. I think this was the first book I read in which I learned that life can seriously suck sometimes. At a young age, I came to understand that perhaps things just don’t go the way you want them to.

4. A.A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh”

I haven’t read this one but I loved the cartoons as a kid. The simple themes of friendship and love are ones that I think everyone should revisit from time to time.

5. “Tales of Pixie Hollow” by multiple authors

I only had two of these books growing up and all I remember is that the girls are awesome. Plus, these are probably the prettiest covers to any book ever. 

6. Kate DiCamillo’s “The Tale of Despereaux”

This was my first “big girl” book. I remember being so excited to have finished such a thick book and being able to watch it be made into a movie. I think it’d be fun to read it again and see all the little things I probably missed.

The satisfaction when finishing a book you chose to read is a wonderful feeling, and I normally never get to feel it during the school year because I am so busy with other readings that I lose any motivation to find my own books for purely pleasure. But with these fun and easy to follow childhood stories, I’ll be able to get more books onto my Goodreads and revisit some simple themes that are important to remember.

Contact Mary Huynh at 


MARCH 08, 2023