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A guide to romanticise reading

Reading is romantic by nature. A nice bookshelf makes any room feel warmer, and a good story can completely change your life.

By Annie McNamee, First Year Film and English

We were warned that the internet would kill our love of books, but they were wrong. BookTube and its younger sibling BookTok have officially made reading cool again. Gone are the days of hiding your reading habits.

This resurgence of reading for fun amongst the so-called ‘TikTok Generation’ is ultimately unsurprising. Covid-19 trapped the entire world inside, and books allowed for escape.

And so, as a consequence of pandemic and recession life, and literary TikTok influencers, the renaissance of reading began. Yes, it was never an unpopular hobby, but social media has opened many people’s eyes to the joys of sitting in a café with the sun reflecting off crisp morning ice, book in one hand and hot chocolate in the other.

Courtesy of Isabel Williams 

Books have become an aesthetic in their own right; the rituals surrounding buying and consuming literature are coveted. Bookshelves are trending on Pinterest, and the rise in Dark Academia has encouraged a strange, yet understandable, desire to move to rural Vermont and solve a murder mystery.

So, you’ve seen the Instagram posts and now you want to know how to become a fully-fledged “main character” too, but you aren’t sure where to start. Romanticising reading can be a wonderful tool to take you out of a reading slump. Here are my top tips for becoming the reader of your dreams:

Location is crucial in romanticising your reading. Some of my favourite places to read mysteriously in Bristol include Brandon Hill (extra points if you get THE Cassie’s bench, as seen on Skins), Bakesmiths Café on Whiteladies Road, and the Senate House living room, which has some fantastic views of the Wills Memorial Building, or the general Redland area if you prefer.

Brandon Hill, courtesy of Annie McNamee

If you’re feeling brave you could even take up a seat in the Wills Memorial Library. Reading in public is always exciting, and fulfils that part in all of our brains that secretly believes we’re the coolest person in the room.

It is easy to make book buying fun! Second hand bookshops like the British Heart Foundation on Whiteladies Road or the Oxfam on Park Street allow you to double your collection for half the price. The Last Bookshop, also on Park Street, has a wide range of new books for only £4 each, once again encouraging the aesthetic even in a cost-of-living crisis. Take some friends, stop for coffee, and it is a wholesome date.

Reading is romantic by nature. A nice bookshelf makes any room feel warmer, and a good story can completely change your life. Just make sure to take full advantage of being a reader in all of its glory.

Featured Image: Courtesy of Annie McNamee

How do you romanticise your reading?