Raise your hand if you've heard this one, "Why don't you put down your book and interact with real people?" Yeah, my hand is raised, too. What about questions about how you keep reading interesting when you're just reading about fictional worlds or times past that don't really have anything to do with our lives today? Yep. My hand is up again.But reading can be as diverse and unique as the readers. It doesn't have to be a solitary activity and it doesn't have to be just a thing you do on the pages of your current read.
There are so many fun and unique ways to to further immerse yourself into your current fictional world (or time in history) and here I've collected a few ideas as to how you can further immerse yourself into the worlds you love, fictional, past or current. Some of these I thought of myself and some of them were inspired by articles I read while doing research for this very post. I have to say, I was a little disappointed with how hard it was to find immersive ideas for adults versus ways to turn kids into readers! Listed hear are some of my favorite ways to turn reading into a more interactive activity, or nurse that book hangover. Many of these can be done as a solitary activity or as a couples or group activity, so feel free to be that introvert we know and love when it suits you, and call up a few of your favorite people to join you when you need a little social interaction! Either way, they'll be fun!
Read for the season or events in your life. When I was planning my wedding, I became hyper fixated on anything wedding. I was watching wedding shows and movies, reading books with weddings and shopping wedding all of the time! But this is also great for holidays and seasons, vacations, having babies, anything significant in your life. Not only is it fun, it's relatable and feels totally relevant but you can get so many ideas of things to do from the books! As you read, take an activity or two from your book and go out and do it. Maybe the characters go ice skating, go ice skating. Maybe the characters have a birthday tradition with their family that you absolutely love. Adopt that tradition, if only for one year. If the character takes a walk whenever they get stressed and just takes in the nature around them, go take a walk and take in the sights, even if you think you've seen it all.
Make a playlist for your book! My husband and I have done this with a T.V show we were watching together and it was a lot of fun! This can go a couple of ways. If your book references or talks about a lot of music you can make a playlist with just the artists and songs in the book but my favorite way is to find songs that represent the characters, places and events from the book. What songs makes you think of the characters and places in your book? What songs play in your head while you read the book? They don't have to make sense to anyone but you and there is no right answer. Plus, you can listen to it when you read, work out, commute, cook, ect. It's entirely up to you to choose the rest!
Draw images and characters: I am not the artist at all, but my husband and kids love to draw and they're pretty good, so this idea was inspired from them, specifically my oldest daughter (and I've totally seen her do this before). Create fan art. Draw the characters as you see them (even if it's not exactly the way the author described them), draw your favorite setting or your favorite scene as you envision it. Or even draw a comparison between how you imagine it and how the author describes it. You don't have to show anyone, just your favorite people or the whole world. You can even post it in social media groups or your profile and hashtag the author themselves!
Write fan-fiction: I had a friend who loved to write and she was good at it. One of her favorite things to write was fan fiction and she might have been my first introduction to the concept. What I love about the idea of writing fan-fiction is that it allows you to go beyond just the words on the page. There are so many directions you can go. You can reimagain the ending, write about what happened after the book ended or when the characters are older, you can imagine and write about what things would be like if something was different (kind of like the Twisted Tales series does for Disney).
Go on fieldtrips: I know. This sounds like a little schoolish and, let's face it, most of us don't want to go back to those days, but trust me on this. There are so many ways to take this. Of course, you can take it literally (if the characters go to Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, you to there, too) or you could go a little more broad. Go on a road trip to the place you've wanted to go for years, just like your favorite character, even if they are two very different places. In our house, we also do things like read The Diary of Anne Frank and then go to the Anne Frank museum in Danville Iowa. There are so many fun ways to do this!
Get in the kitchen: Pick your poison! Some books make this easier than others. Some books who talk a lot about cooking and baking include recipes for some of the dishes mentioned in the story at the back of the book. The first two that come to mind for me are Heart Break Bakery by A.R Capetta and and Magic, Lies and Deadly Pies by Misha Popp (Click on their titles to learn more) but I know there are so many more that are out there! I know when my daughter and I read Little Women together, we researched food of the time and made some of the dishes like mock apple pie. You could have an entire dinner party centered around your current read, focusing on the location of the book, the foods that the characters love to eat or the foods that they actually make. You could even do a variation when you make their favorite drinks or just have a desert bar. No matter how you chose to do this, have fun with it...and maybe even learn something new, too!
Craft it up!: This one might be significantly easier for the kiddos, but it can still be fun! Admittedly, I haven't come across many adult books that have patterns or instructions at the back like recipes for creations in the book however this is still a fun idea! It's also a great opportunity to learn a new skill, even if you discover it's not for you. Again, there are a couple of ways you can go about this. You can literally make the same thing they do in the book (i.e a crocheted baby blanket in rainbow colors) or you can create something that reminds you of the characters or an item in the book. Really, it's about creating something that gives you the feel of the book more than anything. It's not about creating perfection (please remind me of this when I sit down to craft next time), it's about honoring the story and having fun as you express yourself.
The obvious one: Book club, or a reading buddy. There is something so fun about talking books with someone else who loves to read, too. You don't even have to be reading the same book. And don't get me started on the feeling you get when you recommend a book to someone and they love it as much as you predicted! Of course, for this one you do kind of need another person but if you really want to talk books with yourself, I won't stop you (nor will I call the authorities). Book clubs are a great way, obviously but just having friends that you talk to about books regularly somehow makes reading feel like a group activity.
Write Reviews: Hold on! Before you run away screaming or accusing me of having to many writing projects on this list, hear me out. And yes, I might have multiple writing projects on here. I tend to fancy myself a low key writer so it's kind of my thing! When I say write reviews, I don't mean for a magazine or anything. Just write a review. Talk about the story, the characters, what you loved about it and what you hated. Rate it. Recommend it, or recommend passing it up. You don't even have to share it with anyone. Keep it for yourself, show it to you're besties, post it on your private personal media, share it with Thestorygraph.com or Goodreads. Or create your own blog devoted to it. The option is yours!
Special reading snack: This is for those food motivated readers! Pick a snack that you're comfortable eating while you read (a drink works well, too) and designate it to just reading times. This adds a little something special to your reading time. And, hey, if you get sick of one snack, switch it for another! No one will judge you!
Watch them: So you've read the book, now what? Grab your favorite movie snacks and drinks, done your comfy clothes, snuggle into the couch and watch the screen adaptation. Warning, if you're anything like me, just remember that you'll have to pick up the popcorn you threw at the T.V when they did something "wrong" or you see the character you despise on the screen. Make it a night in alone, date night with the partner, girls night in or even a backup plan when the weather snuffs out your original plans. Plus, it's really fun to go on for hours about how the movie and the books are different and telling whomever you watched it with about your favorite parts of the book that didn't make the screen cut, so there are some perks to watching it with someone who hasn't read the book.
Journal: This kind of goes on the same line as writing a review. Create (or buy) a book journal. Write a little every time you read or maybe just when it's over. This is all about diving in, thinking deeper and exploring the story and what it means to you. You can use prompts or not. You can use book club discussion questions (some books have them at the back but online is also a great source) or come up with your own. This is all about you expressing yourself and thoughts about your book, for better or for worse.
And there we have it, twelve ways to bring your books off of the page and into your reality! I hope that you'll try some of these and enjoy them! If nothing else, they yield to some new (and hopefully fun) experiences.
What's your favorite way to make reading more interactive? Tell us in the comments!