Book Lull

Reading time: 1 min

Teetering tall and shamed, the pile remains dust covered and untouched. A reminder of best efforts and failed endeavours, a totem of willing words, waiting to be uncovered.

And my parents added another two books to the top of it last week. Gah!!

I dare not count them for, not only would the number be high, it is likely that the number has almost doubled since the last time I checked (19). Most of the time this doesn’t bother me but every now and then I get a huge pang of guilt and promise that I’ll lock myself away with a good book or two and not come out until I’m done (or until someone else needs the loo).

Last month I slowly managed to plough my way through Live and Let Die, all 190-odd pages of it, a couple of pages a day over almost the entire month, whereas my norm is usually to devour a book in a few hours. This has been going on for a while and it really is getting ridiculous.

So, what to do? Schedule in a ‘book reading’ afternoon perhaps? Actually… that might just work. Get the coffee brewing, chuck the headphones on and lose myself in a good book. I have all the ingredients, so guess I just need to find the time.

Any hints or tips, my little bookworms? How do you get ‘in the mood’ to read a book? Do you have a routine? Or just read on a whim? Or is it so part of you that you can’t imagine NOT having at least three books on the go?

17 comments

  1. I need to go on holiday – expensive option I know but it’s the only place I can read for a few hours withough feeling I should really be doing something else. Why is it when I love books and know the value of reading that I’m so easily distracted?

  2. I don’t think I could try and force it, it really wouldn’t work. I love getting lost in a book, and will sit and read a book in a day or less if I’m in the mood, but I haven’t picked one up this year. I challenged myself this year to read all the fiction on my bookshelves that i haven’t touched yet. I haven’t even managed to get around to counting them, but still I can’t walk past a bookstore without feeling the pull.

    My mum always used to call me a bookworm, I feel sad that somewhere along the line I’ve lost the spare time, or reassigned the time to other things instead. I feel bad about all my poor books sitting waiting to get read!

    I guess I figure that when I get my literary mojo back, I’ll be speeding through them as usual, immersing myself in the plot, and it won’t matter I went so long without picking up a novel.

    Or, I agree with your mum, a holiday would really make a dent in that pile!

    (P.S Is this blog post too good for a title or sommat? ;))

  3. I get to read fiction when I go on holiday. I have to wait and get the books at the very last minute or I will start reading them before I go. Only very occasionally, I will get some reading done in the evening or on the weekends. There are always a few books on the bedside table, waiting to be read. . .

  4. I get into reading funks like that all the time. They’re hard to break out of. I usually make an effort to spend an hour in the evening, not in bed, to sit down and really get into the book. I find once I get hooked it’s easier to find time.

    I’ve heard the best way out of the funk is to put down the book you’re trying to get through and pick up one you’re really excited about, but I have a really hard time stopping a book midway.

    And I feel your pain with the to-read list. According to goodreads.com, I have 57 books on my bookshelf waiting to be read. Shameful, really.

  5. Reading before bed is my norm. That and reading in the bath. But it is generally helped by the fact that I don’t like much on TV (if I watch more than an hour a week, it’s unusual), so I often go to bed really quite early and sit and read for 45 minutes or more.

    So, maybe switch off any device that glows (well, apart from the lights, obviously) and see what happens?

  6. Post title added.

    I think creating the habit will be the hardest thing. I’m a night owl and tend to work late in the evenings. So by the time I get home, dinner, relax for a bit it’s either TV (unlikely) or the computer to do some work. That invariably stretches things out until at least midnight … and I’m up at 6ish most mornings so… not a lot of time left.

    Perhaps if I got up earlier on a weekend morning (usually between 9 and 10) I could fit in some book reading then. Hmmmm. Might be a plan!

  7. I used to read more but thought I did not have the time. Then a few months ago some friends who live locally started a book club, and now I read a book every month or so. We even have a discount at our local bookshop where we order our books in bulk. We take turns in choosing the next book and then hosting the gathering.

    So far we have had a diverse mix of choices: Me Talk Pretty One Day, Love in the Time of Cholera, The Dark Heart of Italy, Persepolis. Biography, fiction, socio-cultural analysis, graphic novel.

    And yes, I usually end up cramming most of the book during the last available weekend anyway.

  8. Depends how you prefer to work, really. (And admittedly, I’m from the “always have three books on the go” school of thought)

    At home I normally work on my own stuff ’til 9.30/10pm, then the PC gets turned off. After that, it’s reading time – plus more time once I’ve gone to bed.

    Other than that, I also always make sure I take a break at lunchtime, go out, sit somewhere and read while eating lunch. Sure, it means books get sandwich crumbs etc. in, but it’s good to have the time out, get some fresh air, and generally just not be in the office.

  9. Oh, stealing your comments box a little, but thanks @Rob for the goodreads site, i think listing everything i have left to read on there might give me some motivation.

  10. I love reading on the train. But seeing as I now walk to work, my daily commute & read has become more difficult. Also, I’ve found that podcasts are gradually eating into my reading time.

    I’ve basically decided that there aren’t enough hours in the day.

  11. I’m not the only one then. I’m quite puzzled that my usual three or four books a week habit just vanished last year, after a lifetime of obsessive reading. Recently I’ve been reading more though – I wouldn’t push it, but make a point of always having at least one book on the go.

    I think what really did it was reading several highly-praised modern novels that were pretty poor. So life was much more interesting than indifferent fiction. I got back into it by reading older books, even rereading books I knew I would get lost in. I’d also suggest carrying the book around with you and reading a page or two whenever you have a spare couple of minutes. Once you get back into it, you might regain your enthusiasm. But if you don’t, actually life isn’t all about books. I never thought I’d say that.

  12. I’d agree with Z in that at the moment there seem to be a lot of highly praised (and very popular) books that are poorly/badly written. (The “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” books spring readily to mind here, although there’s plenty of others I just couldn’t be doing with)

    As such, there’s been a definite process of late of not paying so much heed to what other people say (not that I paid that much attention anyway) and just going for what interested me.

    There’s also something to be said for borrowing books from the library, and thus only having a three-week timescale to read them in…

  13. If you don’t feel like reading books, then why feel pressured by the fact that you’re not reading them?

    ‘Should’ is the bane of our lives today.

  14. I have this inane desire to improve myself. I think reading will help do that, and I enjoyed it in the past.

    And it’s not healthy to sit at a PC as long as I do.

    And a million other reasons.

    And it’s “want”, not “should”. I didn’t say I should be reading more books. I want to for the reasons stated above.

    And I thought ‘what ifs’ were the bane of our lives today?? I’m confused!

    (and I switched your comments so you got a blue thingy, don’t say I’m not good to you! I can let you know which email it is if that helps)

  15. You should do what I did. Give up your job and go and live half way up a mountain in the west of scotland where there is no TV signal. You get a LOT of reading done that way, trust me!

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