Chances are, with the world being kind of a mess right now, you’ve been forced to spend a lot of quality time indoors. And if you’re anything like me, you looked at all this free time and thought you might as well try to get through your ever-expanding reading list.
But, standing in front of your bookshelf, staring at those titles that were so appealing when you snatched them up at the bookstore, you feel… uninspired. No matter what you do, you just can’t muster up the energy to grab one of those books and just start reading.
Then you get distracted by your cats making a mess in the other room and end up cleaning that up for twenty minutes before siting down to watch reruns of Murder, She Wrote until you fall asleep. If you’re anything like me, anyway.
That’s right: you’ve fallen out of love with books.
Don’t panic; it happens to us all. Chances are that even if you’ve been head-over-heels for reading since childhood, if you’re someone who loves to read, you’ll find yourself in a reading slump for one reason or another. So, I thought I would share with you a few tidbits of wisdom to help you get back into books, and hopefully fall in love with reading all over again.
1) Remember to breathe
This may seem obvious, but it’s something I have to remind myself of every day. It’s okay – in fact it’s really, really good for you – to take a moment and just breathe every once in a while. It’s okay to have other things on your mind right now that might take priority over your current reading list.
The world will not end if you take a little longer to finish this bestseller or type up that new review, I promise. Focus on finding something that makes you excited to turn the page. And just as importantly, don’t be afraid to stop reading something that becomes a chore to read (and no, I am not speaking from experience here, not one bit).
Reading a good book is how I unwind after a long day, and it can be an amazing part of your self-care routine. But don’t let your to-be-read list become something that stresses you out.
2) Find time for reading
Reading can, unfortunately, become a bit an afterthought when it’s made into the thing you do in between life’s more urgent assignments. It’s hard to get through three chapters a day when you’re also trying to balance school, work, and any attempt at a social life before you collapse from exhaustion.
My suggestion: make reading time a part of your routine.
Try to find some time that works for you, any time at all as long as you won’t be interrupted (as much as possible, anyway), and make that your designated reading time for the day. Maybe it’s in bed after dinner, on the route home from work, or even getting in a chapter or two during your lunch break. Wherever you fit reading into your day, remember that a little reading is better than no reading at all. Even if you only read one chapter a day, by the end of the month you’ll probably be done!
And then it’s on to the next book.
3) Make it part of your self-care
This might not be the same for everyone, especially if you have to read for your job, or business or school assignments, but if you make reading a part of your regular self-care and relaxation, you’ll be surprised how much you come to enjoy reading once again.
Read while you’re relaxing outdoors with nature, or while you’re washing the day’s stress away in the tub. Or, if you can’t take the time to get away from it all, just make it part of how you unwind at the end of the day. Maybe you listen to music as you commute home, or re-watch old shows while you’re getting reading for bed. You can do those while you read! I personally love having some quiet music in the background while I’m reading – and if you have incredible timing, it can even enhance the action on the page!
If you include reading with what relaxes you, what helps you take care of yourself and get you through the day, you’ll find that it that much easier to make time for a good book.
4) Try something completely different
We all have a genre we prefer reading. For me it’s definitely fantasy and science-fiction, and I always find myself returning to those titles time and time again. They catch my eye and fire my imagination every time I enter my local bookstore. But occasionally, I feel like I’ve seen all the same-old fantastical tropes and clichés one too many times, so I’ll grab something from the exact opposite end of the bookstore and see what happens.
Sometimes I end up with an incredible story that I might have otherwise overlooked, and I’m introduced to an entire new genre of books for me to obsess over and fill up my bookshelves once more.
Sometimes it’s not exactly what I’d hoped for, and that’s okay too. Because that helps to remind me of what I do enjoy, and can help remind me why I love reading a particular genre so much and why I keep coming back to it again and again.
Give something new a try. Look at bestsellers in other categories, or check out that book your friends have been raving about lately. You might be surprised what you’ll find.
5) Try revisiting some old favourites
Whenever you find yourself in a reading slump, you can always pick up your favourite book again. There’s nothing wrong with reading the same book over again, particularly if it was something you really enjoyed or made you look at things a different way. Or even if it’s just for the fun of it.
I watch the same old movies and tv shows for the familiar comfort they bring, and it’s the same feeling I get whenever I reread books I loved, even those from when I was a child. There’s nothing wrong with returning to old, familiar favourite. They can give us the strength and comfort we need to face the day, and remind us why we loved reading so much in the first place. After that, we can move on to tackling something new.
6) Talk with other readers
It might seem odd, considering that reading is typically a solitary sport (horrible, scaring English group projects notwithstanding), but there’s nothing that helps remind me how much I love reading than talking about it with other readers. Something about that shared enthusiasm for stories, that passion for the written word, is infectious. Finding someone who has the same favourite book as you can create life-long friendships in the span of a few minutes, and commiserating over the same terrible author you both despise can turn a terrible reading experience into an amazing memory.
Sign up for platforms like Goodreads, or join reading forums online or in your local community. You’ll be surprised how much talking about books can make you want to read more of them.
7) Don’t sweat the off-days
There will be days when you just don’t have the time or the energy to read, and that’s absolutely okay. Unless your job or school requires you to read a certain amount every day, there’s really nothing wrong at all with taking a day off to watch crap television or get to bed early when you just can’t face the idea of picking up a book.
Why am I saying that in a post about learning to love to read again? Because time apart is an equally important part of any good relationship. Reading should be something fun, something you look forward to, something you enjoy. If it becomes just another chore to check off your to-do list each day, I think it can lose some of it’s magic.
Try and make time for reading, but don’t sweat it when things just don’t work out. It just means that you’ll have built up even more anticipation for what happens next when you do get back into it.
The most important part of falling back in love with reading is knowing that the magic will come back, even if it’s been gone for longer than you’d like.
Take it from someone who thought she’d never pick up another book again for three very long years; you can always fall back in love with a good book.
On to the next chapter!
(Edit: Just made a change to the title image! Let me know if it’s an improvement.)