I hope we’re all doing well and staying safe during this very surreal time.
Today’s post is going to be a little different to the typical posts I usually publish. I tend to try and keep this blog positive and full of interesting bookish content, but the current climate cannot be ignored. Given that Covid-19 is now a global pandemic, everyone has been affected by it in some way or another. It’s all that’s been filling up our news headlines, social media outlets and conversations.
I’m not sure how you have personally been affected by what’s going on across the globe, but I really hope you’re all doing okay. Currently in the U.K. we are in our third week of a nationwide lockdown. We can leave the house to do essential food shopping, pick up medication, go to work if you’re an essential worker and can’t work from home. We’re also allowed to leave the house for one form of exercise per day.
It’s tough, not seeing family and friends and it’s okay to express feelings of anxiety and it’s important talk about how you’re feeling. What’s happening is difficult, it’s heartbreaking to hear of the confirmed cases and those who have sadly passed away. If you’ve been personally affected by what’s going on and need help or support, please do check out the help links at the end of this post. While this time is tough, it’s important that we try to do everything we can to stay safe, protect the NHS, others and ourselves.
There will be a time again when we will find a new kind of normal, but in the mean time, it’s important to stay safe and be thankful for the little things. It’s also important to take some time out to practise self care and not neglect your own physical and mental health. Our hobbies are arguably more important than ever and provide us with some much needed joy during self isolation.
Like so many other bloggers and friends, I find joy in reading. It’s one of my favourite things to do and I enjoy the sense of escapism it provides. With everything that’s going on, while still going to work as I’m classed as a “key worker”, I’ve found it very difficult to find the urge to read. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve attempted to pick up a book, only to read a few pages and not pick it back up again.
From chatting with fellow bloggers and friends I know I’m not alone in this. There’s so many of us that are feeling the same way and are not finding the same joy in reading for a number of different reasons. For me, my mind can’t seem to focus on reading in the same way that it usually can. I’ve been able to read a handful of books, but not as many as I usually would. My mind keeps focusing on everything that’s going on. As the weeks have progressed I’ve been reading a little more, but not as much as I usually would.
I know there are plenty of other hobbies I could try instead of reading, but as this is a book blog, I thought it may be of use to share some of the things I’ve been doing the past few weeks to encourage myself to love reading again. If they help one other person find joy in this difficult time then this post was worth writing.
Let’s make this a discussion and help each other. If you’ve found any other ways to fall back in love with reading, then please leave them in the comments below as they may help others 🙂
I hope this post helps in some way. Thank you to all of the essential workers and NHS staff putting their lives at risk every day to help us through this pandemic. We are all so grateful for you!
This may spark debate as not everyone classes audiobooks as “legit” books, but don’t listen to that negativity – they absolutely are!
Audiobooks have been one of my only sources of reading over the last few months and I’ve enjoyed being able to still read books without having to focus on actually reading.
If you’re feeling worn out or don’t have the energy, or time to read, then this may be a great solution for you. I find it great to listen to audiobooks in bed, while cleaning, when I’m in the bath or when I’m walking the dog.
It’s so nice to have someone do all the work of reading to you, while you can still enjoy the story. It’s not for everyone, but it’s worth a try – it can be quite relaxing!
Audible currently have a sale on all of their audiobooks, with up to 50% off, which is an absolute bargain.
With everything going on at the moment, Audible have also made a bunch of their children’s books and classics absolutely free to listen to online. There’s so many books available from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling to Frankenstein – Mary Shelley. There’s even some YA on there like The Near Witch – Victoria Schwab and The Bone Witch – Rin Chupeco. Here’s the link: https://stories.audible.com/start-listen – it’s definitely worth looking into.
If you want some good audiobook recommendations, here are a few I loved:
This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
Our Stop – Laura Jane Williams
The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien (Robert Inglis version)
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Mackenzi Lee
Final Girls – Riley Sager
The Cruel Prince – Holly Black
Is there really a better way to fall back in love with reading than picking up a book by one of your absolute faves? While this may not work for everyone, it’s definitely worth trying!
In the past I’ve found revisiting some of my favourite authors helps to shift a reading slump, even if I don’t finish the reread and just read a few chapters. If one of your favourite authors happen to have a new book out, or a book you haven’t read yet (not likely I know), it’s always worth giving this a go.
Sometimes revisting a book you love, or an author you enjoy will encourage you to continue reading a book. For me, reading Darren Shan’s short story Koyasan got me excited to read again last week. He’s one of my favourite childhood authors and reading his books always brings me joy.
Reading challenges can be a great way to spark an interest in reading again. Not only does it set the challenge of reading a certain number of books, if it’s a popular reading challenge, then other people will also be participating.
For me, it helps knowing that others are taking part in a challenge as it encourages me to want to pick up a book. I enjoy the challenge of reading a certain number of books in a set time and it’s a great way to get to know others in the reading community.
You don’t have to finish all of the books you planned on reading, there’s no pressure, but planning a TBR and talking about it online may encourage your passion for reading to resurface.
If you don’t know where to start, there’s SO many reading challenges available online from short challenges to yearly ones! I’ve participated in a few over the years, here are some good ones:
For this reading challenge you try and read as many books on your backlist as possible in a year. By backlist, I mean books published before the year we are currently in. It’s a great way to get around to those books that you’ve been neglecting and have been sitting on your shelves for months/years.
Here’s Novel Knight’s 2020 announcement post if you’d like more information: https://www.novelknight.com/beat-the-backlist/
Here’s my Beat the Backlist post from 2018 (#Throwback):
Here’s Popsugar’s 2020 announcement post if you’d like more information:
This is another challenge that takes place every year. There’s a big list of challenges for you to complete, with an extra section containing more reading prompts if you complete the first set.
This is a big challenge so last year when I participated I gave myself a set amount of books I wanted to read for this challenge. While I didn’t fully complete the challenge, I surpassed the amount of books I wanted to read for the challenge by a long stretch.
Here’s my Popsugar reading challenge final post from 2019:
If you do a quick Google or Twitter search you’ll see that there’s SO many reading challenges out there to participate in, there really is a challenge for everyone!
If you’ve got any suggestions for reading challenges to complete then leave them in the comments below!
Similar to reading challenges, readathons may be a great idea for you if you enjoy reading a number of books in a shorter period of time. They’re popular within the book community and just like reading challenges, they may reignite your passion for reading again. There’s so many great readathons that take place throughout the year, one to suit everyone.
If you’re reading this post just after it’s been published, there’s currently two brilliant readathons taking place right now, that you may be interested in!
Magical Readathon 2020
This readathon focuses on the two sets of exams Hogwarts students take in years 5 and 7. There’s two main readathons a year that take place in the spring and summer. The first one is the O.W.L’s that are taking place right now! There’s still plenty of time to plan and create your TBR list.
You can read my TBR and Week one update posts here:
For more information on this readathon, don’t forget to check out G’s video. She created this amazing readathon and explains everything you need to know about it here:
Easter Readathon 2020
The second readathon taking place right now is the Easter Readathon by Kate from Reading Through Infinity. This readathon takes place every year during the long Easter weekend. There’s still time to read a book or two towards this readathon if you want to get involved right now!
Kate’s recently created a BookTube channel and you can check out her readathon announcement video here (don’t forget to subscribe while you’re there too!):
There are always so many readathons going on throughout the year. It’s always a good idea to have a quick Google or Twitter search for any ones that are upcoming. They can honestly be such a helpful way to get yourself reading again!
If you’re not a fan of readathons and find they add unnecessary pressure on to reading, why not try buddy reading with a friend instead?
All you need to do is choose a book to read together and then decide how many pages/chapters you’ll read each day. You don’t need to go crazy, maybe start with one chapter per day and see how you get on?
The great thing about buddy reading is that you’re not reading alone and because your friend will be on the same part of the book as you, you can create a discussion around it.
I’ve found buddy reading has really helped shift reading slumps in the past as I enjoy discussing the book and it’s something fun to do with friends while self isolating. You might not be able to chat about it over coffee, but you could have a daily/weekly zoom call where you both catch up and chat about the book instead? 🙂
Although everyone reads at different paces, if you choose a pace that suits both of you then buddy reading can be a great alternative to reading alone!
This one is pretty self explanatory in all honesty, but I thought I’d include it anyway as it’s helped my reading slumps in the past.
Reading a book you’re anticipating and have been excited to read for a while is one of the best ways you can get yourself out of a reading slump. As everyone’s reading tastes are so unique, ultimately only you can decide what books could get you out of a reading slump.
It’s worth trying to pick up that book you’ve been wanting to read for a while. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s the best feeling! I’ve found the books that have helped me get out of a reading slump have ended up being some of my favourite books!
For me, the place I’m reading affects my reading mood a lot. If I can’t get comfy, or if there is too much noise and distractions I can’t focus properly.
Find a place where you feel relaxed, be that in your room, a cosy armchair, the garden or in the bath – we all have our favourite spots. Try making them as comfortable as possible and if you like to listen to music, pop some on. Do you read with snacks and a drink? Go and grab yourself a hot chocolate and some biscuits before you settle down – or treat yourself to a cheeky pink gin! Grab a bath bomb and candles and make your bathroom nice and relaxing.
Wherever your favourite place is to read (given it’s in line with the government’s current guidelines) read there! The more comfortable you are, the more likely it is that you’ll want to read.
This tip is definitely easier said than done and I’d be lying if I said I regularly do this. BUUUUT… when I do, it definitely helps me read more.
Try putting your phone in a different room, hide the Nintendo Switch so you can’t play Animal Crossing (I see you!) and turn off the TV. Even if its just for 30 mins to an hour, you’ll be surprised by how much reading you’ll do when you’ve taken all of the distractions and Twitter scrolling away!
If all else fails and you’re still not feeling picking up a book then don’t. There’s no shame in taking a break from reading at all. Reading slumps happen to us all and sometimes forcing yourself to read can make the reading slump even worse.
If you find more joy in other hobbies and want to redirect your attention towards those things instead, then that’s absolutely fine. Don’t feel guilty about it – it’s okay. Try not to place an unnecessary amount of pressure on yourself to complete certain reading goals if you heart isn’t in it.
At the end of the day, you have to do what is best for you and your own mental health. Don’t punish yourself because you’re not reading a much as you hoped or as much as others are. We all have our own coping mechanisms, and if you’d rather spend your day playing Animal Crossing or binge watching your favourite TV show then do that instead.
We’re in a global pandemic, anxiety is heightened and there’s so much uncertainty everywhere. What matters the most at the moment is staying safe and making sure you’re looking after your physical and mental health. If reading will spark joy for you then carry on reading, if you need to take a break from books – do that! The books will always be there for you when you’re ready to pick them back up again 🙂
If you’ve got any useful tips, please do leave them in the comments below. I’d love for this post to be a discussion where we can all build each other up and find a love for reading again. Let’s spark some much needed positivity into the community. 🙂
What are your favourite ways to get yourself out of a reading slump? Do any of these tips work for you? Let me know!
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