Reigniting Your Love For Reading During A Global Pandemic

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Hi everyone,

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!

Stay safe,

ash x


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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!

If you’ve not listened to audiobooks before, the best places to start would be Audible or    Scribd. They’re both subscription services that offer a month free trial – they’re definitely worth trying!

 

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


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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.

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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:

BeatTheBacklist2020_Banner-scaled
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):
https://ashleighbekkah.wordpress.com/2018/01/09/beat-the-backlist-2018/

reading-challenge-2020
Here’s Popsugar’s 2020 announcement post if you’d like more information:
https://www.popsugar.co.uk/entertainment/reading-challenge-2020-46911508

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:
https://ashleighbekkah.wordpress.com/2020/01/30/popsugar-reading-challenge-final-update/

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!


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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:

OWLS TBR
OWLS Week One Update

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!


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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!


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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!


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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.


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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!


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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 🙂


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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!



Here are some links if you need help during the Coronavirus outbreak, information and a link to donate to help the NHS during this difficult time:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
https://mentalhealth-uk.org/help-and-information/covid-19-and-your-mental-health/
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-support-from-business
https://www.mind.org.uk/
https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/coronavirus-fightback
https://www.blood.co.uk/news-and-campaigns/news-and-statements/coronavirus-covid-19-updates/

Social Media Links:
For The Love Of Books Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/FTLOBOOKS/
Personal Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ashleigh.williams.9041
For The Love Of Books Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/FTLOBOOKS
Personal Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/ashleighcanflyy/
For The Love Of Books Twitter – https://twitter.com/FTLOBOOKS
Personal Twitter – https://twitter.com/ashleighcanflyy
Goodreads profile – https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/69229254-ashleigh-williams

Contact me:
Email – ashleigh-bekkah@hotmail.co.uk

Credit to:
Beat the backlist photo
Popsugar photo

64 thoughts on “Reigniting Your Love For Reading During A Global Pandemic

  1. Debbie says:

    I haven’t been able to read ever since the pandemic started. But the last week I have been able to read a bit more I just can’t seem to be able to focus to be able to physically read, so I have been listening to audiobooks while doing a new hobby of mine, diamond painting.

    Like

  2. Shona says:

    This is such a great post! I’ve never personally tried buddy reading but this sounds like such a great and fulfilling way to reignite your love for books and reading if you’re in a slump, and it gives you a fantastic excuse to catch up with a friend whilst in lockdown. I hope you get out of your reading slump and find your love for reading again soon x

    Like

  3. bookishcoffeeblog says:

    I feel and appreciate this post so much. You are definitely not alone in these feelings, and I have been trying all of these things to get out of my reading slump. Audiobooks, buddy reads, and readathons have been so helpful to me during this difficult time!

    Like

  4. Davida Chazan says:

    I really feel like I’m the only one who is either reading more or simply not having any problem concentrating on reading. But I know lots of people need posts like this, so good on you!

    Like

  5. cielobellerose says:

    This is such a helpful post during this tough times! One advice I would give when it comes to reading is to know when to set your limits – specially during self isolation, is easy to get lost inside books and forget to do other things for yourself and your mental and physical health💖
    I loved this post. I’ll take your advices into consideration!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sarah | Sarah's Book Life says:

    This is a great post! I’ve been struggling with focusing on reading lately and I’ve only read 2 books as audiobooks. If it wasn’t for audiobooks I probably wouldn’t have read anything the whole time I’ve been stuck at home.
    I think I might have a look at some of the readathons you mentioned, I’ve only took part in 1 before and I’d like to try doing some more 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Gabby says:

    This is an incredible post!! It’s funny because this pandemic has had the exact opposite effect for me–– I have the time to read a TON more now than I did before. I think I’m going to look more into some of these reading challenges, I’ve seen a couple posts about them today and they seem like they work motivation-wise!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Brooke Carrington says:

    This is an awesome article! I love audiobooks but I have noticed I have had a more difficult time concentrating on them lately. Usually, I listen on my drive to work but now my drives are short because there is no traffic so its harder to get into them. I’ve been trying to listen more when I clean but just not getting as much listening in. Since I’m not spending all my time driving I have been reading more physical books which is nice. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ellie Rayner says:

    What a great post Ash, I loved reading all your tips, they are awesome. I’m currently participating in the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon and a few other challenges, as well as a buddy read and having a massive TBR for April, so it’s definitely keeping me on my toes, but I’ve been distracted a lot! When I’ve felt the urge to read, unless I have to read a book for a review, I just read what takes my fancy, there isn’t much point in pushing to read books that just don’t grab you! I hope you get to read more soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jenna- JK I'm Exploring says:

    My roommate and I made a bet the beginning of all this about if we could finish x number of books in a week and it really helped me find my focus. Since then I’m splitting my time between my class and reading/blogging so I try to balance it out.
    You have such great tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lara says:

    So many good ideas! You actually reminded me that I think I have a couple of credits on audible so I might go check out some of the audiobooks you recommended. I’ve been smashing through reading since the lockdown started but I slowed down a bit this week and I think it’s because I’ve been forcing it too much so thank you for including that last point!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mere says:

    I’m doing owls! Since I’m still going to work I don’t feel so trapped. My reading is pretty normal still at the moment, which I’m glad for. I have dnf’d and not liked quite a few books recently

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ash Williams says:

      Ah awesome, what career did you choose? Me too, it still feels strange but less cut off from society than if I wasn’t working. Ah that’s good that you’re still reading normally, DNFs can be so frustrating. Hope your next read is better 🙂

      Like

  13. scarletstar56 says:

    I loved this post. It’s incredibly important for people to remember that what they love does not have to stop being something they love in the middle of a pandemic. Truly, it means that they need that love, even more, to get through. Reading is such a great way to experience things like travel and emotions and escapism and learning especially while trapped inside. So glad you wrote this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. phanniebeingginger says:

    I totally agree with you 💯! Audiobooks help me so much when I’m in a reading slump and they especially make me productive. I want to clean the whole house up. Every single time! During these times I like to read fantasy books because I can escape into a completely different world. But I also like fluffy romances a lot because they make me forget what’s happening in the real world. Thank you for this amazing post! 💛 and stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. eleanor sophie says:

    Great post! Lots of good ideas, some I’m already doing and some I might try. I’ve been reading and developing new hobbies a lot more recently because for me it’s really important for my mental health to keep busy. Glad you’re safe and well!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. laceanddaggerbooks says:

    I won’t lie so far being on furlough has actually meant that I finally am getting through my books but just before I started I had been in a slump for a while.

    One thing that actually helped was watching booktube especially TBR games. Seeing other people excited about books and having fun with them made me want to read. And it’s another pleasant way of spending time stuck indoors so an extra tip!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. devouringbooks2017 says:

    I totally relate. I havent been able to get into a book lately at all. I pick it up read a chapter and then set it aside. Again and again. I am trying to read lighter reads because they’re easier to sink into but I do wish that I could sink into a 500 page fantasy with amazing world building and great characters but it’s just not happening right now. Normally I read exclusively ARCs for the most part but right now I cant get excited for almost any book. So I’m looking at backlist titles I’ve wanted to read and if anything gets me really excited I am trying it. Its just like with everything going on at home since my mom was exposed it’s just all too much. I did binge watch riverdale and am totally all for some great netflix recs because I need distractions and if it cant be books then shows and movies it is. Sending hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ash Williams says:

      I’ve been exactly the same too, lost count how many books I’ve picked up only to set aside again, it’s so frustrating! Lighter reads are a great idea, hopefully reading a few of those will help you want to sink your teeth back into a long fantasy again! That’s a great idea, I’ve set aside arcs for some older reads recently too.

      Oh goodness, that’s not good. I hope your mom is doing okay? Sending you all well wishes and hugs xx

      Like

  18. Beth Aldrich says:

    Brilliant post, Ash. I can tell so much time went into this post! It’s nice to see people joining together and helping others in this time.

    love u x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ash Williams says:

      Thank you so much Holly, I really appreciate it! It’s such a great distraction from everything going on at the moment, so glad to have fallen back in love with both again after being in a reading and blogging slump for so long! I’m well thanks, hope you are too! Stay safe x

      Liked by 1 person

  19. geekylorraine says:

    This is such a brilliant and needed post! You did a great job with it.

    For me, if I’m struggling, I’ll read a book that a friend loves. It means I’ve got motivation, because the friend knows I’m reading a book they’ve recommended, and it’s automatically someone to talk to about the book and get me excited to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ash Williams says:

      Thank you so much Lorraine, was a bit nervous about how it would be received but hoping it helps others! That’s such a good idea, there’s nothing better than enjoying a book your friend has recommended and loved. It definitely helps with motivation to read 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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