Stuck in a Reading Rut?


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When you’re a bookworm, everyone just assumes that you’re reading all the time; that you read whatever you can get your hands on.

In my experience, this isn’t the case.

There have been stretches of time in my life where I would like to read but I can’t finish a book. I buy lots of books with the intention of reading, but never quite get through them.

I have been in one of those stretches over the last year. That’s right… I said year.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been listening to audiobooks quite a bit, but somehow it doesn’t feel the same. Not to say that listening to audiobooks isn’t the same as reading. I miss the smell of a book though. I miss the physical action of moving around and trying to find that perfect comfy spot that allows you to read without your arms falling asleep.

For whatever reason, that has escaped me. I’m not sure if it’s because other hobbies have found their way in. I have been cross stitching quite a bit and audiobooks are ideal for that. Maybe I can’t find anything that I want to spend the time to read. Who knows?

I do know that when I have sat down to read I’ve felt like I was wasting my time. Which is ridiculous. The very act of reading gives your mind mental exercise. However, if I’m listening to an audiobook I can get supper made or fold the laundry. I can’t do that if I’m sitting down and just reading.

That being said, I have to make time to do just that.

In the past, I have tried a few different tricks to get myself out of the rut, so if you’re stuck in the same predicament, here are my suggestions:

Read Poetry

Poems tend to be short. That means the time commitment to reading them is also short. If you commit to reading one poem each night, you might find yourself wanting to read another.

If the idea of poetry is too much for you, short stories or flash fiction might work here. Flash fiction tends to be under 1,000 words and has a full story included.

Schedule Time

Sometimes, distractions like family and pets can be the reason we don’t take the time to sit down. Scheduling time for reading may help to set the mood. Getting up a bit early and reading with a cup of coffee might be the thing that gets you going in the morning. Or maybe it’s settling down at night and reading at bed for a half an hour.

Either way your mind and body will get used to having that time.

Read Outside your Usual Genre

If you always read murder mysteries, maybe your mind needs a break. Try picking up a good ol’ fashioned romance novel. It might do the trick for you. Or maybe try non-fiction writing, that way you know you’re learning something, too.

Find an Easy Read

Not all books are easy to read. There is a difference between picking up Storm Front by Jim Butcher and choosing The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

Butcher’s novels are entertaining, urban fantasy stories that run about three hundred pages. There is a lot of action and humour, not a lot of heavy, thematic reading.

Tartt’s novel, The Goldfinch, was 864 pages long. It was an impressive book, but it was a book that was meant to make you think. Her novels are filled with symbolism and themes. They require the reader to pay more attention.

Sometimes we just want a fast, entertaining, action story. Or a hot and heavy Nora Roberts book.

CharmingRight now, I’m working on getting out of my reading rut by using two of these strategies. I’m currently reading Charming by Elliott James. It’s a light, urban fantasy about knights, Valkyries, vampires and other awesome creatures, which is right up my alley.

I make sure to leave myself time just before bed to read. I don’t read every night. If I’m too tired I respect my body and get the sleep I need. But I’m reading often enough, in small enough chunks, that I’m able to digest the story. Because I’m going to bed, I don’t feel like I need to be doing anything else. I can dedicate my time and energy to exploring a different world.

I hope that my tips can help you get through any reading ruts you’re in. If you’d like a book recommendation, drop me a line. I will be happy to share some titles with you.

Until then, Happy Reading!

The Beguiled Bibliophile

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