Having a Hard Time Reading?
From Vogue magazine to The Chronicle of Higher Education, everyone agrees that reading is kind of hard right now. Here are some suggestions on how to get back in the habit.
Neurologists, psychologists, and educators think they’ve pinpointed the culprit - stress. Specifically, anxiety caused by all of today’s uncertainties. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “anxiety is an expected part of life.”But prolonged stress can cause you to have a hard time concentrating, and this is having an impact on our ability to sit and read.
While the experts think they know what is causing our reluctance to sit down and enjoy a book, advice for how to try anyway comes from readers themselves. Here are a few suggestions.
Adjust your space and how you are sitting. Have the right light, the right scents (or lack thereof), a good temperature in the room, a comforting beverage. Put your feet up or keep them comfortably on the floor. Basically, get comfortable and make settling down to read a special occasion.
Vogue suggests changing up what you are trying to read and trying new formats. Try a different book length, style, or genre than what you would have reached for in the past. Try short stories, poetry, or plays if your go to was a 600-page doorstopper of a novel. If you previously enjoyed short, snappy novels, try and see if you can get lost in a long saga or series. Maybe now is a good time to try audiobooks? A good narrator can make a story come alive.
Try diving in to your “To Be Read” pile or fall back on re-reading a favorite to ease back in. On the other hand, you may find your former favorite genre is turning you off right now—some of us are looking at you Sci-Fi, medical suspense, and dystopian fiction. If so, try another genre... or four. Ask friends what they are reading. Some readers are finding support in new or revived book clubs and reader groups.
Keep looking until you hit on something that holds your attention long enough.
For help with the tips above, don’t forget to reach out to your library and librarians. We have all kinds of tools and collegial expertise to draw on to try and help. We understand your frustration, many of us are hard core bibliophiles struggling to finish a book nowadays, too. Our favorite thing is to help people get into- or back into- books and reading.
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