What happens when reading becomes a struggle?
The last few months I’ve struggled with reading. At first, I didn’t think much of it. Now, I’m actually worried.
Reading has always been something that comes naturally to me. I almost always have a book in my hand (or on my phone, or Kindle, or MacBook). This development is new.
I can’t seem to finish anything.
If you opened my Kindle right now, you’d see about 10 unfinished books. The same goes with my Playster audio book account.
Both of them are reminders that I’m not reading. Staring me back in the face.
As of right now, it’s June 21st and I haven’t finished a single book this month. Last month, I’d only read one book up through about May 21st. At first, I wasn’t worried because I had friends visiting from out of town, then I was sick with the flu. So, I didn’t have time to read.
But it was sort of the same story. I read three books last month in total. And two of those were crammed into the last two or three days of the month.
I felt like I was cheating. I specifically picked two books that were super short so I could just ‘get through them.’
You’ll see the results in my summary too. I gave them all three’s, I wasn’t feeling them.
My Unfinished Reading List
Unfortunately, history is repeating itself.
I’ve started and faded on no less than six books in the last 3 to 4 weeks:
- The Terror Years: From al-Qaeda to the Islamic State by Lawrence Wright (41%)
- Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt (17%)
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (33%)
- Seasons in Hell: The Worst Team in Baseball History by Mike Shropshire (18%)
- Nobody Wants to Buy Your Shit by Steven Pressfield (72%)
- Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss (39%)
Oy, that list.
If I’d devoted all my time to one book at a time, I’d likely be through two and on my way to a third right now.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
And it’s not even that I’m not enjoying the books. I love Lawrence Wright. I’m learning quite a bit about negotiation from Chris Voss. And The Night Circus is sparking my interest.
But, I find myself losing focus after even 10 minutes of reading or listening to anything.
With the end of the month looming, and my Monthly Reads for June looking decidedly barren, something’s gotta give.
So, what to do?
I guess the obvious answer is read.
Beyond that, I need to figure out what distractions are taking away from my attention.
I’m going to guess the biggest culprit is social media (looking at you, Twitter) and cable news.
It’s no secret that I have a left-leaning view of the world. So without getting too far down the rabbit hole of politics, the political climate right now is something I’m not exactly thrilled with.
I actively follow politics. Both because I want to be an informed citizen and also well, I like the dynamics behind it.
But, more and more the last few months, I’m finding myself sucked into it. I’ve been spending my reading time on shows, podcasts, and long reads all about politics.
No wonder my reading is in a funk.
A Fresh Start (and a Challenge)
So, what’s a girl to do except unplug?
I’ve been talking a bit about 30-day challenges in my business life, so it might have to run over to this. A 30-day challenge to take away the distractions (sorry Pod Save America) and focus more on what I love: reading.
I guess you can consider this a fair warning. We’ll see how I do considering I have about 2 weeks before my next Month Reads post goes up.
Will I be able to slot those unfinished books into the finished pile and (finally) update my Goodreads account? Or will you be getting a very short book report soon?
I guess only time will tell.
But for now, it’s about time I stop writing and start reading.