How do I read? (In which I drag myself for being such a crap reader)


So in the last week my reading has really slowed down despite me having literally not a single other thing to occupy my time with until my course starts back up in April. I have a feeling it has a lot to do with me needing to focus extra hard on Crooked Kingdom in order to follow it properly, which means I plod through it rather than going at a nice steady pace.

Therefore, in an attempt at motivating myself I have decided to take a look at the kind of things I’ve noticed when I’m reading. I realise I’ve already done a post like this (check out my Reading Habits Tag!) but I thought going into it a bit more in depth couldn’t hurt! I know I love hearing about how other people read, so let’s hope you are all just as interested as I am! Or am I just weird?

I only read physical books

Which while it’s led to a nice collection on my shelves, it’s also meant that I can’t take advantage of other great formats for reading such as ebooks and audiobooks. It’s the audiobooks in particular that bugs me. I just can’t focus on the person telling the story, and it’s a shame because I could multitask and be like, ten times more productive! Plus, ebooks would save so much space, and would be immediately in my library. But I’m too easily distracted, and having a really bad memory for character names and fictional places means I have to be constantly flicking back and forth to remember who people are.

Distraction is at an all time max when I try to read

It doesn’t matter how brilliant or moving the book is, if I have a song stuck in my head (I’m looking at you Dear Evan Hansen) then I’m done for. Same with if something has bugged me that day, or if my room isn’t completely tidy. Or if I’m on a bus and someone is on the phone. Or I can hear their tinny music in their headphones. Basically, for someone who loves reading so much I spend most of my reading time actively avoiding reading. Why must I be like this?

I spend a lot of time that I should be reading looking at other books I wish I was also reading and then not actually reading the book I’m currently reading and so the books I want to read don’t get read

I’m sure I’m not the only person who suffers from this! In my flat at university, my bookshelf is in my eye line when I lie on my bed and read. It’s the only place the shelves will fit and my bed is the best place for reading, so there’s nothing to be done to fix the situation. Like with the previous point, I am easily distracted. My eyes will drift over to the books on my shelf, no matter how good my current read is, and I will just gaze longingly at the books I want to be reading for a good chunk of my reading time. Because of my toddler-level attention span, I will get no further with my book, will not read the books I also want to be reading, and end up with a TBR pile so big it sends me spiralling into a huge book slump.

I’m not the only one who does this, surely?

One of the best places I read is in the bath

Which is great! Baths are warm and bubbly and you can relax and get cleanish and also read all while letting the warm water wash away your stresses of the day… except my flat does not have a bath.

I can have a bath when I go home for weekends and stuff, so it’s not all bad. But why is my guaranteed best reading spot somewhere that a) is two train journeys away from me and b) somewhere it’s impossible not to get your books wet or get wiggly pages?

I get really demotivated with big books

Doesn’t matter how much I love the book (ACOMAF, Crooked Kingdom), if it’s got more than 450 pages then I am plodding through you at snails pace. I don’t know if it’s that holding them is harder, which makes me less comfortable which then spoils my concentration, or if it’s just that it’s a big book that takes a while to get through. All I know is that these books, one of which happens to be my current read, take me FOREVER and it generally tends to take away from the reading experience. And what really bugs me is that it’s nothing against the writer. They are usually wonderful. IT IS ME. I am an awful reader!

My reading speed is like, maybe the speed of a sloth. If that. 

I used to plough through books when I was a kid. Hit 15, was too cool to read and then made my triumphant return to avid reading aged 20 only to find out that I am suddenly half the speed I used to be. I want to make it clear: it’s okay to be a slow reader. I know this, I advocate it as much as I advocate people reading whatever the hell they want so long as they’re aware of the real world implications of what they choose to consume. But I want to read faster. My annoyance at being a slower reader than I’d like often frustrates me to the point where I don’t want to read for fear of spoiling the book. The joys of being a highly strung perfectionist eh?

I guess my reading is just something that is going to constantly change. Writing this post has kind of helped me see that (like many areas of my life) I need to just take a step back and CHILL OUT. Reading is so much more enjoyable when you can just go with it and do what works best for your mood at the time, instead of comparing or competing.

What about you guys? Is there anything you wish you could change about how you read? Any suggestions for improving my awful concentration?

I hope your reading is going better than mine and that you are finding the cold weather good inspiration for curling up and getting stuck into a book!


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