Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I. Can't. Read.

I have 4 piles of books next to my bed, a total of 70 books. There are an additional 30+ books on my Kindle waiting to be opened. I have a running "to-read" list on a Google Doc, that now numbers 105 (thankfully, some of those are also part of the physical pile or on the Kindle, but probably less than 20). I have two authors out there who are probably really annoyed with me because they sent me copies of their books weeks (months?) ago and I just haven't had the chance to look at them yet.

The last three books I've read have been for work reviews, and I even have one right now that is painfully overdue (don't tell the boss).

I'm in a reading rut. A complete stand-still. It's like a government shutdown on my brain. And I don't know why! Well, I sort of know why. I'm stressed at home right now, I'm over-tired, I'm doing too much in too little time. But I just don't have any motivation right now. Every book in the pile is a good one (believe me, I weeded an additional 30 of them out last month!), each one is something I really, really want to read. But I just can't muster up the initiative to crack one open. Instead, I check Facebook all evening. Or slog through emails. Or play this ridiculous Nemo game on Kindle. I know full well I am wasting time, but I peek over at the pile of books and I hang my head in shame.

When I was commuting by train for work, I used to read 3-4 books a week. The fact that I read ONE SINGLE BOOK ALL SUMMER for fun is killing me. And it was a great book! Kate Atkinson's Life After Life. Couldn't put it down! Loved every page of it! Couldn't wait to talk to someone about it! I really thought that would help me get my reading mojo back, but nope. That was 2 months ago.

So I need advice. Or just some sympathy. I'm not looking for recommendations (hello, did you not read that I already have too many books to catch up on??), but if you've been in a reading rut, can you tell me how you broke out of it? Or just reassure me that eventually I'll get back into the swing of things?


Laura Barnes said...

I suspect that part of the problem is that your pile is making you feel like reading is One More Thing to Do. This happens to me, especially when I'm feeling stressed and overloaded. I'm a master procrastinator and piles of anything make that instinct kick in with a vengeance.

Try a novella. Or short stories. Or a graphic novel. Sometimes short form fiction jumpstarts my desire to read. Reread an old favorite, preferably one that makes you laugh.

Or download an audio book, put on hour headphones, and take a long walk. Again, I'd choose an old favorite (and probably one that makes me laugh like an idiot).

The idea is to reconnect with storytelling in a way that makes you relax and remember that books are fun. Because we both know they are.

Chris said...

My advice sounds silly, but it helped me a lot. Pick up the book that you need to read (probably the overdue book review) and carry it with you everywhere. When you have 3-15 minutes or more crack it open. If you're waiting in a Doctor's office, for an appointment, or anywhere that you have more than a minute or two just open the book and read.
Happy Reading.

Jill Engledow said...

Hi--this is months after you wrote this, but just want to say YES! about Life After Life. I wish every book were so engaging.
And I hope you got over your book burnout and are happily reading again.
Jill Engledow

Rebecca Vnuk said...

Thanks Jill! Still in the rut, sadly, but trying to claw my way out of it. I think I need to actually "schedule" myself reading time, which seems so odd, but I wonder if that will give me a kickstart.