I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been having a reading slump. I’ve been reflecting a bit on why that is, and how I’m trying to move on from it.
I have really been trying to keep on track with reading my resolution for the year, of reading more new books rather than only sticking to re-reads of the same comforting things, and of making time for those hobbies. I have always been a reader, but somewhere along the way, I lost the habit of reading.
I know people who wonder how big readers have the time to make it through their extensive shelves – I’ve occasionally wondered it myself. The answer is very simply making the time – and in recent years, I just didn’t. I still read, but most of my reading was confined to a half hour or hour in bed before I went to sleep. That affected my reading habits heavily, because obviously something completely new would keep me up wanting to keep on reading. Anything too action packed or stressful wouldn’t relax me enough to go to sleep. So I stayed in the same comfortable framework I’d built up through my teenage years, reading the same things or at least similar. I stuck with the same authors and genres. I didn’t make the time elsewhere to expand the boundaries the habit set me – I still sat down and watched the same series on Netflix instead of picking up a book, I still whiled away time playing the Sims. Those were the reasons behind my resolutions at the beginning of this year – I wanted to change my habits back to reading being an automatic reflex, not an event every once in a while.
I have started so many books with solid intentions of reading it through completely. At the moment though, I am so excited about so many books that I’ve ended up flitting between several without actually settling into any, and then getting stuck in a rut, feeling a bit silly for not managing to stick with any of those books. If I had been feeling a bit more determined, I’m telling myself, I should have been able to read all of these books by now.
I am currently most of the way through Kirsty Logan’s The Gracekeepers – and leaving this book unfinished is bothering me so much, because there is absolutely no reason that I stopped reading it. I am loving that book. Everything I have read so far I completely adored. And yet, it’s still on the coffee table with a bookmark two-thirds of the way through, not revisited. I’ve started a couple of memoir type books, gotten a good chunk into them in one sitting and then run out of steam.
I have read some books all the way through, but they were short ones – novellas, not novels, and a few short stories.
I think what is going on is just that I’m finding my rhythm again. With a new job, everything is finding a new place, not just my reading habits. When I get home in the evening, my eyes are tired from looking at a computer all day and my brain is tired because I’m still learning and settling in. It’s not to say I’m not enjoying my new job, just that it’s having unexpected effects on my reading – unexpected beyond thinking they wouldn’t happen, but as far as simply not having occured to me at all. Some part of me has always been confident that I would always find the time to read. I’ve always considered myself so much a reader that I couldn’t fathom not doing it.
I’ve discovered the secret. It doesn’t just happen. I do have to choose to do it. Which makes it all the more worthwhile, in the end.
So much has been happening in my life recently, and I am incredibly lucky that it’s all really lovely stuff – weekends away visiting family and friends, days out and nights in, new adventures and old routines being revisited. I am so lucky to have all of it. It is so lovely that all this is going on, but when I sit down in the spare time I have left, my head is so full of all of these things – and I’m just finding it more difficult to crawl out of my skin and disappear into something as completely as I did before.
I’m hopeful that this is just a phase, and will pass. I’m sure I’ll adapt – it’s not as though this is the first time in my life I’ve been busy. Apart from anything else, I’ve ordered a new pair of reading glasses, which will probably help. Reading isn’t the most attractive when I might get a headache from eye strain!
On the other hand, perhaps a different sort of luckiness is to blame – the fact I have so many exciting and wonderful things to read, that I’m a child in a sweetshop not knowing where to stop and relax first!