Stuck in The Middle (of a Reading Rut) with You
Often when I’m chatting to a fellow bookworm, I ask what they like to read, what they’ve bought with them to Soneva Fushi and do they get much of an opportunity to read usually. More often than not, they say how much they love reading but that they don’t get to do it as much as they’d like. Even more commonly, they say that they’re in a reading rut and stuck in some Groundhog Day-like cycle of reading ten or so pages, not being able to make time to progress and then having to go back when they do finally get an opportunity.
Even as the Barefoot Bookseller, I also know it can be hard to find time to sit down, switch off and connect with the world on the pages in front of you especially when life is busy and there are many demands on your time. I also think it can be so daunting seeing fellow readers devour books at warp speed. But I always try to remember when I’m picking out a book for myself; it’s not about what everyone else is reading, or how quickly, or how many books but rather it’s about what I want to explore, at my own pace and it’s purely about my enjoyment.
So, if you’re stuck in a reading rut, or feeling a bit uninspired or daunted about cracking the spine on more books over the coming months, then check out the tips I’d recommend below:
Reread one of your favourite books
It will remind you what you love about reading! I recently returned to Barcelona by way of The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron, and you can read more about why it’s my go to comfort read here.
Accept that it’s okay to abandon books you’re not enjoying
I know some people say give it a few chapters, but in my opinion, if it’s not grabbing you quite quickly then I’d shelve it for another time. There are so many books I didn’t enjoy initially but have returned to them at a later date to discover they’re wonderful thanks to reading them at the right time.
Streamline your TBR pile
Sometimes I'll look at my beside table and groan at the number of books I want to read "next". I recommend moving some of those books to your bookshelves and keep that space for only a few books. Hopefully that'll make your TBR pile seem less daunting and easier to get started again
Set small goals
If you’ve set a reading goal for the year then stop worrying about that big number and focus on enjoying that chapter, those five pages or ten per cent of the book a day or week. Before you know it, you will be back in the habit.
Ask everyone for recommendations
Friends, baristas, or booksellers; they are a fount of untapped book knowledge. I love that when you've finished their book you can then catch up with the person and have someone to talk about it with. it's really nice to check in and share thoughts. Warning with this; it can be a bit awkward if you don't love it too which I recently experienced with The Night Circus.
Fine-tune the reading set-up
Pick a time and place that works best for you. I’m not a fan of reading before bed unless I’m finishing a book as I see it as an activity that engages my mind, whereas most readers I chat to say they see it as a way of winding down. Regardless, carve out time that works for you in your dreamy reading set-up. Personally, mine is: after breakfast with a huge cup of coffee, music in the background, and the sun beaming down on me next to the beach. Bliss.
Always carry a book with you
You never know when you might get a minute to jump back in! Whilst commuting, waiting in a queue, relaxing at the coffeeshop, whilst on the bike at the gym, on the jetty looking out on a beautiful sunset; the world is your reading oyster!
If you got any tips that you think work well that I might have missed, then drop us a line in the comment section below as we’d love to hear them.
And until next time, happy reading (fingers crossed anyway)!