I love to read (clearly, since I write for a website that’s entirely about books), but sometimes I can’t seem to summon the desire to pick up a book. Usually, I find this development stressful. I suppose it feels a bit like a betrayal to my character, but really, I can’t expect to be ready to read all day every day like a movie character. There are plenty of reasons why someone wouldn’t be able to focus, not all of which I know, given that I’m not an expert (really, anything I say in this article is just my thoughts and exists to help others think and are not any sort of solution or fact). Here are some instances or reasons I’ve noticed cause me to have trouble focusing on books.
I’m a huge reader, but sometimes I have trouble doing it because all my focus is dedicated to books I have to read for classes. Even after I finish, the poor memories of having to spend an entire day reading sometimes I don’t even really care about makes me not want to pick up another book, even if it’s one that I love.
Having Other People Wonder How Much You Read
Am I the only one that feels a lot of pressure at trying to maintain my ‘bookworm’ status? When I was younger, I read when I wanted to, and this happened to be a lot, but reading began to feel like a status symbol rather than a hobby. After that, I felt pressure to read, and the more pressure I felt the less it made me want to read. I hate comparing my reading life to other people, whether I’m looking at number of books or what I am reading (It’s not fun when many people around you insist on mentioning whatever classics they’ve read first). I know that it all doesn’t matter, but it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.
It’s easy to get discouraged when you feel like you should understand something, but you don’t. This happens to me often with books I have to read for classes, where I want to understand them, but I can’t seem to. In this situation, I end up having difficulty reading other books as well because I feel guilty about not being able to finish the last book.
The Book is Not Right Book
Sometimes, I’ll pick up a book and try reading it, only to find myself to be not very invested. Instead of thinking “oh well,” and trying something else, I usually try to finish it, which results in me not wanting to read at all. One of these is Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library, which is probably a perfectly good book, but it just didn’t attract my attention. (I list it here partially because I feel bad I couldn’t finish it, especially since I love libraries and feel I should appreciate everything library related. Please give it love). People, including myself, you do not have to finish every book you get your hands on. Reading is supposed to be fun, unless you’re doing it for school or for some intense reading contest, so if you’re not enjoying yourself then move on to a book you will enjoy.
Cat Stuck in Glue Trap
This is very specific, you might be thinking, and yes, it is. But when you have to dedicate your time making sure your cat doesn’t accidentally eat glue off their paws, there’s not much of a chance to do much else. If this ever happens to you, don’t expect to accomplish much that day.
Sometimes, reading helps with stress. Other times, at least for me, it prevents it. Sometimes, I’ll come across something in a book that will make it worse, or I’ll just be too tired to give reading the attention it deserves. Sometimes the fact that I’m not reading contributes to my stress and it all becomes a fun cycle of anxiety. Hooray.
But you can never read too many books, right? I’m not sure that’s true. I find that if I spend too much time reading, I tend to become tired. I think it’s partially how I read books: by making my way through as fast as possible with very few breaks to do anything else. Perhaps if I took my time, this wouldn’t be an issue, or maybe it’s just possible to grow tired of even your favorite activities.
Something that I really need to internalize by that I know is that not being able to read a lot, or at all, isn’t any sort of failure. There’s not a set amount that people need to read to consider themselves bookworms, or to achieve respect as a reader. Books are here for our benefit, for our enjoyment, not as props for status. Do what makes you most happy.