Earlier this month, something tragical happened to this reader. It was worse than a reading slump. O.o. This unhappy reader was spoiling endings for herself, reading ahead in a book even though she was enjoying it, and reading (and sometimes skimming) a ton of books she didn’t even like.
I just wasn’t enjoying reading.
After some thinking about it and talking with my mom, I came to two conclusions.
First, I needed reading glasses. Again. Weird story there, but two years ago I got reading glasses. They were such a low prescription, I felt like they were kinda optional until a few months ago when I lost one of the lenses and quit wearing them.
I didn’t realize it, but my eyes were actually skipping around on the page trying to focus on the oh-so-tiny words which was causing me a lot of fatigue. I mentally didn’t want to put a book down, but I’d start feeling inexplicably restless and read ahead. #oops #spoilers
We fixed that with a pair of cheapo grocery store reading glasses, and a few days later God actually helped me find the missing lens to my old glasses so now I have two pairs. 😀 (That’s actually a really cool story there, maybe I’ll tell it sometime.)
The other conclusion? I needed to read more slowly.
I was cramming books in so quickly, I didn’t have much time to think about or enjoy them. I think I might have fallen into the there’s-so-many-books-and-not-enough-time-to-read-them-but-I’ll-try-anyway pitfall readers encounter. But, quality over quantity, right? 😉
The ballpark goal I’ve set for myself is one book a week with some reading in a longer book (the kind that takes several months to finish) on the weekends. So far this has been working really well and has given me time to process each book and sometimes even write a review in the same week.
When I spread out a book over a few days, I also have time to wonder and speculate about the story while I’m not reading. It’s really quite lovely.
Another cool thing? I’m not worried about finishing it quickly, so I can easily set it aside when I’m tired and know that when I want it again, it’s waiting for me.
And since my reading time is limited, I want to spend it on good books so I’m sending flat or problematic books back to the library unread more easily. 😉
Now, of course, when I set goals or “rules” for myself I always have to remember that these are just temporary. Life will change again or I’ll get a better idea. Right now, I have some flexibility built into this for myself.
Sometimes, I’ll let two very short books count as one. If I read a book that just really has me down or was really not worth reading (like the two-star cringefest I finished earlier this week), I’ll let myself read an extra book that week that I know I’ll enjoy better, because after all, reading should be fun. 😉
In a way, it’s funny to me that I’m thinking this hard about reading, but I think it has a lot to do with why I read. I read for pleasure, for relaxation, for imaginative play, and for empathetic growth. I don’t read to be stressed by the sheer number of books in the world or to count how many I’ve read even if I only liked half of them. So, I want to guard the quality of my reading time as the valuable gift it is to me.