Updated: Oct 14, 2020
Remember those days that we book lovers would spend reading for hours, forgetting to eat, sleep and breathe? Well, given most of our busy lifestyles, a lot of us former bookworms now have trouble picking up a book and sticking with it. Even on finding the MOST interesting book ever, with a blurb that absolutely grabs our attention, there’s always that message to respond to, that email to send, that deadline to meet, or even that dinner to cook and dishes to do! And don’t even get me started on the bleak blackhole that is the world of Instagram reels. I’m ashamed to say it but I have lost more than a few hours to watching a series of cute animal reels (There, that’s my confession of the day done! No judgement please, I know you’ve done it too!).
This is what life was like for a long long time. A bookworm who is now mostly just a worm.
But then, lo and behold, look who came knocking? It’s a VIRUS! A virus that sent us all packing; home to our beds and blankets, the place of all bookworm dreams. And in the multiple resulting lockdowns, I’ve seen so many people around me put on their productivity caps and start doing a whole load of things! Baking, cooking, dancing, gardening and best of all READING! People who I know for a fact have never read a book for pleasure in their lives are now recommending books, dormant bookworms have come back to life with whole lists of books, there’s a new book recommendation every day on Instagram; and so much more. Goodreads and Reddit are full of completed or well on their way 52 book challenges and it seems that bookshelves all over the world are finally getting dusted.
And…with all of this around me and time galore, here I am… once a bookworm, still just a worm.
So, I got to thinking, how do I get myself to read again? How?
With this revolutionary question in mind, here I am, having googled several possible solutions, now writing down my very own list of ways to get out of the lockdown reading slump!
1. Stop Judging Yourself!
The first thing to do, is to stop judging yourself based on all of the multiple posts that you see out in the wild, of people reading a hundred books a day. Reading should be fun and guilting yourself into feeling like you HAVE to go out there and read those fifty books is not exactly the way to get back into pleasurable reading. Lists and challenges work for a lot of people, but I’m guessing that if you’re here reading this post, they don’t work for you. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Every reader is different, just like every human is different. So, stop comparing yourself to all of those other people out there and focus on who you are as a reader. It’s time to find yourself again!
2. Go Back to Basics
Now that we’ve gotten the self-judgement out of the way, the second step is to go back to who you were as a reader. Go back to basics. When we’re trying to get back into something, throwing yourself into the deep end increases likelihood of floundering and drowning. When in doubt, always start small and simple.
Think about it, what was the genre that really called to you. Was it science fiction? Fantasy? Romance? Horror? Whatever it was, identify the genre that you enjoyed the most and start with a simple, fun book in that genre. Nothing too long or complicated. Remember, start small. A good place to look is Young Adult literature.
A lot of us often dismiss this category entirely, but it’s a good place to start and has simple fun books of just about every genre out there.
Try some Young Adult in your genre of choice. It should be a fun, light, easy read that gets you into the hang of reading again.
3. Forget "Should Reads"
Now that we’ve gotten into the process of trying to get back into reading, the other thing to let go off, along with self-judgement is the idea of books that we “should” read. You know, the books we don’t necessarily enjoy but feel like we should read, to be a well-rounded reader? Be it the list of extra-long classics, that autobiography, the book on the finer points of quantum physics, whatever it may be.
At this moment, let’s push that list into some deep dark corner and forget about it. All of those books must be read, of course, but for the moment, let’s focus on getting into the flow of reading first. Start with a guilty pleasure instead. With something that you know you’ll enjoy rather than something that you think you “should” read. Remember, it’s all about reading for pleasure.
4. Comfort Reading
The next thing to think about is comfort. Remember going back to basics? What better way to get back into reading than to start with something that feels like snuggling under your favourite blanket? Maybe reading something entirely new isn’t for you right now. Which is completely fine and acceptable! In that case why not start with a book that you’ve read before and know for a fact that you will enjoy.
Go back and grab that well-worn copy of Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings and read it for the tenth time. You know you’re going to enjoy it and it’ll hopefully make you want to never stop and keep reading. Sometimes, all we need is a reminder of what made us start in the first place. And the best way to find that reminder is by going back to the books that we loved.
If not a book that you’ve read about fifty times already, then what about that book that you read five years ago that made you either howl with laughter or sob like a baby. Nostalgia and comfort might just be the push you need to get back into reading.
Another way to get back into reading is to explore. Not other people’s posts or reading lists or pictures of reading challenges achieved, but by yourself and for yourself. Remember, this is about you; not anyone else. Think of a genre that you feel like exploring right now and google it! Look up books in that specific genre and something might catch your eye.
If not genre, let’s get back to the familiar again, pick an author you love and look up other books by them; or even other similar books.
Some of my most favourite books ever are one’s that I’ve found this way and I don’t regret it one teeny bit!
6. Look Outside
Sometimes, despite all our best efforts, our intrinsic motivation is just not enough to get back into reading. In situations like this, whatever the reason may be, we just can’t seem to get out of the horrible feeling of not being able to read. A lot of times this leads to us questioning our very identities and everything that goes along with it! Like a vicious cycle of not being able to read and being sad about it and therefore not being able to read even more.
In cases like this, it’s best to call in external help and look for support outside.
Get a bookworm friend and read a book together. One that you can squeal at or laugh at together and discuss together. With this, it doesn’t matter whether the book is good or bad or anything in between, it will be the experience that counts.
If not a friend, find a book club online or an online discussion community of sorts and sign up (or just lurk creepily until you kick yourself into joining).
Whatever it is.
Remember, you’re not alone and we can get through this together!
Okay. So…. That’s it. This is what I thought would possibly work. And if it doesn’t then there’s no harm in having tried anyway right? So good luck to all you bookworms out there! Go own the worminess and conquer the world! You can do this!
Ah, as a side note. The title of this post is “X Ways to Get Out of a Lockdown Reading Slump” because a list like this is never complete. The list will always grow and there will always be new ways to get into reading!
If any of y’all think of any better ways or just want to talk books, or even want to form our own little book club, feel free to email me!
Disclaimer: None of the images used in this post belong to this author or the blog. We thank all of the various sources! Please feel free to go check out the sources for some reading related content!