March 21st, 2011
|06:47 pm - Making time to read|
darkemerald (on dreamwidth) posts about loss of reading attention. I am very conscious that during the past couple of months, when I have been very stressed with leaving my job, my reading capacity has shriveled away. When I am stressed I can't concentrate, and story books and serious non-fiction are what disappear first. I still read poetry, and I also still read lots of online stuff, daft or serious, and watch television. When I am at my lowest ebb I play stupid computer games. I have been unhappy and stressed the past couple of weeks, though I am hoping it will ease up now, and my reading has kind of pipped off, and my writing too. I am hoping it comes back now.
emerald's questions in italic
Do you read books? In what formats?
I read books in paper, on Kindle, and listen to them on my i-pod.
How would you describe your relationship to reading?
It's all unsettled at the moment because the rhythm and pattern of my life has changed a lot recently, and I haven't adjusted to it. For example I used to listen to a lot of novels while I was walking to work and back. Working from home gives me opportunities to read but I haven't properly adjusted to them yet.
In the past reading has been my big thing, my solace and retreat. I read all through bringing up my kids. When I see people now that I used to know then they are all 'I remember how you would always be reading'.
When I was off sick with appendicitis and other stuff I found I couldn't read much then. It came back that time so I am confident it will come back this time.
How much do you read--hours per week, books per month, however you measure it?
It's just fallen off so much in the last couple of months that I can't even say any more. I read some of something every day.
When? Under what circumstances?
I read in the living room on the sofa. I read in the Supermarket waiting in the queue. I read in the bath. I read while I am doing the washing up with a book propped up. I read in a cafe. That kind of thing.
Is there something you specifically don't do to make time for reading?
No. I am weak and I just do what I feel like each moment. I do feel like reading quite a lot, generally.
Have you noticed a decline in attention--in the ability to sit and read? And if so, how do you deal with it?
I think the Kindle has exacerbated my magpie tendencies. Because I don't have to commit to taking a particular book with me when I go out, I have like a dozen on the go at once, which isn't very satisfactory. I think I may settle a bit with it when I get used to it.
I don't have a Kindle, that doesn't stop me from having a dozen hard-copy books on the go at once! (And it doesn't stop me from re-reading books I own while the bookmark in the library books hasn't moved.)
I notice that one of the most potent determinants of my mood is whether I have something in the house that I'm really eager to read.
The extra temptation with the Kindle is that I always have dozens of books with me at all times.
Incidentally, it's a really good device for striking up conversation with waitresses. They always want to have a look.
I know what you mean about mood. I haven't got one I really love on the go at the moment.
My reading goes down the pan when I am stressed, and it's noticeable that it's my ability to read anything new that disappears. I revert to a specific set of comfort reads, and sometimes, it's even reading particular parts of books. I have been in the place where I lost all ability to read a book, and that was not a good place at all. It did come back; I am sure yours will too.
I went to a Writer's Block workshop the other day (for academic writing), not so much because I have writer's block, but I have reader's block at the moment, and I am pretty sure they come from a similar place.
it's funny because poetry is more intense than novels but I can still get pleasure from it - perhaps because i read the old favourites
I hope your workshop helped
Stress usually makes me buzzed, so I end up reading very fast & retaining very little. When I'm really depressed I can't read at all; I haven't felt up to reading 'serious' fiction for years. As my depression gets worse I go from reading genre, to rereading old favourites, to reading only non-challenging fanfiction (Lois & Clark being my usual standby at nadir). As I said to various people at Redemption, at the end of last year I got so depressed I ended up having a Cruise film marathon... (It wasn't all bad -- Magnolia made it almost worth sitting through Jerry Maguire.)
Magnolia is great. I sat in a cinema until 2am to watch it, and it was a massive effort of will to stay conscious, but worth it. Adventure stories are a good stand-by, and murders, for when I'm at a low point.
I find there's nothing to beat a good police procedural. Formulaic & status quo enhancing, with a dash of other people are in even more trouble than you without any of the attached guilt one gets from turning on the news.
|Date:||March 21st, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)|| |
My reading concentration has been a disaster since the kids - I suspect it's long term sleep deprivation and hope it will recover when sleeping finally happens again. I remember as a teen laughing at how long it took my mother to read anything. I feel guilty about this now.
I can read romance novels provided they aren't rapey and aren't insanely anachronistic. Which means about half the ones I get from the library go back unread.
Sleep deprivation is a desperate thing. Then one day it all gets better and it becomes just a period of your life that you got through. I never want to experience that again.
This is interesting, because I've suffered from the same thing for the past couple of years, and it's been very distressing. I'm usually a voracious reader, but I can barely read a page in one sitting. Admittedly, I'm recovering from a depression, and I've been very, very stressed for two years, so I'm trying not to worry too much about it. I had a couple of weeks over Christmas when my reading mojo returned, but it's gone again. For now.
Perhaps over christmas you were able to find time to spend on yourself, and that's always worth trying for.
At the risk of seeming to make light of your own unsettledness with regard to reading, I must say that I'm relieved not to be the only one with this affliction in some degree. In fact, it seems so ubiquitous--all your other commenters appear to suffer some version of it--that I'm beginning to feel like part of an epidemic, rather than a personal failure. I'm finding it useful to consider the various things people attribute the decline to.
Stress, insufficient sleep, depression, major life changes--and one that others here don't mention but which I'm forced to come to terms with in my own case: declining eyesight and a powerful resistance to ever-stronger reading glasses. For that last reason alone, I really should consider a Kindle, I think. It sounds like you're getting great value from yours.
I am almost thinking epidemic right now, but I guess people are commenting when they recognise the pattern
|Date:||March 21st, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)|| |
Yes, there's self-selection to consider. :)
I hadn't thought of stress being a problem. Worrying about being out of work again is probably why I don't read for long stretches any more. I keep leaping up and checking LJ, going off and doing something, or knitting; I seem to need the breaks, then I go back to it. I still get through a fair few books (usually one, two at most at once), just not in long unbroken stretches any more.
It's the long unbroken stretches. I think I feel too guilty if I take that much time to myself. Yet I can waste just as much time if you add together all the silly little things I do.
|Date:||March 21st, 2011 11:33 pm (UTC)|| |
I tend to read more when I'm stressed or unhappy, but it's comfort reading (books, fanfic, whatever) and more often than not rereading.
I don't have a Kindle (the price of ebooks is Australia - like all books - is higher than elsewhere, and unlike 'hard copy', I can't really order cheaper ones from overseas).
Rereading is very soothing I think. I have a lot of completely free books on my e-reader, old books like Austen and so on. And that is my comfort reading.
|Date:||March 21st, 2011 11:49 pm (UTC)|| |
I read while I am doing the washing up with a book propped up.
Cunning! I must try that.
not recommended with anything you don't want to get damp
|Date:||March 22nd, 2011 10:40 am (UTC)|| |
I do it with the paper, usually, then I can throw it away when it's all wet.
(Another person who's lost their reading mojo. IS IT THE TORY GOVERNMENT???)
The reading force is strong in this one at the moment. The writing force - less so.