Lately I’ve really struggled to keep consistent reading habits. I can’t seem to find either the time or the motivation to read as much, as often, and as regularly as I used to. Since this is something I’ve struggled with on and off throughout the past year and even before I came to college, I don’t think the reason for my problem can be boiled down to “college,” and I don’t really want to focus on the whys in this post anyway. I’d rather talk about what it felt like to read so much after reading barely anything at all for the longest time, and how I plan to fix this little problem of mine.
Simply put, it felt amazing. Oh, I’ve been reading stuff for school, of course, but not much because I haven’t been assigned much lately. And as for reading for fun? Ha. No, not really. Not as much as I’d like to, and yet I couldn’t seem to make myself sit down and read. I’ve had a lot of homework to do, though not much of it involved reading, and writing a post every day for the entirety of June ate up a lot of my time too.
But this weekend I read so much. SO MUCH. On Friday I went to a coffeeshop down the street so that I could cross off one of the items on my summer bucket list – “spend a day reading and writing in a coffeeshop.” It was on my list because I’ve been meaning to scout out possible new locations for study sessions for this coming school year. I have no classes on Friday, so I looked forward to spending the entire day doing the two things I love most. I began by writing and scheduling a few blog posts for this fall and then proceeded to read four books.
I finished Super Graphic by Tim Leong, which is chock full of infographics about superheroes, comic books, and graphic novels.
I read Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky, a beautiful guide to some of the most far-flung locales on this planet. (My Travel Writing professor recommended it.)
I read volumes one and two of The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and puzzled over how I would review this series – on one hand, I really want to, but on the other hand I have no idea where to even start because the plot is just so WEIRD and complex. And very, very good. I’ll probably end up waiting until I’ve finished all of the books, which means I’ll have to wait until all the volumes are published. The story just keeps getting stranger and stranger, and I’m worried that if I were to write my review of it now something would happen in a later volume to make me change my opinion or description of the series entirely.
Later, after I’d left the coffeeshop and eaten some dinner, I headed over to my favorite bookshop and curled up on a couch there to read Being Jazz: My Life as a Transgender Teen by Jazz Jennings. I didn’t finish it that day, but I did finish it yesterday evening. (In the same bookshop. They have cats, so… I gotta go as often as possible.)
And it felt amazing. I was thoroughly absorbed in each of the books I read this weekend, although if I have to pick a favorite it would probably be one of the two volumes of The Wicked + The Divine. I hadn’t felt that way in a long time. I missed that feeling, and I hadn’t even known until then just how much I missed it.
I’ve written about book slumps numerous times over the past year. In fact, I feel that most of my bookish posts, especially the ones that aren’t top ten lists, include a mention of the sad state of my reading life more often than not.
And, well, ever since I noticed that pattern I’ve been thinking about what I can do about it. I don’t read as consistently as I’d like to – but I can’t truthfully say that I no longer read as consistently as I used to, either, because I have never really been a consistent reader.
Instead, I’ve always found myself at the other end of the spectrum from the one I am at now. I read so little this past school year, but most of the time I read too much. Yes, I said it. I READ TOO MUCH SOMETIMES.
I’m not good at balancing my time, at least when it comes to reading, which is kind of funny considering how I don’t have trouble finding balance when it comes to studying, doing homework, sleeping, et cetera. All right, so I do have trouble striking a healthy balance between not exercising at all and exercising too much. (I went for a run on Saturday after not going for more than a month, and it was so so humid, and… I regret everything.)
Therefore, I’d like to work on becoming a more consistent reader in these next few months. I won’t go into too much detail here because I plan to publish posts about my academic/studying goals in the near future, but suffice it to say that one of those goals involves mapping out and then sticking to a more strict schedule than the one I had last year. I… basically didn’t have a schedule at all? Like, I went to all my classes and studied quite a bit, but I want to organize my time so that I have a definite schedule with time set aside specifically for studying, free time, exercise, et cetera.
And part of that involves blocking out enough study time during the week so that I can take Sunday off. I’ll give myself bits and pieces of free time throughout the week, of course, because everyone needs a break for good mental health and all that, but I really really really want to be able to take an entire day off instead of, like, half a day here and there throughout the week.
With that one day off per week, I can find more time to read. I think I’ll be able to get through a book or two each Sunday, and will have enough short breaks during the week to finish an additional book.
Of course, I have yet to actually sit down and create that schedule, but… I’m hoping to do that this weekend. I would like to stop going from one end of the extreme to the other. As fond as I am of binge-reading when I have the time and motivation, I also realize that I miss reading when I don’t do it often enough. I’m not saying that I will never ever experience reading slumps ever again, or that I will never read multiple books in one day ever again. Of course not. I think those things are unavoidable. But I can try to find the time and energy and motivation to read consistently, so that I neither feel sad about missing books nor read books so fast that I burn myself out.