Still Not Reading

I have mentioned before about how I seem to be unable to concentrate on books since the start of the pandemic. Last night, I went to bed earlier than usual, intending to try to continue with Cindy Bruchman’s second book in a series. The third one might be published this year, and I am only halfway through that second one.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48559025-inside-the-gold-plated-pistol

This is no reflection on the story or the writing, both of which are compelling. I read the first half of the book in two sittings.

Then there was a pandemic, followed by lockdowns. And despite all the vaccinations, it continues.

At first, I thought this was a golden opportunity to read more. To really get into the TBR list of books downloaded on my Kindle Fire, and perhaps open some real books too. But it was not to be.

Within days, I could no longer concentrate on books. I would lie in bed at night re-reading the same pages, or flicking back to a previous chapter to remind myself of why a character was in a certain situation. A year earlier, i had read over twenty books, good going for me.

Then it all stopped.

It wasn’t as if I was unduly affected by news of the pandemic at first. I wasn’t worrying about it to the extent of noticeably affecting my mood, or my sleep. I was still reading lots of blog posts every day, and writing more than ever. But when I tried to settle down in some peace and quiet to read, it didn’t happen.

It will soon be two years since I have finished a book, and that upsets me. Not only do I like to read and review books published by friends in the blogging community, I have many more that I was still routinely buying. That has also had to stop, as there is no room left on the bookshelves, and too many downloaded onto my Kindle Fire.

All I can do is to hope that this strange spell will break soon, and I will be a happy and contented reader once more.

It feels like a curse waiting to be lifted.

74 thoughts on “Still Not Reading

  1. I am in the same boat. I have no ability to focus on books since the pandemic. I’ve read two or three in 18 months and it has been a challenge. I don’t believe it is old age for me (I am old) but rather a lack of the ability to concentrate. I too enjoy reading blogs. Right now, that is my source of reading material.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pete. I’ve gone through periods in my life during which I was completely unable to concentrate on a book. That has not been the case with the pandemic, but it surely was after 9/11, and a few other times when things were highly stressful. I hope you get through the lean period soon, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much, Angela. When I retired in 2012, it took me a few years to settle back into reading. This current slump is similar to how I felt then. I may have to try to schedule specific time for reading next year, and ‘make myself’ do it.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  3. Your post really touched me as the same thing happened to me twice. The first time was because of a concussion that was a result of falling down a 10 step staircase. I couldn’t look at a book for at least 5 months, let alone try to read anything. The second time was after the Beirut blast of last year. That one lasted couple of months only. When I could start reading again, it was for a very short period of time, and it was by reading comics and also any writing piece that could fit on a couple of pages. Best of luck and know that you’ll get out of this soon 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I completely get that.
    I know damn well I like reading, but for some reason during summer holidays when I had all the time to read, I didn’t at all. My friend likes to say “Sure you might like reading, but maybe there’s just other things you like more”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not unlike me then? I am beginning to think it might be my age. I always read at night, and used to read from around 10:30 pm, until I was too tired, or had reached a part I could close the book on. Now, though I am usually in bed by 11, I am often asleep 30 minutes later.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I had a similar problem at the beginning of the pandemic. There just seemed to be so many distractions and I couldn’t settle to reading. Luckily my dry spell only lasted about three weeks. I wouldn’t worry to much about it, Pete, you will read again when the time is right. Perhaps you should try some short stories, those are easy to finish in one evening. I used to read short stories with Michael as he read very slowly and would forget the storyline. It helped him become an enthusiastic reader but he still choses shorter books.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. hoping you’ll be back to reading, Pete. reading has became a challenge for since i had issues with my eyes. in short, i haven’t read a book or serials for a long, long time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have glaucoma, and also cataracts in both eyes. But my +3 reading glasses make it easy enough for me to read average-sized print. I just need the inspiration to keep going after five pages! 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I also struggled and still struggle with reestablishing a reading pattern such as I had before the pandemic. I am slowly able to read again, starting with “beach reads” and history. Complicated fiction and long fiction are so far impossible. Judging from the comments, you are not alone in the change.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m the same Pete. Mainly wirk has driven me to a point where I’ve little concentration span. However I’ve just reread Last Orders, which I’m sure you’re aware of as a S London boy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t read the book, but I did see the film. I don’t have to work any longer, but read less than when I did. It remains a mystery at the moment, though a few have suggested if might be an age thing.
      Cheers, Pete.

      Like

  9. A good subject to write about, Pete.
    My reading has been steady throughout the pandemic. If anything, more so as I have ample time to read.
    I don’t like reading on any devices, so books it is for me.
    What has gone through metamorphosis is the way I procure my books!
    First, I read the books on my bookshelves that were bought and not read.
    Next, I got my books (reserved online) from the library I have frequented forever. When they started a thoroughly disinfected, impersonal, curbside pickup service.
    Now, 18 months later, I am once again savoring the smell (albeit, through the mask) and sight of books while walking through the numerous aisles looking for what I want. Then coming home with an armful of books, is a pure joy not diminished by having to disinfect the books and set them aside for three days!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It took a sizzling hot summer and less time spent on the computer for me to finally get around to reading a book after a couple of years off. So, I read Les Misérables in the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade edition. After finishing the 1,486-page book, I started the first of three books by Michel Tournier, but, having lost my drive to read, and with temperatures dropping a notch, I put the book aside after 50 pages and began watching films online instead. I may end up putting the Michel Tournier books back on the shelf, as I need to concentrate now on…writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Since the Virus it takes forever to read a book at first, and the when it gets really going I read it like I use to read books, non-stop. Two wishes: You finish Cindy’s second book soon and Cindy finishes her third book soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You are not alone Pete. I sympathise! Spookily, I drafted a post a couple of days ago on exactly the same thing. My block is not just restricted to reading but also blogging. Bizarrely, I even mentioned in that post that I seem to have a talent for picking topics which others choose – but beat me to the publish button.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always read books in bed at night, never during the day. Even when I was posting 4-5 times a day, I still read in bed for a couple of hours most nights. Now I just can’t concentrate.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I think all avid readers know these sorts of slumps / dry spells. A number of my „bookish“ friends have gone through something very similar to what you‘re describing as a result of the pandemic — these sorts of things just have to wean themselves out! Anyway, I hope you‘ll find the mind space for books again some day (soon).

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m not quite as bad Pete, but I am extremely slow in reading still. Currently I have 11 library books on my bedside table and there is no way I am going to get through those in the next three weeks and some have already been renewed!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. These things happen, I wouldn’t worry about it. Your brain probably needs a rest. I’ve had the opposite experience, getting through books at an alarming rate of knots

        Liked by 2 people

  15. I totally understand. I had a few weeks when I couldn’t concentrate on anything much either (other than the course I was in the middle of, that I’m sure helped me remain sane at the time). It was a bit of a slow process going back to reading for me, and I had to be pretty choosy with what I read, because certain things I couldn’t focus on, but I think I’m more or less back to normal now. Perhaps trying different genres or a short story collection, for example, might help, although I’m sure you’ll have tried other things, and, as you say, you do read plenty of other content. And old favourite, perhaps? I hope it goes back to normal, even if slowly, soon.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Olga. I tried a completely different genre, but have yet to experiment with re-reading a ffavourite. I am really hoping this reading thing just goes away one day, and I get back to normal.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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