I'm ashamed to admit this. Here goes: In the last two years I have gone from reading about 12 books a year, to 3.
Lately I've been starting and stopping books.
I blame social media, my adorable dog, and work stress.
Anyone else having this problem?
I felt the same way since starting my career. And then getting back into it my attention span was really low. I try to read at least a chapter a day now and slowly it's picking back up. I think it's something you have to make time for.
ACM323 - I've experienced a similar drop off.
It's not work or kids or dogs (although my dog is awesome, and come to think of it so are my kids) but definitely social media, which I goof around on way too much.
Also, as I get older I find myself falling asleep while reading.
I have gone from reading several dozen, to like three or four if that. It happens.
Hey, I’ve gone through the same thing in recent years.
I do have a paperback or two sitting on my bedside table, however I'll read for fifteen minutes at night then the eyes will go! And I’m never motivated enough to carve out any time to sit and read a large chunk of a book.
I deleted all social media – but its amazing how you just find a way to replace Facebook with some other random app.
One thing that has helped me dramatically... I installed the Kindle app on my phone.
Any time I found myself with time to mess around on my phone (on a bus, over breakfast (the toilet is a good one!)) I’d open up the kindle app and read a few phone sized pages. You’d be amazed at how quickly you get through a book this way.
I also have a couple of short story collections on the go. These have been great for building my attention span back up.
The same thing goes for sitting at my desk on the computer… When I want a break from work, I’d go to open up some crappy tabloid news site, or browse through clothes etc. Now, instead I’ll open up an online literary journal and read some flash fiction.
Audiobooks have also been great. I usually have one on when I’m at my desk, mowing the lawn etc.
These might not be quite as good as the good old traditional days of sitting in an armchair and reading a big novel, however I’m happy I’m reading again!
It is frightening the way the world and technology now shape the way in which we read, concentrate and absorb information, but I guess we can only embrace it.
Since you're reading short stories, next time you're on AMZN pick up Stuart Dybek's I Sailed With Megellan. These stories are right in your wheelhouse: urban and gritty, yet with a magical sort of whimsy. I'm reading them again for the third time in ten years, finding, as always, that you get something new and incredible from these stories every time you revisit them. Dybek's debut: Childhood and Other Neighborhoods and his second collection: The Coast of Chicago are also fantastic, but I think Magellan is my favorite.
I have that problem sometimes too, and it does get progressively worse with time for me.
I have a few suggestions of things that work for me from time to time.
-I try getting away from things I think I "should" be reading and read something super compelling. Stephen King's The Long Walk is a great example that really got me into the thick of reading.
-I also put down everything I'm reading when I feel that way. Obviously I'm not that engaged in it, and sometimes slogging through some stuff I don't enjoy is more draining than it is inspiring.
-I'm a fan of trapping myself. Drive 45 minutes to a coffee shop and bring only a book. You might read only 20 minutes before you want to leave, but you'll stick it out a little longer if you've got another 45 minute drive home.
-As far as the phone, I turn it off. Like off, off during most of the day. I try and only turn it on when I want to call someone or do something specific. Also, take your social media off your phone, your news apps, whatever you're killing time on. Do your facebooking when you're in front of the computer instead of whenever you've got a spare minute. You'll find yourself less attracted to it.
Nope. I’ve been reading like a maniac.
Sometimes the nap monster gets me, though.