Pandemic Has Totally Messed Up ALL My Reading Habits

I know I’m not the only one that feels like this year has literally been the longest year literally ever. I can hardly remember the beginning of the year, when things were so bright and possible. I had annual passes to both Disneyland and Universal Studios, I went to Seattle for my birthday, I had my badges all ready for WonderCon and San Diego Comic Con. I had high hopes for a wonderful year. Covid knocked a lot of us off of our feet and its been like a punch to the gut, mentally and emotionally, for me all year.

I love to read. Reading is my favorite thing in the whole world. I’ve canceled plans, taken days off, ignored my friends and family and my boyfriend, and spent way too much money on this hobby because its more than a hobby to me – its a lifestyle. My bookshelves are overcrowded and I NEED a fifth one, stat, haha.

But this year, I’m struggling so much to get through any books. I’m kind of in shock I’ve even finished ONE book this year. Before I settled down and started working full time, I used to be able to read 200 books a year. Nowadays, I average about 100 and that’s still a lot to be proud of.

It’s currently October 28th and I have only read 64 books this year. I’m 18 books behind in my goal. I haven’t read not one book this month at all – though I have started quite a few of them. 27 of those 64 have been rereads, so a little less than half of them. It feels weird to have read so little and its definitely taken a hit at my blogging as well. Its hard to be a book blogger when you haven’t read any books! 

I’ve been in reading slumps before. I have. But none of them have felt like this. Usually when I’m in a bad reading slump, I focus on writing for a bit or I just spend weeks rereading books that I love before I can jump into anything new. I can’t even reread right now. I’ve started several books and have gotten no more than maybe 35% on any of them. Most of them…I’ve gotten maybe a handful of pages in. This is not a reflection of the books that I’m reading – at least I don’t think so. I have GREAT books on my Kindle and on my shelves and I just can’t get into them. I have an e-ARC for Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas – I want to read that book SO badly and I have only read about, let’s double check…5% in. I’m just struggling so much to read anything. I can’t concentrate at all. I start reading and my mind drifts off and I end up just opening up Facebook, Instagram or Reddit. It’s an issue. 

I think there’s a lot going into this. One…this pandemic has my mind all messed up. I already struggle with anxiety and depression and honestly, its been a lot worse than normal the past seven-ish months. I can’t concentrate on anything and I have a lot more hard days than easy days. A lot of that has to do with the fact that the things that usually make me happy and pull me out of the dark days aren’t available to me right now. Bookstores are closed, are available for curbside only or are failing so much, and making me incredibly sad. Trader Sams, Disneyland, Universal Studios – they’re all closed. Baseball had a small season but I couldn’t go watch a game – this is the first year in my entire life I haven’t been to a game and it feels weird. I hardly leave my apartment other than to go grocery shopping and go to work. I’ve seen my family and friends here and there but not like I used to.

Plus there’s a constant cloud of uncertainty in the air. Covid is never ending and it feels like, we’re not doing enough but also, am I being overcautious by not doing anything and staying at home? The Senate just confirmed an awful woman to the Supreme Court and my rights as a queer woman are definitely going to be challenged. The election is less than a week away and its definitely a source of stress.

Normally books are a source of escape for me but right now, I can’t concentrate enough to read any of them. They aren’t the escape they normally are and it only makes the feelings of stress, worry, anxiety and so on even worse because I don’t have that escape. Its a vicious cycle and it makes me so sad. I’m so behind in my books. They’re piling up on my shelves and on my Kindle and I miss it so much. I MISS reading but I’m just having a hard time DOING it. I’ve started listening to the audiobooks for the Percy Jackson series but…I’ve read those books a million times and I can only do audiobooks for books that I’ve read a million times. I struggle to pay attention to new books. If I space out during PJ, its okay because wherever I tune back in, I absolutely know where I’m at haha.

So I know there are things beyond my control keeping me from enjoying the things I would normally enjoy. With all of us locked inside, you’d think that I would have more time to read but I just can’t sit and make myself do it. I end up scrolling, scrolling, scrolling or binging stuff on Netflix or Hulu or whatnot. I am distracted by the easy things and I’m forgetting how much I genuinely love to read.

I want to do things to change that. I am sad that I’ve read barely 60 books this year. And my TBR pile, physically and virtually, is out of CONTROL and I keep buying books. Here are some things I’m going to try –

Turn Off the TV

Seriously, my binging habits have gotten out of control lately. Its just EASIER. I get home from work, exhausted from the day and exhausted from sitting in traffic the entire way home. So instead of pulling up a book, I turn on my PS4 and curl up on the couch and binge something – usually something I’ve already read before because it makes me feel comforted and happy because I know how its going to end. The TV is definitely taken over my life. I think I would feel a little less guilty if I were say…watching new things or making progress on my Disney animated watch or knocking off movies on the AFI’s Top 100 movies…but I’m not. I’m just watching things I’ve already watched before. Its a huge waste of time.

Stop Reading on My Phone 

For a long time, I’ve honestly only been able to read on my phone. I used to own a Kindle but I never used it so I ended up just getting rid of it – it wasn’t worth my time if I was just going to read on my phone. I always have my phone with me, it works in all light, especially when I turn off all the lights before bed. It’s just always worked. But I think its just distracting at this point. I can’t keep myself glued to my Kindle app – I always end up closing it and opening up my social media apps like Instagram and Reddit or opening up Pokemon Go and doing that instead. That is NOT good. I need to get back to reading physical books and I’m looking into getting myself a Kindle again so that I can read all the eARCs and books I borrow from the library without being distracted by the easiness of scroll, scroll, scroll.

Start a TBR Jar

I keep seeing this idea all over Instagram and Pinterest and I think its a great idea. I have SO many books to read and I think sometimes it can be seriously overwhelming. Like, okay, Im going to sit down and read but oh god, what do I read?? There are too many choices. I love the idea of putting all the titles of the books that I want to read into a jar and decide from there. There are so many cute ideas on Pinterest and I think having a cute project involved in it will help me to get out of this horrible, HORRIBLE slump. I have SOOOO many books that I need to read – so many – so I think a jar telling me what to do LOL is a great start.

What Ideas Do You Have?

Most of my followers are readers just like me so I could SUPER use your help guys! None of my normal tricks to get out of a reading slump – write, reread favorites, etc – are working and I could really use ideas to help me to start tackling my never ending TBR pile. Share your tricks in the comments and maybe you can help me to catch up!

I highly doubt I’ll suddenly read 36 books before the end of the year HAHA but hey, you never know!


2 thoughts on “Pandemic Has Totally Messed Up ALL My Reading Habits

  1. Ashly Hanson says:

    The problem I’m having is also that I’ve been doing so much reading for school its been hard to then switch to pleasure reading. I’m attempting to find that balance.

    • Erin says:

      Man, I remember those days. When I’d rather read the newest Divergent book instead of the MILLION history books that are assigned in college

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