Mind on the book


I miss my books.

In the weeks leading up to and since the big move, I’ve found myself in an unusual situation: I haven’t made time to read. (Notice I didn’t go for the popular “I don’t have time to read” because, you know, we all know about priorities and deciding what’s important to us and so forth.)

Specifically, I’m so full-out, drop-dead-tired at the end of the night that my normal thirty-ish minutes of quality time with a story is . . . well, it just ain’t happening. I’m usually asleep on the couch before I pour myself upstairs, and then I’m out before the bedside lamp even clicks off.

This has happened before, of course, but not like this. Even in the chaos of wedding planning or the aftermath of a death or any of the myriad other times we find ourselves not reaching for books, I’ve continued reading in some capacity — even slowly. But lately? Here in the messy confines of the new house? My mind is too scattered, my attention divided. I’ve started and stopped several stories because I just couldn’t focus on them . . . and I know it’s a personal issue, really. They’re perfectly respectable stories, you know? It’s me. I’m the problem.

Sometimes my husband can get my mind back on the book, if you will. When he wants to stay up reading in bed, I curl at his side with the contented sigh of bookish types everywhere. Old daydreams often had me imagining reading time with my special someone, but Spencer has never been into fiction (though he did inhale the Hunger Games series once). I never thought we’d get that reading time in together, and honestly? In my darkest weirdo heart, it used to worry me that I’d disturb him night after night with something I love so much. I was concerned I’d have to stop my nighttime routines.

That’s why the Kindle is so handy, I think. Even when I don’t really feel like reading, I can flip ‘er on and take in a few pages before I can’t keep my eyes open any longer. I’ve been reading Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.’s Empty Mansions for months at the recommendation of Andi, and I’ve loved it from page one! Huguette Clark is so eccentric and kind and fascinating. But I read, like, three pages each night. At this rate, I’ll finish around Christmas.

Just in time to ask Santa for more books . . . ones I’ll pile atop all my sad, lonely novels in boxes and bags around the house until the new library is ready.

Maybe the Big Guy’s elves can swoop in early and work on that one for us, too.

Where do you fit in reading time?
Are you a before-bedtime reader, a lunchtime warrior
or another sort completely?


38 thoughts on “Mind on the book

  1. Ohhh… I can so relate to this! I am definitely a before-bedtime reader and when a story really gets me I am also a “I squeeze in as many reading time as possible” reader πŸ˜‰ I can easily spent a whole day reading if I have the time and the right book! I just finished Book 8 of the Outlander series and did want to ask you how you got on with the first book (you were reading it in March or April I think)? I keep my fingers crossed that you soon will find back to your routine and be able to read again! And that you will finish the famous new library soon!

    • Excellent memory! I started Outlander in the spring and was really enjoying it, but then I got derailed by all the goings-on and haven’t returned. I know I will, though. I’m really looking forward to continuing with the story . . . and checking out the new TV series!

  2. I completely understand! I tend to complain that there isn’t enough time, but you’re right, it’s all about prioritizing, and reading is my treat to myself once everything else is done. And it feels like it’s never done. I try to always have a book with me, and sneak it in whenever/wherever I can- the metro, lunch break, waiting on a friend somewhere. I haven’t done the reading in bed thing for a long time because it seems like when I get in bed I’m instantly asleep! I’ve been nursing a book for LAST months’s book club and I’m still not done and the next meeting is in less than two weeks!

    • So true — it feels like nothing is ever really “done,” especially lately. Last night I forced myself to quit all the cleaning around 9:30 to actually sit down with Empty Mansions, and I did get a bit of reading in before I completely dozed off on the couch. Good luck finishing your book club read! πŸ™‚

      • Thank you! Good luck with your book too! It’s true, sometimes we have to make things “done” so we can get some personal fulfillment for the day! Soooo close to being done with my book…

  3. I can’t concentrate my mind on a book lately either. I’m a before-bedtime reader, except if I like a book so much that I’ll read it all day long, even on the bus or if I’m waiting for a friend. Hope you’ll finish your library soon and start enjoying reading as you used to:)

    • Thanks so much! The peril of reading a book we love before bed is that it can often suck me in to the point that it’s, oh, 2 a.m. and I’m still sitting there with Harry Potter and the like. But it’s a punishment I’ll take. πŸ™‚

  4. I am a before bedtime reader too and if I can get three pages in, I am lucky. I loved reading this post. The sound of your new library sounds fantastic and just know you will be back reading once your new home is set up. No rush, you will get there. And when you do, all those pages will be your companions on all those days and nights in your new haven. Congratulations.

    • Thank you! I’m so excited about the library, and you’re right: no rush. We want to take our time with the house and really set things up properly, even if that means we’ll be working on them for some time to come. We don’t plan on moving again for a looooooong time, so I know I’ll get some quality reading time in the new space soon. πŸ™‚

  5. I like reading too. I often carry a book with me. If I get bored I just start reading. It doesn’t matter where I am.
    Once I was in class and I was bored . I took a book from my bag and I started reading. This has not been happening for the first time. The teacher was pretty angry about something. When she saw me she came to me and took the book from my hands 😦
    I believe that soon you’ll find time to read. Wish you luck πŸ™‚

  6. I’m usually a before be reader and a before I get up reader. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately too. I have loads of time that I could devote to reading but I just can’t seem to settle on the right book or concentrate for longer than ten or so pages at a time. I’ve gone through this before but it hasn’t been this bad for a long time. I’m considering rereading something I love to try and get myself going again.

    • Love the idea of rereading a favorite to get back into the reading groove — that sounds like an excellent plan! I used to get up a little early to finish books before work, but I haven’t had the energy to do that in quite some time. Maybe I’ll make it a goal to try that again.

  7. Empty Mansions, I want to read… need time to do so πŸ™‚ Great thoughts! Last summer was like that for me. I thought I had lost my reading mojo and worried if my blogging adventure was over. I could not sit down long enough to read or to hold my attention to anything.

    Meg have you tried audio? It would work while working on your new home, unpacking boxes, etc…

    • I love audio books, Sheila! They’re the best. I always have one going in the car, but you make an excellent point: I could bring them in the house or put them on the ol’ iPod (haven’t touch that baby in a while) to listen while I’m working around the house. Might have to give that a go. And yes, definitely look into Empty Mansions! It’s fascinating.

    • Glad to know I’m not alone, Kathy, though I’m sorry you’re also having trouble fitting reading in! Hopefully we’ll both get back into our routines soon.

  8. I absolutely love, morning read with a cup of coffee:) although there is something very soothing whilst reading a novel before bed!:)

  9. I HAVE to read before I go to sleep at night or I literally can’t sleep. Reading is a signal to my brain to start winding down. I usually read for about 30 minutes.

    • I’m very much that way, too. For the past decade or so, I’ve read every. single. night. before bed, which makes this recent little-reading trend so odd! Thirty minutes was about my norm, too. I need to get better about building that time into my schedule so I feel more like myself.

  10. I have been in a weird funk and I just can’t seem to get into anything lately! My mind is just all over the place and I have been a little stressed out with some personal things I guess. I hope that I can get back into the swing of things soon. I usually find time early in the morning, or at night after dinner to relax and read while my boyfriend watches some TV. Granted he does enjoy interrupting me so sometimes it is best if I am in a room alone πŸ™‚

  11. I can so relate to thisβ€”school has become a little more than I thought it would this year. In all honesty, I don’t mind working hard. I do mind not having time and a sense of rest/calm in my head for reading, which is why I’ve finished about four books this year, two of which for school-related assignments or tests. Reading is a relaxing thing, but I’ve found that I need to be in a relaxed state to be able to read, and that is not something that happens easily when school weighs you down. I know myself to be a wherever-whenever type of reader, as long as I’m in the zone mentally.

    • Definitely understand what you mean. Reading is very relaxing, but it’s hard to unwind enough to get into that groove when you’re feeling scattered! Hope school calms down for you and you can return to your beloved books soon. πŸ™‚

      • Once I get through this finals week, I can finally start on my Sherlock Holmes novelsβ€”they’ve been sitting on my bedside stand since September.

  12. I’ve been in the same boat as you girl! I usually read a little before bed, but with the move I couldn’t remember which box had my kindle charger, and of course my kindle was dead. Middle of last week Shawn finally found it. Hurray for a fully charged Kindle! I am so happy to be back in a normal routine : )

    Hope moving has been going well for you!

    • Oh goodness, I was so afraid of losing my Kindle and charger! I actually wound up sticking those things (cell phone charger, flashlight in case I get scared in the night, etc. — you know, all the life/death items πŸ˜‰ ) into my pillowcase with said pillow when we moved. I would have flipped without something to read. Hope moving has been going well for you, too! Whew, what upheaval we’ve had! πŸ™‚

  13. Before having children I lived in a lovely world of reading at least one book a week, sometimes more. I too needed at least 30 min of reading before drifting off to sleep.
    Since having children, I’m lucky if I manage half a paragraph before I wake up with my hand cramping around a shut book, or neck aching where I’m propped up in bed. Sometimes I get to read in the middle of the day, but children tend to interfere with this too.

    • I have a feeling my reading habits will certainly change once little ones come along, but I know I’ll always have to make time for reading. I’m just not myself without a book in hand . . . it wouldn’t be right!

  14. Ohh my days this is so me!!! I had the exact same problem when I moved house the other month, I got so tired of not finding the time at home to read( which really did grate on me as I am an obsessive bedtime reader!) I started forfeiting 20 minute gossip sessions with the work girls everyday to take some time out to read my book! How sad we readers are, books totally take over our lives!

  15. I go through waves of struggle with this one. I find that my schedule shifts a lot. I have my during school time, my break time, and my summer break time. And each switch in routine always requires some adjustments and recalculating. One thing I’ve discovered about my reading habits is that they aren’t routine. A lot of time the book I’m reading dictates when and how much I read. When I’m absorbed, I MAKE TIME. I give up sleep, food, whatever. And then there are books that I stretch out. Sometimes I just avoid books. But no matter what changes come and go, I always return to making time for my sweet books.

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