12 Responses To Excuses About Why You’re Not Reading

 

Luna isn’t impressed by your excuses.

In 2015, the average American read 12 books a year, but that number is skewed by those of us who read many, many more than that. The most reported number of books read is 4, and I know plenty of people who haven’t read a single book in the last year.

 

That blows my mind! I couldn’t function without reading, and if you told me I could only read 12 books in a year, I’d cry. Truthfully. Then I’d just read those 12 books over and over.

The same study reported that people in the US only spend about 5 hours, 45 minutes reading every week. Give me a day off, and I’ll do that in a day. Not even a challenge.

I think reading is important for a lot of reasons. Studies have indicated that reading fiction increases empathy, vocabulary, and prevents cognitive decline.

Reading is a cheap vacation, a good antidepressant, and quieter than TV.

There’s also a phenomenon called popcorn brain. Basically, with all the short bits of information we’re taking in all the time, we’re training our brains to be less able to pay attention.

People are interested in reading. Whenever I’m out with a book, I see people trying to check out my book cover, and people do frequently ask what I’m reading and if it’s good. This used to annoy me, but it annoys me less now that I seldom see people reading books in public. I’m trying to set a good example.

Books are sold in every store; they’re in grocery stores, warehouse stores, pharmacies, etc.

People want to read. So why aren’t they?

Here are some responses to the most common excuses I hear…

If you don’t have enough time to read…

  1. Never go anywhere without a book. There’s always dead time. I read while waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting at appointments, while I’m stirring a pot on the stove. If I happen to forget my book (and it does happen), no problem! I have the kindle app on my phone, and I can go to the library webpage, download a digital book, and I’m back in business!
  2. Turn off the TV. I get it; you’re invested in watching The Walking Dead. Me too. But there are only 16 episodes a year, at 45 minutes each, which means that’s only a 12-hour annual commitment in your life. Or if you don’t want to turn off the TV, at least read during commercials.
  3. Limit social media. Do you remember that really important thing you were reading on social media yesterday? No? Then it wasn’t important. Stop checking it so often. Life’s too short to devote energy to stuff that doesn’t matter.
  4. Try audiobooks. I didn’t get on the audiobook train that long ago, but there really are a lot of great, well-narrated audiobooks out there. Audiobooks can be listened to while driving, exercising, cleaning the house, walking the dog, browsing for groceries… the list goes on.
  5. Set a small goal. If you want to read more but don’t have time, start with 10-15 minutes a day. Yeah, it will take awhile to get through the book, but if that’s more than you’re reading now, it’s an improvement.
  6. Read anthologies. Short stories don’t feel like as big of a commitment as an entire novel. So if you find a book of short stories (in any genre), it can feel more manageable, but be just as enjoyable.

If you can’t find anything you want to read…

  1. Use the library. I’ve found so many books I didn’t know about just browsing the shelves there. Most libraries have interesting displays of new books, and you can always ask a librarian¬†for a recommendation.
  2. Check Amazon. If there’s a book you liked, if you search for it, Amazon will suggest other books like it. It’s a great place to start.
  3. Google it. Not too long ago, I Googled “Best YA horror books.” I ended up with tons of results, and after reading several book lists, I found books that showed up on more than one list. After reading several of them, I have to agree that the lists were spot-on.
  4. Re-read something you liked. I get in these moods where I can’t find anything I want to read, so I go back to an old favorite I love. It’s okay to read kids’ books. YA is growing in popularity among adults, but plenty of us read middle grade from time to time too. The only criteria for reading a book is that you enjoy it.
  5. Check out Goodreads. There are lists for every type of book you can imagine (and some you can’t). If you know you like a certain type of book, you can see what’s well-rated, read reviews, follow people who might like the same books you do.
  6. Re-visit favorite authors. If you’ve liked an author in the past, check out what they’re writing now. Sometimes something new (or old) will pique your interest.

Any other suggestions for reading more or finding something great to read?

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20 Books of Summer- Successes and Failures

I loved the idea of setting a goal to read 20 books from my shelves in a set period of time. I’ve been wanting strategies to cull books that I don’t really want, and my “well, I’ll get around to seeing if I want to read that eventually” doesn’t work.

What I Read

  1. The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, by Phillip Pullman I really enjoyed these, though I thought they got better as the series progressed.
  2. Roseblood, by AG Howard I didn’t really like this one. I kept hoping it would get better, but it wasn’t my taste.
  3. Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett This one was sent to my by a friend, and I kept meaning to get to it, but just never did. I loved it.
  4. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena It was a mystery/ thriller that just fell flat for me.
  5. The Mouse and The Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary This was chosen by a friend for our Popsugar challenge, for a “book set in a hotel.” It was a delightful kids’ book, and a nice break from so much meh.
  6. The Unseen (Books 1-4) by Richie Tankersley Cusick I blogged about this series here, and ranted about it on Goodreads, but suffice it to say, I was not a fan.
  7. Tweak: Growing up on methamphetamine, by Nic Sheff I ended up listening to it on audiobook, and it was a good memoir about addiction and recovery.
  8. Wish Girl, by Nikki Loftin I actually bought this book because I met the author at the local SCBWI conference. It was a sweet story and an easy read.
  9. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton I’m about halfway through this one, and enjoying it. A friend sent it to me after I reread The Secret Garden and talked about how much I’d loved it.

The Good

  1. I read 14 books from my list (and am working on 15), and got rid of more than that. I tried (and abandoned) Wicked. I’ve completed one other Gregory Maguire book and hated it. That meant that all of his books went into the donate box, guilt free. (And I had quite a few of them… I don’t remember where I got them.)
  2. I felt a sense of accomplishment, getting through so many books. It’s always nice to set a goal and work toward it, even if I didn’t quite meet it.

The Bad

  1. I hated reading from a pre-set list. I picked 20 books plus 5 alternates, and I struggled with them. I ended up reading 5 books in a row that I didn’t like, but I wasn’t ready to abandon. I wanted to pick something for my next book that I was a little more sure I’d like, but it wasn’t anything on the pre-picked list.
  2. When I started this, I didn’t know it was going to be a stressful summer for me. That meant that it was especially important for me to read things I enjoyed. Reading 5 books in a row I didn’t like was discouraging and made me want to stop reading off the list.

The Verdict

I’m going to set a quarterly goal of books to read off my shelf, but I’m not going to pre-pick them. That way, I can read whatever I’m in the mood for, but still cull my shelves, making room for new books.

Did you participate in 20 Books of Summer (or a different reading goal)? How’d you do? What do you think of reading challenges in general?