Have you ever had those days when no matter how much you want to, you can’t pick up a book and read? It’s called Reader’s Block or Reading Block, and it seems to have caught me off-guard again. It has been two weeks now since I’ve read a book properly. Nothing seems interesting. What irks me more is that it has chosen to get hold me right in the middle of one of my favorite book series, The Vikramaditya Veergatha. I was eagerly reading the third book of the series, and then all of a sudden, I’m not able to read anything at all. I can’t even seem to complete the third book, and of what I’ve read, I KNOW it is interesting.
For the second year in a row, the damned reader’s block seems to have caught me in the month of April. I wonder if it’s because of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. I’m writing 7 sentence fictions there, so with my energy focused on that, perhaps the reader has gone into hibernation. I hope not. While the last two weeks have been a reading famine, I have had a good start to the year.
Escaping a Reading Block
Reader’s Block has happened before, so I do have a fair idea how to fix it. So today, I’m writing on what I usually do to get out of the phase before it really pulls me into its depths. I’m sure many of you bookworms would have faced this problem, and possibly tried one or more of these solutions.
1. Peruse short reads
I love reading on Kindle almost as much as reading paperbacks. Nowadays, there are many authors who publish stories as short as 20 pages too. These are called shorts, shots, eSingles etc. These books can be read in ten minutes, so it doesn’t take too much focus on my part, and after reading a few such books, the block seems manageable. If you’re not a Kindle reader, I’d say take a book of short stories, and read just one or two at a time.
2. Go back to my favorite books/series
There are some series I absolutely adore. When I feel disinterested in new books, I find that going back and re-reading those series/books makes a difference. I might have read Harry Potter series twenty times in the last ten years, and it still makes me happy. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no age limit to reading this series, and I know friends who have read it for the first time in their forties and still enjoyed it a lot. Other than Harry Potter, I also read books like The Kite Runner. But that’s a double edged sword. At times, the block breaks, but because the story of The Kite Runner is very traumatizing, at times, my mood worsens.
3. Read blogs and newspapers
There are some bloggers who write amazing stories too. So if a book doesn’t appeal, I go blog hopping to read some of them. One silver lining for this block during April is that one finds new bloggers whose theme for AtoZ Challenge is fiction. Another thing I do is to read the newspaper. If nothing else, I find reality is too morose to read about, and that pushes me back toward the worlds that my imagination create when reading novels.
4. Talk about books with fellow bookworms
Reader’s Block is no strangers to many bookworms. Many would have faced it, and got past it. So talking about books, in general, helps. The discussions lead to book titles I’ve not heard of, or those in genres I love (mythology, crime fiction, thriller etc.). This solution also has a pleasant side-effect. If the books being discussed interest you a lot, you might end up purchasing the book too.
5. Read comics
I haven’t tried this solution since the library in my neighborhood closed down. Comics are fun to read, but I prefer reading them in paperback, rather than kindle. I loved going to the library in the morning around 10, borrowing five Archie’s double digest books and reading them through the day. If not Archie’s, I’d take Tinkle, Amar Chitra Katha etc.
6. Watch movies based on books
I have done this only once, and it has worked. I watched the movie Angels and Demons before reading the book by Dan Brown. The movie was quite good, so I picked up the book thinking the book will definitely be better. And it was. It’s something worth trying again. Perhaps Inferno by the same author will be a good start.
So, these are few things that this bookworm tries when in a reader’s block. Have you got trapped in such a block? If so, what have you done to get out of it?
(© Vinay Leo R. @ I Rhyme Without Reason,
8th April, 2018)