How I’m Getting Back Into Reading

How are we all doing, folks? I have to be honest with you — Wednesday night was the first time I left our apartment building in almost 2 weeks. It was weird and a little scary, and I’m surprised how many people still aren’t following social distancing guidelines. I was only in the area near where I live (upper Manhattan), and I’d say 50% of people were wearing some combination of masks and gloves, and the other 50% were sharing cigarettes on the street or otherwise hanging out in groups of five of more people or coughing into their hands and immediately touching the bus pole (someone near us was doing this, which I’m now wondering if it was intentional? Seems SO strange to act like that at this time).

Anyways… I was having a really hard time reading when we first began quarantining. I don’t think I read anything for the first week. And then…

Delete Twitter

…I deleted Twitter from my phone. The amount of endless time I spent scrolling through my feed and feeling a tightness in my chest at everything I was consuming in that blackhole of the Internet… was too damn high. I’m serious. If you have Twitter on your phone and it mostly brings you anxiety throughout the day or a full hour passes you by while you’re scrolling away: delete it now. You can always re-download it (which I’ve done twice now, and then subsequently deleted again), and you can always access on your computer.

Download Forest app

I also downloaded the Forest app. You set a time for a certain amount of time, and the app “plants” a tree. If you leave the screen at any time, your tree withers. It’s a great way to keep focused on whatever it is you’re doing and not fool around on your phone. It costs only a few dollars in the Apple app store. It looks like it’s also available on Google Chrome, but I haven’t tried it out on desktop. If you’ve tried the desktop version, let me know what you think about it!

Make a quaranTBR

If you don’t know what TBR means, it’s an acronym used in the online book-reading world that stands for “to be read.” It’s commonly used to refer to your TBR pile: the books you’re reading next or want to read in the future. And – you guessed it – a quaranTBR is a collection of books you’re hoping to read during quarantine!

Stacks of Jenny's quaranTBR. Copyright Jenny Loeffler, 2020.
From top left: Station Eleven, The Kiss Quotient, Save the Date, Milwaukee Noir, Behind Her Eyes, Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, Choose Your Own Disaster, The Magicians, The Nightingale, Such a Fun Age

Here’s a stack of some of the books I’m looking forward to reading (and my Kindle and AirPods – I have a stockpile of e-books and audiobooks waiting for me). However… I am notoriously bad at setting a reading plan and tend to just read whatever I’m feeling in the moment. Which brings me to…

Make a reading playlist

Something that’s pretty new for me is reading with my headphones on. I usually like it pretty silent when I’m reading, but lately I’ve been listening to film scores on a low volume. I’m also a Headspace subscriber, and they have 180-minute long “songs” that are soothing soundscapes and focus music for different moods (“like home” and “deep blue” are my current favorites). It’s very peaceful and calming. Highly recommend if you need something to help get you into a reading flow!

Accept that you might read less right now

We are literally in a global pandemic. It’s ok to not be crushing your reading goals and flying through books just because your amount of free time is increased. I don’t know what “normal” is right now, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s normal to not have the focus, energy, or motivation to pick up a book right now. You might cope with anxiety in a different way! And that’s ok!!

If you’re back on the reading bandwagon, tell me what you’re reading! I’ll share some of my recent reads in a future post (I’ve been all over the place – fiction, non-fiction, audiobook, hardcover, paperback, e-book!)


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