How to Focus on Reading Again

A grieving friend recently asked me for tips that would help her focus on reading. She’s one of my fellow book nerd pals, so not finding joy in reading was distressing for her. I realized her question was mostly rhetorical, yet I got to thinking about this.

While not everyone struggling to focus these days is acutely grieving a loss like my friend, I know there are many readers out there feeling out of sorts and I have some tips that might help!

Not too long ago, I wrote a post because a lot of people are struggling to read due to the stress of the pandemic. If your mind is pre-occupied with your thoughts and you aren’t enjoying reading right now, here are some things you can try to find a book you can get lost in.

How to Focus on Reading Again

Photo from Ramona Mead

Re-read a beloved book.

Think about books that brought you joy pre-COVID and read one again. I hear you saying, “I’m not a re-reader,” and I hear you. I’m usually not either, however I’ve discovered this trick really works. It can be a book from your youth or maybe a best-seller you loved a year ago.

Going back to a story that you’ve previously enjoyed will set you up to have a positive reading experience. Plus you don’t have to focus as hard to understand the text because you’re familiar with it.

Here are some books I’ve revisited when feeling low that have given me comfort and joy:

*Note* I’ve specifically found listening to the audiobook of book I’ve previously loved in physical form is highly enjoyable. It’s a new way to experience the same content.

Read a memoir by a celebrity you like

It can be someone you admire who inspires you, or maybe you just want juicy celebrity gossip. It doesn’t matter.

I rarely pre-order brand new books, yet I have both Mariah Carey’s and Matthew McConaughey’s memoirs coming because I know they will be deliciously distracting!

Ask a loved one to recommend a book.

This trick is two-fold. Hopefully you will enjoy the book your person recommends. Even more so, every time you you pick it up, you will be reminded of that person, that they love you and are rooting for you right now. Plus, you’ll know that person is waiting to discuss the book with you when you finish.

A friend recently sent me this book.

See what others in your situation have read.

Do a Google or Pinterest search for, “Best books to read when ___________,” filling it in with your situation. You might be surprised to see what titles others have found useful. Pick one and give it a try.

Goodreads’ Listopia is another fantastic resource for this.

I hope these tips help you find reading material you can focus on and enjoy. But if not, that is OKAY. Go easy on yourself!

If reading isn’t easy for you right now, try other things until you find something you enjoy. Maybe it’s a Netflix show or jigsaw puzzles. You may need a break from reading, and speaking from experience, I’m sure your passion for it will return with time.

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