Reading Advice from the Savvy Reader Community

Throughout the month we’ve been working from home, we have heard from numerous people in the Savvy Reader community that they have been struggling to read. Whether it’s being unable to find time while balancing childcare and working from home or being unable to concentrate on anything other than the news, we get it. We’ve been in the same predicament for a bit over a month now, and it kind of sucks to not have time to escape every once in a while.

Over the weekend, we put a call out to our community of readers for tips on juggling work-life balance and paying attention in these strange, often scary times we’re living in right now. We here at the Savvy Reader believe that reading is so vital to promote strong mental health and well-being, and we want to do what we can to help in whatever way we can. Here are some tips, courtesy of the Savvy Reader community, for getting back into reading during this time. While these solutions won’t necessarily work for everyone, we hope you’re able to find something that helps you out.

Steph: “I’ve been trying to grab mostly lighter books that aren’t too heavy. I’ve read a couple cozy mysteries and a few fluffy romance books! I think it’s important to keep it light right now.”

Jenn: “I’m still working so I don’t have that problem right now, but I suggest reading something that will make you laugh. Laughter is the best medicine.”

Jessica: “I couldn’t focus on new books so I started re reading Harry Potter. Worked like a charm!”

Candice: “I put my phone away in a completely separate room, leave the TV off and enjoy reading in a space that isn’t encouraging me to do something else.”

Nikki: “Returning to a favourite series I know I love and can get lost in.”

Carolynn: “Rereading is my savior right now. A couple familiar, comfy plots, and suddenly things feel better(ish).”

Sandra: “I tried reading “fluff” fiction, but it was not helping either—-so I just sewed for awhile and then able to read again.”

Jackie: “I’m also re-reading!”

Jesse: “I’ve been struggling a lot with focusing on the books I’ve picked up. I’ve been able to find a few things that have helped, though: (1) I treated myself and ordered a book that I’ve wanted for a very long time and dove into it immediately; (2) I’ve stuck to reading short, quick reads; and (3) I’ve made it a priority to cut everything else – TV, phones, podcasts, social media, etc. – off, so that I can read uninterrupted for an hour before I go to bed. While I’m still reading slower than I’ve ever read in my life, I’ve found these “rules” have helped me get into a bit of a routine.”

Kristen: I’ve turned to audiobooks. I like to listen when I feel like I have to be doing something. Or when I just need to sit still and close my eyes, take my mind off of things. As long as the voice pleasant, I find it to be very relaxing. Like my version of meditation.”

Sarah Jane: “Lots of lighter reads are my go to for comfort. That’s what I am enjoying right now.”

Erin: I used to read for hours on end, but have been really struggling… so I started setting a 30 minute timer and committing to read for that time. No picking up my phone, no checking the news, and knowing it will all still be there in 30 minutes. It’s working for me!”

Heather: “Reading lighter books like contemporary romance, romantic comedy. Also, re-reading a favorite book is good. I am reading a few chapters of Outlander (book 1) each night before bed.”

Laurie: “I choose stories that have a beginning, middle, and end that do not jump back and forth in time. I also look for books with 4 or less main characters.”

Ashley: “I’ve also been struggling with reading, but there are some things that have helped. Switching up your routine (e.g. if you only read on your e-reader, pick up a physical book, and vice versa!) could work. Another suggestion would be to either read something you’ve had on your TBR for a long time or order yourself a book you’ve really been looking forward to/wanting to read. And, finally, try something short, like a middle grade or teen book, to help get you back in the swing of things!”

Brianna: “Reread a favourite. Make a conscious effort to read before bed instead of checking social media. Participate in readathons, if you can, or do a buddy read with your friends!”

Karen: “Maybe revisit an old favourite, or try an audiobook. Audiobooks are especially good for when you’re cooking or cleaning (both of which I’m doing WAY more of)!”

Alice and Tammy: “You could get a friend to recommend you a book, or you could recommend one to a friend! The act of recommending one might be enough motivation for you to read, and you can chat about it afterwards. With Zoom and Skype, digital book clubs are a great way to stay in touch. Another suggestion would be to read something light and easy for a bit of an escape, which also wouldn’t use up too much brainpower.”

Rhysa: “A digital book club is a great way to read and stay connected to your friends and family.”

Melissa: “For myself to focus, I’ve designated a spot/seat in the house where I just sit and read. My sister and I have an old recliner that we’ve designated as the “Reading Room” that we only use to read. The association helps keep me attentive.”

Jennifer: “I’ve found I’ve had to switch up the books I read. Sometimes you need a good rom-com to lighten the mood or a good thriller to captivate. Change of scenery might help. Take reading outside on a nice day.”

Katherine: “Running and reading are my big stress relievers. I also don’t watch the news much. I get info, think about it and then lock it in a box and go read!”

While these tips are not one-size-fits-all solutions, we hope that you’ll be able to at the very least take some of this into consideration. During times like these, it is very important to make sure that you’re taking time for yourself. Though that is certainly easier for some than it is for others, we hope you’ll find a little bit of solace in knowing that you’re not alone, and that the Savvy Reader community is rooting for you! If you have other tips or have found a routine that you think might help others find a bit of escapism during this stressful time, please do let us know in the comments, on Twitter, or on our Facebook group and we’ll add it to the list. We have some fun plans to keep everyone reading (and entertained!) that were working to finalize through the end of April and into the beginning of May, so be sure to keep an eye on our social channels to stay updated!

Stay home, stay safe, wash your hands, and, above all else, read good books.

-The Savvy Reader Team

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