My life is a series of struggles that have me go through the ultimate destruction- of not reading all of the books that I want to read. As a literature graduate, I believe it is my job, to be honest with you and wipe out this myth that exists- I too, sometimes find myself in a reading slump and, ‘…that is a rollercoaster that seldom goes up my friend’.
I feel it necessary to just say it out loud once and for all- even if you read one book a week, a month or even a year, it does not in any way take away your love for reading. It counts even if you only enjoy reading graphic novels, comics, Young Adult Fiction, Romance and listening to audiobooks. I have never come around understanding why these genres are being given a hard time and their readers a harder one? All kind of reading is reading. Nobody has to “prove” themselves as a “true” reader, in that no one has to read a “set number of books” to even mention that they love books.
We’re sailing in an ocean that offers an endless surge of content- books, films, web series, journals, magazines, zines, music, comic videos and much more. You must have already observed that all of those, fall under the same umbrella term, yet their medium changes. That is to say, the platform they use to reach out to their audience changes. When the platform changes, needless to say, it changes the ‘form’ of the content we are consuming. The reason why it was necessary to mention that, is twofold. One, this has created an overwhelming amount of content that already exists, waiting for us to be consumed. Two, this has affected our pace of consuming content.
Ever since short-form content has come to life it has in its own ways made it easier to foster entertainment or even the supply of information in less than 30 seconds, after ‘finishing’ one video, you can go to next, potentially watch 2 videos in a minute or even more. Finishing a book is a task that will need more time. Not all of us have the luxury to devote as much time. Apart from that, reading will by itself through the text slow you down, in that sometimes authors increase the difficulty level when they engineer literary devices in the text, this demands its reader to slow down no matter how fast they’re reading. Slowing down, today like said before is a luxury for some. But, if that’s the problem- if you for some reason cannot get yourself to finish whole novels, you can start by reading short stories. Even finishing a collection of short stories might help you get that reward of ‘finishing a book’, f i n a l l y.
Other than that, the pace of the book itself could also be a reason why a lot of readers might find it difficult to actually finish a book. For instance, if the author has spent 50 pages into a book laying down the setting for the plot, for a reader who is awaiting action, this could be difficult to get through.
A few friends recently started reading books, it was a bit difficult for them to begin, however when they finally found the genre they were comfortable reading, they read more books than I had by a writer I had suggested. Some genres simply interest us more than others. I would like to establish here reading only one genre and the books which fall under it, is not a sin. You might only want to read psychological thrillers and gothic fiction for the rest of your life (yes, I am the ‘you’ here), and that is totally fine. Reading is not an elitist sport. You do not have to read the classics to ‘prove’ that you’re a reader, you just are.
And for now, with everything that has been going on outside, I suggest reading feel-good short stories, novellas or watching shows which help you smile.
3. Style of the book
With fiction, so much depends on the preferences of the readers. Some love character-driven books, while others engage more with the plot. It has become increasingly necessary for a few to know that the book they are reading employs a diverse cast (hint: me). A predictable plot can also make the book distasteful for some, on the other hand, characters which do not grow at all throughout the book are virtually repellent to some. The writing style of the book could also be slightly disengaging. Never-ending sentences, longer paragraphs are less appealing to some readers.
There is also a way to know if these are actually the problems that are making it difficult for you to read the book. StoryGraph has helped me with this quite a bit. After creating my profile on their website, I decided to take their survey instead of simply importing their entire library from Goodreads. After that survey, it made two different stats for the books I have read and those on my TBR. It compared these two stats through pie charts based on the genres and the pace of the books. I saw that the novels I was reading were slow-paced while the ones I wanted to read were fast-paced.
Words have the power to shift, twist; turn time and space. They captivate us into a world of their own, where characters take life. During this journey, most of us set our hearts out on our sleeves for some characters and sometimes the story. Most times we do not just read but live with these characters. Approaching the end though inevitable is daunting. Admitting that your story, your characters ultimately your (fictional) world is going to end in a few pages is never going to be easy. Closure, helps us smile and accept the reality for what it is, however even being able to prepare yourself to reach that point needs strength. All of this might sound supremely pretentious, but that is one of the most universal reasons why finishing a book is haunting.