I followed an author, @authorlmurphy, on Twitter, and he started tweeting at me. He asked me, “What are you reading these days?”
Well. I know it doesn’t sound like it, but that is a loaded question for me.
As a kid I read constantly. My sister Cory says that her memories of me growing up are of me sitting reading. And when I was reading, it was like I wasn’t there at all. You could talk to me just as easily as if I was halfway across the world. She bought me a shirt for my birthday last year that says “Bookmarks are for Quitters.”
I remember my Dad bought the fourth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and I opened it on the Friday of Thanksgiving and finished it in a day. I just looked it up to brag about how many pages that was when I was a kid, but I was sixteen when that book came out. Still. Seven hundred and thirty-four pages.
I remember many a night my parents coming into my room to tell me to close my book, turn off my light, and go to bed.
About five years ago, I realized, I’m not so good at reading anymore. This is a very vulnerable thing for a writer to admit. Really, it’s that I have a hard time focusing while looking at a page. Even with books I devoured as a kid, like Harry Potter, and the Lost Years of Merlin.
I’ve been tested twice, by two different psychologists, for ADD. They both determined I don’t have it. But, obviously, I have enough symptoms to merit the test.
Now, if you care to check out my GoodReads, you will see up through 2018, Iwas still reading quite a lot. The main way I read is through audiobooks.
I’ve always liked audiobooks because I’m a strong auditory learner. And I hate driving, so audiobooks have always been my saving grace. Then, with apps like Audible, OverDrive, and Hoopla, they’re easily at my fingertips.
It’s Kelly’s Fault
In 2018, I was carpooling to Legally Blonde rehearsal with my new friend Kelly (She was Vivian; I was Brooke) when she told me an amazing story she’d heard on an amazing podcast. It was the story of the Galapagos Affair and she heard it on My Favorite Murder. Go check it out. It’s incredible.
I downloaded Stitcher and started listening to My Favorite Murder. I started listening to podcasts on my commute to and from opera rehearsal. Something about the terrible stories made me feel better about my life. And when the stories are engrossing, there’s no room for my own negative thoughts.
Sometimes my body and soul prepare for a trauma that my brain doesn’t know about yet. Trauma hit me about three months after Kelly recommended My Favorite Murder. And I still listen and let it take my mind away from my problems.
So, podcasts replaced audiobooks for me. However, I am re-reading The Baby-Sitter’s Club series in ebook form, and I did just finish the audiobook of Terminals by Kathy Reichs.
I don’t have one! I want to keep reading. I want to keep writing. And how dare I write if I don’t read?
I have found success in:
- self-help books
- reading and listening at the same time
- choosing a chapter of an audiobook instead of a podcast
- audiobooks during workouts
- putting “read” in my bedtime routine
What are you reading these days? In what format?
Do you also experience difficulty focusing on reading?