How to Get Out of a Reading Slump

May was spent participating in a bookstagram photo challenge and also buying books, sorting books, and reading about books in hopes to add some more interesting titles to my TBR – not that mine is short and in need of any new additions. As a result, I found myself in an epic reading slump, and thought of the ways to drag myself out of it. Here’s what I came up with – maybe it will help you as well?

(photo by Oxana)

Limit your choice

Choice is good, but when it’s wide, it’s hard to focus on something. If you have a lot of books, pick several for your TBR pile, and pretend that you’ve got nothing else.

Stop buying books

This tip will not work for everybody, as there are sensible people out there who are meticulous in only buying books they intend to read immediately – but I ain’t one of ’em. Thanks to my parents, my grandparents and the humble ole me, my library is huge. I know it won’t be getting any smaller, but I should certainly control how many books I buy. There is a strong correlation between me buying a lot of books and not reading anything. The more time (and money!) I spend in bookshops, the less time I spend actually reading. Perhaps you’re the same? Then stop buying, and get to reading!

Shop your shelves

Stand in front of your bookshelves and imagine yourself in a library or in a bookshop. Pick a book and recall why you got it in the first place. Then ‘take it home’ to read. 😀

Go for your favourites

Whenever I feel stuck in my reading, I pick up a book by my favourite author or in my favourite genre – or both! Agatha Christie, I’m looking at you.

Explore a new genre

But perhaps you like shaking things up a little instead? Explore a new genre then. If you’re a romance reader, pick up a mystery; if you like mysteries, take a look at fantasy, etc. If your reading is pretty much across all genres, look for a subgenre or for a category that you haven’t touched in a long time.

Join a readalong

I’ve never been in a readalong before, but I hear it’s fun and motivating. We’ll see how I fare in June, with a Wilkie Collins one. 😉

Join a readathon

Now these, I’ve done. Even if it won’t kick you out of your reading slump indefinitely, you’re bound to get some reading done! I’m not the most prolific readathoner in the universe. I think the best I’ve done was three rather short books. Nevertheless, it was enough for me to become caught up with my reading goal for that year – and it did kick me out of my reading slump.

Set a timer

Set a timer for 10, 20, 30 minutes, and get going. When the time is up, stop. But I guarantee you, you’ll want to continue.

Aim for 20 pages a day

20 pages a day is not a lot. An experienced reader could easily get through that amount, so even if you feel uninspired, you’ll be able to do it. When you’re done with 20 pages, stop. Chances are, though, just like with the timer point above, you’d want to get going after your 20 pages are done.

Change your setting

If your usual reading place is in your bedroom, move to another place in your house. If the weather permits, go outside. I love reading in the park on a good weather day. Another popular choice is a cafe or a coffee shop.

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Make your setting

I find that I read (write, sleep…) better if I have a dedicated space in the house to do so. I don’t have one now, and I do believe that it affects my reading mood. If you feel like your reading joy has dropped, perhaps find a corner in your house to make deliberately bookish?

Drop it

Do you make it a point to finish all books that you start? Life’s too short to waste it on bad print. If you feel inclined, skim the remaining pages to get a rough idea of how it pans out – then drop that mother, together with the habit of digging through pages and pages of bollocks.

Take a break

If all else fails, just take a break. No one can perform at 100% capacity all the time. Perhaps it’s time to take a break and digest what you’ve read before. Some books overwhelm you, give you a reading hang-over, or even put you in a reading coma. Give yourself a few days to think through what you’ve read, then slowly pick out your next read, and begin again.

How has your reading been going? Any advice on how to get out of a reading slump?

Six Good Things Sunday, 22.04.18

A Breakfast Kinda Day

Today I’ve eaten breakfast food for every meal of the day. I’ve had banana pancakes, a banana and chia pudding smoothie, peanut butter on wholegrain bread, and fried eggs with spinach and tomatoes. Mmm. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day (rivalled only by lunch time sandwiches), so I’m thinking of doing this more often. Maybe every other Sunday or so.

A Clean Stove

Well… As the picture above shows, it’s not perfect, but it’s much better that it was yesterday. I’m going to give it another go next weekend, to see if I manage to make it pristine.

Installing Photoshop

It’s the little things, right? After several months without it, I’m finally getting back into the groove of things. Granted, my version is free (and therefore severely outdated), but it’s still better than the free apps available, no matter how new they are.

Making It To Church

… If only for 15 minutes. I came by to pick up some Holy Water. The Saturday service was just starting, so I stayed a bit to light some candles and to listen to the choir.

Not Losing My Laptop

One of my cats, Jolie, overturned a flower vase – and my laptop was on the table. Luckily, no water hit it from above. It got a little wet from below, but the Lord is merciful, because I reacted quickly and moved the sad device to another surface.

Made for a great photo op, though.

A Walk With Friends

Last week I went for a walk to one of the local parks with Anna and Oxana. Anna took her puppy pug along with her, and let us walk him. So much fun! The weather was also great, probably the best day we’ve had this spring so far. I’m going to share a photo post about it soon!

What’s your good things this week? Share in the comments!

My First Easter Service

For a self-professed (and, well, baptised) Orthodox Christian, I really haven’t been an active participant in church life. This Easter I had my first full service. I came a little late, after The Holy Fire had arrived and was shared amongst the believers. Stayed until the very end, though admittedly I wanted to go home somewhere close to 3 a.m., because my very comfortable yet still heeled boots were causing me pain.

lampada

This picture, taken in the low light of the church, may fool you into thinking that it’s got four lampada candles in it. In reality it’s just one. It’s standing in the corner and reflecting off of the church’s walls.

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Aside from staying awake for the service itself, I also kept vigil over the candle holder above. During big services people come and go, and many of them want to light a candle, so candle holders get filled really quickly. The are women, workers of the church, who keep an eye on these candle holders and take out the candles that are close to burning out. I’ve been asked by one such lady to keep an eye on this candle holder – I stood right next to it. It sounds like an easy enough job, and I’m not saying I was overwhelmed, but it was a new experience. I needed to make sure that all the candles were upright, or at least not melting the nearby candles nor dropping wax on the floor. And as mentioned above, I needed to make sure that the ‘older’ candles were taken out to make space for the new prayers.

Closer to the end the lady who asked me to help her took care of me as well as she could. She gave me a piece of cloth to wipe my hands with – the candle holders are heavily oiled to ease the cleaning of them, so my hands were covered in oil. She also made sure that I didn’t leave the church without a burning lampada. It’s a tradition to take the Holy Fire back home with you.

As I exited the church, I saw the amazing view of hundreds of people with candles and lanterns and baskets standing in front of it, waiting for their kuliches (special Paschal baked goods) and Easter eggs to be blessed by the bishop. Unfortunately, my battery was giving up by that point, and my phone wouldn’t let me take a picture.

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I didn’t buy a kulich this year, nor did I dye any eggs, so my Easter breakfast looked like that. Two sandwiches with butter, cheese, and marmalade, a cup of black tea, and a tiny cup of cottage cheese. And, well, some sweets.

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My “proper” Easter breakfast came eight days later – today, actually. I finally bought a kulich, and I had a chocolate egg remaining. Still no dyed eggs, though. I’m sure this oversight isn’t as gross as my other ones, so the merciful Lord will forgive me.

Christ is Risen!

What Would You Write If No One Read?

sauron

I don’t have that big of an audience. Some of you probably subscribe through some RSS reader, a couple of people visit the site, and there’s almost 60 subscribers on Bloglovin, who probably hit ‘mark as read’ more often than not.

I’m not whining.

The other day I wondered how an audience affects what I do. Here, there, on Instagram, at work, in life. It used to not affect me much – or perhaps I was blissfully unaware that it affected me in any way. As a result I wrote better, I wrote more often, I wrote about a variety of themes. I took endless photographs and shared them in a timely manner. I wore things that I liked and put on eye shadows that I liked without constantly looking over my shoulder.

A blank page never scared me before.

My opinions never scared me before.

Or is it – my own blankness never scared me before?

Let’s not get philosophical.

Whenever I sit down to write these days, I write with an audience in mind. And I’m not thinking about people who come here because they, the poor souls, love what I do for some reason, no matter how rarely and how poorly I do it these days. No, I’m thinking about people who come here to dig some shit on my existence. Who want to look into my pants, into my plates, have a laugh at my wrinkled shirt, my hot water bottle, my overcooked boiled egg. I’m not making this list up, I can’t make this list up, this list is so ridiculous, I want to spit in their faces and step on their necks, and forgive me, Father, for I have sinned, and I am sinning right now.

Back when my main blog was on alexandrabrovco.com, I was much angrier, much more closed off, but on the other hand much more vocal. Nowadays I am not as angry, maybe a bit more open – but also much more depressed and much more silent.

What would I write if no one read this shit? What would I write if I were not afraid for my paycheck? If I didn’t care for an intrusive colleague? If I didn’t care to tread carefully, to conform, to comply?

There’s nothing new in my identity crisis. Corporations and open space have ruined us all.

I’ve been writing on the internets since before it was profitable. I think it was 1996 when I first started some odd-arse online diary. I know that in 1999 I’ve been writing daily, and Blogger and I have been in separable since February 2002. My first domain, homo-urbanicus.com, will turn 12 this year. So I’m old, and weathered, and should know better.

This current incarnation of my blog was started on consumerism, and I am not sure it’s where I want it to go. I still want to write about beauty and make-up. I still entertain the idea of having an outfit diary – even though the last time I’ve been clothes shopping was almost exactly a year ago. It’s not for the lack of wanting to do it, though. I need a new pair of pants (and I mean underpants, not trousers) like five months ago. I just can’t set my finances straight, and shit keeps piling up, and I try to not spend any money on non-essentials until I pay off at least some of my debts.

Cheers to that.

You have no idea how many times I sat down and opened a post-new.php, a blank Evernote, a Notepad, a Google Drive Doc, or even an email draft in my inbox to– I don’t even know to do what exactly. To write? To convey? To unblock? To get some ideas? To straighten my thoughts? To crawl out of depression?

What have I become? I resolved, long time ago, to either write the truth or not write at all. Is the truth so daft empty useless blank pointless incomplete tiring busy old untruthful that I chose not to write at all?

Photodiary – October 2017, part 1

I have a lot of hang-ups, and chronology is one of them. But let’s think in terms of Vonnegut, and decide that time is not linear. If I start putting up content chronologically, we might have to wait until 2025 to see 2017. From now on, I’ll be putting up random photodiary post from whatever month/ week/ day that strikes my fancy.

October of this year is the first victim.

01-shushera

This is such a blurry shot, but I wanted to include Shusha, as she’s been such an active part of October. I haven’t had the chance to mention her on the blog yet, but she’s appeared on my Instagram several times. Shusha is a stray kitten I picked up in September. My original intention was to foster her and find her a home, but eh. She found a home in my flat.

02-shnits

Schnitzel the elder can’t it with these younguns.

03-dusya

And Dusya is like, WTF mate. As always.

Continue reading “Photodiary – October 2017, part 1”