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More Musings On My ‘Starting Books Problem’ (This Is A Bit Of A Practise Post)

Two years ago I said this:

“I want to try and work past an issue I have where the feeling of being daunted by starting a new book (all those pages ahead of me…) means that it takes me time to get into the book. I need to get better not only at just starting and getting past the first pages – after which the issue disappears and I’m away – but also a (potentially) related issue, which I’ve spoken of before, where I never really take in the first page or so. Yes, this, despite my interest and focus on first lines.”1

I didn’t really think about anything much to do with books beyond trying to keep my podcast going in the last two years but what I do know is that the above topic is very relevant right now because a couple of days ago I sat down to read Voyager, struggled, and got annoyed with myself that I have this problem. So I’d like to try again.

When I think about it more, this problem extends; I have trouble getting past the first few pages in one sitting. I’ve the issue of the first page (usually), and then the issue of the extra daunting nature of the first few pages as a whole, up to 20 pages in fact. It’s one thing to think about reading, to blog, to write, to create social media posts and podcasts, and another entirely to actually read. Reading is, in its way, lonely and isolating (though I would say in general not2 – it’s just that act of sitting down and reading when you’re not reading aloud). I don’t know why 20 pages (every so often 30) is the boundary which, once crossed, I’m away, but it is.

Trying to get back to the book world and, particularly, right now, into what readers are thinking and feeling about books, I’ve noticed that more and more people are citing the problem of a dwindling attention span. And that attention span seems shorter every several months I read about it, no matter who from. Critical reading seems more in jeopardy, too. Social media is great, and I’m enjoying the difference of TikTok, but it’s certainly making its mark. However, I think just as much to ‘blame’ is the increased connectively in terms of connecting to other readers, which I know sounds awful of me to say because it’s so much easier now to find other readers than it was and I’ve benefited from making friends online who read; I had friends who read before, but we never spoke about books (I tried!) But that connection, wonderful as it is, ironically means we spend more time talking about it (or watching it) than doing, because, as said, to watch and talk is to interact, and to read, whether beside another reader or not, is still a bit of a solo bubble.

I think I need to suggest to my friend another read-a-long…

And that’s going to have to be my conclusion because this has to be the most ‘musings’ musing post I’ve ever written and I think it’ll take a bit of time before I’m my old self at this whole thing again!


1 2021 Goals and 2020 Data
2 I’ve written about it on Andrew Blackman’s blog, with a follow up on my own blog.



April 11, 2023, 1:56 pm

The dwindling attention span may be partly that we have so many choices for entertainment, particularly stories. I seed my house with books in different places, various kinds of stories for all kinds of moods, and that works for me.


April 12, 2023, 3:29 pm

It is getting easier and easier to not read, definitely. You know, I read about putting books around the home to promote reading just the other day and wasn’t sure about whether it would work but knowing you’re an avid reader, I’m going to consider it.



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