Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you. The day has been crammed full of work, meetings, chores, gardening, laundry, dishes, and more. Exhausted, you finally plop into bed, turn on your reading light, and open the book you have been trying to finish for the last several weeks. After a minute or two, you are startled awake as the book PLOPS onto your chest or tumbles to the floor. This has happened to me more times than I care to admit. And the next day, I have no recollection of what happened in the two or three pages I managed to "sleep-read" the night before.
Welcome to the adult version of the "summer slide"! While the summer slide usually refers to how important it is to keep kids reading all summer long so they don't lose their reading momentum and end up having a regression in academic proficiency, the slide can happen to adults, too. I've hit lulls in my reading that I refer to as my "literary dark ages".
When the winter storms are raging and the rains are falling, it is so much easier to find time to cozy up with a good book. But nicer summer weather brings so many opportunities for hiking, biking, ball games, camping, vacationing, and more...and often the books get left behind. This week, we are going to give adults some pointers on how to reinvigorate your summer reading so literature finds a year-round place in your busy life.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is actually schedule some reading time. One trick I utilize is to forfeit some internet browsing time to start a new book during the part of day when I am widest awake. Then I make a commitment to read at least the first three chapters of the book so I can get myself wrapped up in the story. If I get vested in the characters and the plot when I am fully alert, I find it much easier to stay engaged with the book even when the "drowsies" hit at bedtime.
Another idea that could work for you is to try reading in a new genre. If you normally read mysteries, check out a Young Adult novel or a true-crime thriller. Or if you gravitate to Sci-Fi, take home a Western or a biography instead. Sometimes, a little change of pace is all you need to reignite your love of reading.
Have you ever tried listening to a book instead of reading a printed copy? Summer vacations and driving trips are the perfect time to try out listening to a story by checking out an audio book. You can either check out one of our many books on CD, or download an e-audiobook to your smartphone or tablet. If you have never tried listening to a book in the car, you really should. A long road trip can fly by so much faster when you have someone reading you a story. Our librarians would even be happy to help you find one that would be appropriate for your entire family to enjoy together.
One reason books get left behind on summer excursions is they take up too much room when you are packing for a trip. That is when e-books are great. If you have a laptop, tablet or i-pad, you can load it up with e-books, audiobooks, music, movies, e-magazines, or whatever else you might enjoy, and it doesn't take up any more room than a single magazine.
So, there you have it! No more summer slide for kids...or adults. By keeping an open mind, and making a deliberate effort to commit yourself to reading, you will never again experience a literary dark age of your own. Happy reading!