I feel like reading shouldn’t be that hard right now. I have time. I have books. I need distraction. I want to learn.
But somehow, despite my best intentions every day, I have been struggling to read. I know I’m not alone in this. I’ve read all the explanations–stress, trauma, grief. I understand that, despite the suggestion that we could all be like Shakespeare and write King Lear while quarantined, productivity is challenging during a pandemic–and possibly not the best path to self-care.
But I can barely even read for escape.
To be fair, I am reading more than ever. Seemingly millions of words every day as I scroll the news and read articles that come across my feed. But I haven’t been able to read books.
The past week has been better, however. All thanks to a new constraint applied in desperation.
Reading by color.
A few weeks ago, I reorganized one of my bookshelves by color. There are stacks of orange books, green books, blue books. It’s visually pleasant, though I tend to forget which books are there.
The other day, flailing around desperately for a way to find motivation to read, I spied the shelf and thought to myself, I might as well just read orange books.
Which sounded like a really dumb reason to choose a book, except… it also sounded kind of fun.
I grabbed the first orange book on the stack: Jason Reynolds’s Patina, the second volume in his Tracks middle-grade series. I loved Ghost, the first book in the series, but never continued for no very good reason.
And reading orange worked! I finished Patina in two days, the first book I’ve finished in a month.
Next up: more orange! I’ve got Genesis Begins Again from the library. Maybe Jacqueline Woodson’s Harbor Me. I even have one orange professional development book I have’t read yet, Kelly Gallagher’s In the Best Interest of Students.
How are you finding the focus, attention, and quiet mind to read right now?