Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.
This week’s prompt was to list books to pull you out of a slump, but that differs from one slump to the next for me—and even more than that, what works for one person’s slump won’t always work for another!
Instead, I wanted to talk about ways that I make (or break) my reading moods! As someone who has ADHD and a loud, busy house (thanks, 2-year-old wild child), the reading mindset can be a difficult one for me to get into. Here are some things that work—or don’t work—to help me read!
5 things that HELP…
1. A cup of tea
It may sound silly, but something about a mug of warm tea really helps me get settled in to a good book. It works even better if the tea has caffeine, because my attention span is much better when I’m wide awake and alert!
2. Good lighting
It may sound obvious, but a lot of people underestimate the power of a good reading lamp! If I’m reading a physical book, it has to be bright enough to see well, but not so bright that the light bounces back off of the pages. When it comes to ebooks, I prefer reading in dimly lit rooms with the backlight on my iPad or Kindle—but not a pitch dark room, because then I can get a headache.
3. Noise-cancelling headphones
Even if I’m in a quiet room, alone, there’s always going to be white noise going on, whether it’s the dishwasher running, the air conditioner, or even little background stuff like my cats being jerks (which is what is happening right now haha). Noise-cancelling headphones are awesome because I’m very sensitive to background noises, and those little sounds distract me every time!
4. Quiet, instrumental music
While background noise bugs me, I love instrumental music as a soundtrack for reading. It can’t have any vocals at all, and for some reason most classical music doesn’t work, but I love a good acoustic or very chill EDM playlist. Some of my favorites can be found on Spotify if you search for the “Summer Acoustic” playlist or the “Atmospheric Calm” playlist.
5. Being ALONE!
I know, this sounds harsh, but it’s true: the #1 thing I need to really zone into a book is to be in a room by myself. This is why I get 99% of my reading done either while my son naps in the afternoons, or after he and my partner go to bed at night! Even if they’re being quiet and not trying to distract me, the fact that they’re there keeps me from fully tunneling in to my story.
5 things that HURT…
This is the #1 thing I cannot handle while reading, is having a TV on in the same room. I used to be able to read and watch TV at the same time, and at the end of it, I could tell you exactly what happened in both of them! Sadly, my attention span has worsened in recent years, and now, I just end up putting the book down and watching whatever is going on (even though I vastly prefer books to film).
2. Music with vocals
This is the #2 most likely thing to break my reading concentration: music with vocals. They don’t even have to be in a language I can understand! A funny side effect to this is that I also can’t listen to instrumental versions of songs I know the words to, because I start to hear the vocal tracks in my head…
I know, it might sound weird, but snacking while reading is super distracting to me! I’m always worried I’ll get food on the pages or on my ereader, so I usually just put the book down, eat my meal, and then get back to reading afterwards.
4. Moving vehicles
I used to be a pro at reading in the car! I would take several books on every family road trip, because I would literally read from the moment we started driving to the moment we reached our destination. While I’m still capable of reading in the car without motion sickness, I do get distracted way too easily and end up reading super slowly, or putting my book down pretty quickly. (Of course, audiobooks are a great exception to this rule when I’m driving alone!)
5. Reading outside
This one, I’m a little sheepish to admit. I love reading outside, but where I live now, I can’t ever fully focus on what I’m reading, because… well, as a kid, I grew up in homes that were either a little distance off from neighbors, or had privacy fences. This is the first home I’ve ever lived in where the neighbors are within my line of sight and we don’t have a privacy fence, and I tend to get a little wary while sitting outside! It doesn’t help that one of my neighbors creeps me out, like… a lot…
Let me know in the comments: what helps you get into the reading zone? What hurts your reading moods?