Reader’s Block


According to the urban dictionary, you have reader’s block when you cannot, for the life of you, pick up a book and read it. Sure, you may be able to read a paragraph or two, or maybe even a page, but you don’t retain anything of what you just read or have the attention span and will to go on.

I have this. I have had this before, many times, but they were all temporary. Sometimes I would buy a book, read the preface and if that doesn’t excite me, I jump to another book or reread my favourite. When I have no other book to read, I go back to the forgotten one and read it. But I have been suffering from this present block for the past six months.

I don’t remember how I came across James Joyce’s Ulysses. It is a massive book with 648 pages, and it is said to have 30,030 unique words. I read the reviews, and most of them were about how challenging the book was to read.
“Ah! Are you challenging me?”- I thought. There were also reviews about how they have had the book for two years and couldn’t complete even a part. “I am not like them”- I told myself. Those reviews couldn’t deter me from buying it.
I got the book and was very excited when I saw the number of pages. I like huge books and series. I started reading immediately, and after six months I have completed the first episode and have no clue what the episode is about.

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I was able to comprehend only a few things. The story happens in Ireland. There are three people Buck Mulligan, Stephan Dedalus and Haines. Buck keeps teasing everybody which Stephen doesn’t like. They go for swimming after breakfast. This episode explains the character of Buck and Stephan which I would understand only after reading hundred times.

Sometimes I feel like giving up, but my ego wouldn’t let me to. They say that “For those who love to read, the reader’s block is worse than heart disease and cancer combined”. It is. After reading all the tips to clear the block and the motivational articles, I open the book and read a couple of pages. That goes on for a week, and again I go back to square one ignoring it.

In the past six months after I started reading ( if one episode counts as reading), I completed six books including two history books, a series of 5 volumes and Mansfield Park. Mansfield Park used to be tough before I started Ulysses.

I don’t know whether I would be able to complete it. But I know that I will keep trying.

If you have experienced this, please share it. I would love to know that I am not alone


10 thoughts on “Reader’s Block

  1. Looks at my bookshelf full of untouched Haruki Murakami books. Er, yep, I’d say I have reader’s block too. Don’t you hate it when you have writer’s block and people tell you to read but then reader’s block happen? Yeah, that’s me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand what you are talking about. I am currently working my way through The Faerie Queen by Spenser. What helps me is extensive annotation. I write a summary of every stanza. I also previewed the poem by reading a commentary about it. I usually read three or four books simultaneously so when I have had my fill of one book, I switch to another. Hope this helps.
    P. S. I love Mansfield Park–it is worth the time and effort, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wow thanks for the tips. i’ll get an annotated edition. i think that’s the only way i to read this. i agree.mansfield park is worth readin😊. enjoy Faerie Queen. i havent heard about it but now i will search


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