Everyone has problems in life, but if you’re an avid reader (we mean diehard bibliophile), chances are you face distinct challenges. (If you’re on this site, that’s probably you.) Here are six problems only serious readers have — along with solutions to make your reading life run more smoothly.
1. Your favorite author doesn’t write fast enough
Discovering an author you love can be a joyous experience. But it can also be frustrating. If they’re a debut author or don’t have a large back catalog, you might find yourself running out of their books to read. You’re forced to wait patiently until their next book is released, continuously wondering if they are writing right now, and, if not, what they could possibly be doing that’s more important?
The solution: There’s a whole world of incredible authors and books out there waiting to be discovered. Think about why you like this particular author’s book(s): Is it the genre? The setting? The subject matter? Some other element? Look up lists of books with similar features that hit that sweet spot, whether they’re inventive fantasy retellings, novels with strong heroines, or books dealing with the complexities of climate change.
2. You haven’t finished the novel for book club
It’s a night you look forward to every month: book club night. You’re eager to catch up with your fellow bibliophiles, perhaps open a bottle of wine and share some snacks, and discuss your latest book club pick. Only you haven’t exactly finished that book yet. Maybe you’re halfway through, maybe you’re only three pages in. Whatever the scenario, you’re not done, and you’re not going to finish in time. Do you miss out on the enjoyable evening, or attend and pretend like you’ve read the book? Or maybe you admit to your group you haven’t finished, but risk having the plot spoiled.
The solution: First, decide if you actually want to read this book. Perhaps your month has been too busy or emotionally taxing to crack open the book — or maybe you’re just not that into it. If the book’s not for you, book club is a great place to talk about why without fearing spoilers, since you’re probably not going to read the book anyway. If you do want to finish the book, try to read as much as you can before the meeting, and then ask the group to warn you of any major plot reveals so you can briefly duck out of the room.
3. You don’t have time to read this week
It’s wonderful when you have long stretches of time to read, but life is not always smooth sailing. Sometimes your work gets hectic, the kids get a stomach bug, or your calendar is filled with social plans, and your reading time drops down to zero. This is particularly difficult if reading is a big part of your self-care routine, whether to distract yourself from stressors, relax your mind and body, or fall asleep at night.
The solution: The first step is acceptance. You might not be able to read as much as your heart desires this week, and that’s OK. Second, if you can’t bear the thought of no books for an entire week, look for small ways to inject reading into your life while you’re doing other tasks. Audiobooks are a great solution: You can listen while you’re driving to work, doing the dishes, or walking the dog.
4. You’re spending too much money on books
You love reading, and you love supporting authors, so you’ve been one-clicking ebooks all over the place — and let’s not talk about the last time you were in your local indie bookstore. Buying books is fabulous, but when you’ve bought so many in one month that they can’t fit on your shelves, it makes sense to rethink your reading strategy.
The solution: Book subscription services like Scribd are excellent for people who read a lot but don’t want to bust their budget. With Scribd, you can read countless just-released books and bestsellers, not to mention listen to amazing audiobooks, for one flat rate per month, without waiting or worrying about returning the books when you’re done. Savvy readers often combine multiple ways to obtain books — buying, borrowing, and subscribing — depending on their budget, book preferences, and reading speed.
5. Your bookish friends keep recommending books
Book recommendations: You appreciate them, but they also give you angst. You get excited when you read or hear about a notable book, but your to-be-read list is starting to look way too long. You might revel in this embarrassment of riches, but it could also lead you to feel overwhelmed or the literary equivalent of analysis paralysis when you try to decide what to read next.
The solution: You don’t have to read every single book that someone recommends. Take a deep breath and reread that sentence if you need to. Barring a book-filled afterlife, chances are you won’t be able to read every book. This is a little depressing, yes, but use it to motivate yourself to choose the books you’re most excited to read right now. Think quality, not quantity: What matters at the end of the day (month, year, life) is not how many books on your to-do list you read, but which books made you laugh, cry, swoon, tremble with anticipation, learn something new, or simply spoke to your soul.
6. All your library holds came in at once
If you’re a book lover, you know the excitement of anticipating a book you’re just dying to read, whether you learned about it on a book list, from a friend, or while browsing online. The trouble is, you probably have a long list of these must-read books. If you’re using your local library, this could mean you’re requesting novels left and right. Which is fine if the library holds are evenly-spaced, ready to be borrowed one at a time, with plenty of reading hours between. But the library gods are fickle, and so often you’re faced with the ten-car-pile-up situation of all these books being ready at once.
The solution: Use the online feature, available for most libraries’ digital book catalogs, to suspend some of your ebook or audio holds so they’re not all coming at once. You’ll still move up the wait list, but the books won’t be delivered until you remove the suspension. You can also supplement with a subscription service like Scribd where there is no wait time to read books, and also no book pileup.