What I’m Really Doing When I’m Reading


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Aside from being a notorious book polygamist and a moody reader, I am also a distracted reader. This explains why I’m 17 books behind schedule for my Goodreads Reading Challenge. That and Dragon Age: Inquisition, other blogs, and the sudden desire to binge-watch episodes of Supernatural on Netflix every time my hand touches a book. Unlike many passionate readers though, I have a hard time getting sucked in to the world between the pages because I have an attention span of a gnat. This is what I’m really doing when I’m reading:


I am a curious person, so I frequently look up people, places, and ideas on Wikipedia. Reading only fuels my curiosity. When I was reading the Carnival at Bray, I spent a lot of time gazing at photographs of Ireland, which prompted my Wandering through Ireland post. Now, I’m reading Percy Jackson the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, and I find myself researching Greek mythology. I haven’t studied Greek mythology since high school, so I’m a little rusty, and while Riordan does an amazing job at conveying the mythology in his writing, I still cannot quench the thirst for more knowledge about the subject. (Digression: I’m pretty sure I’m a Ravenpuff).

Browsing instagram

I’ve had the instagram app on my phone for about two years, but I never really used it until I discovered book bloggers had instagram accounts too. Now I find myself flicking through the #bookstagram and #currentlyreading tags between chapters. I also browse the #booksandtea tag (so meta) even though I actually post under the #booksandcoffee tag more often.

Thinking about work

One of the biggest challenges I face when reading is my inability to completely forget about work. It’s such a buzz kill! Nothing ruins a feast in the Great Hall with Harry, Hermione, and Ron like the sudden realization that I forgot to reach out to a customer about their billing concerns. Almost immediately, I grab for my phone to e-mail myself a reminder, and then of course I have to check instagram again because my feed has new content.


I always keep a notebook nearby in case I feel compelled to write down a thought about the book I’m reading or a passage that resonated with me, but instead I find myself brainstorming. Most of the time I’m jotting down a list of blog post ideas, which I intend to publish one day, but you know…procrastination. Sometimes I even get an inkling of a story idea, and I jot those down too. Of course, I intend to write about those one day, but you know…procrastination.


It’s possible to be too cozy when reading a book, which is why I prefer reading on the couch instead of in bed. As soon as I sink into my pillow top mattress and surround myself with pillows and blankets, I start to nod off. I’m lucky if I can even make it through a full chapter.

Chasing Fargo away from my tea

Both Fargo and I love mint tea. I think it’s soothing, but it also keeps me alert. Fargo thinks it’s liquid catnip. He stalks and paws at my mugs of mint tea, so I have to  constantly push him away, toss around toys, or let him chase me around the living room.

Cleaning my apartment

Nu-uh! I’m not even lying, mom! When I have the apartment to myself on Saturday mornings, I reward myself with a chapter of a book each time I complete a chore. It’s a great system! Unfortunately, it’s not applicable to laundry.

Are you an easily distracted reader, or can you tune out the rest of the world and immerse yourself in a book?

17 responses to “What I’m Really Doing When I’m Reading”

  1. joyousreads Avatar

    Ha. I can relate. Totally. Especially with work thing. Luckily, it’s gotten to a point where I desperately need to distract myself by reading so I stop thinking about work. Having a notebook nearby sounds like a good idea. Except…I can never find one when I need one. Gah! Great post, Jackie!


    1. Jackie G. Avatar
      Jackie G.

      My notebooks are always pretty easy to find. It’s the pens that go MIA!


  2. Inge Avatar

    Hahaha, your kitty is so cute ❤ and I am ridiculously excited about the fact that you're reading Percy Jackson. I just finished the series myself and just.. so many feelings *sigh*

    My mind generally wanders off whilst I read, just creating stories of my own hahaha. I'll be reading a contemporary and all of a sudden I'm writing Harry Potter fanfiction in my head. Not that I'll ever write it down, but…


    1. Jackie G. Avatar
      Jackie G.

      I wrote a Harry Potter fan fic down once. And then I realized it was the woooooooorst!


  3. Alice Hawkfield Avatar
    Alice Hawkfield

    Fargo is so cute! Love him ❤


    1. Jackie G. Avatar
      Jackie G.

      He’s especially cute from a distance. If I ever try to pet him, he tries to gnaw my fingers off. Cuddle-cat he is not 😦


  4. jrandallg Avatar

    I am either doing everything but reading or doing NOTHING but reading. There is no in between for me. If I’m in a good book, I don’t want to sleep, make food, break away long enough to take a shower…I do, but I get aggravated.
    And then there’s having a notebook when I need one. Don’t get me started on that. I will have to get one for every stick of furniture in the place because there’s never one where I need it, when I need it. And then by the time I find it, I’ve forgotten what I was going to write.


  5. Ocean Bream Avatar
    Ocean Bream

    I am easily distracted too! I’ve been reading Gone with the Wind for three years now, and it hasn’t made it out of my ‘currently reading’ shelf on Goodreads. Sigh. However I have managed to swallow down a good many books during it so that must be a good thing. Also, thank you for pointing out that there are booklovers on Instagram! I am also significantly relieved to find out that napping whilst reading is not a problem only I face. I was beginning to get worried there. 🙂


    1. Jackie G. Avatar
      Jackie G.

      Wow! To endure a book for three years takes dedication. I think I would have given up by year two. Have you enjoyed what you’ve read of Gone with the Wind so far?


  6. Kaja Avatar

    This is all very true! I get distracted often, especially if the book I’m currently reading isn’t really all that good. I also usually read several books at a time, switching between stories to suit my mood, but from time to time I come across a good book that takes over all my free time (this just happened with Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier – if you’d like fantasy with a celtic/medieval twist, this is perfect).
    I could add Twitter and Pinterest to your list of distractions, as well as cooking/making food. I like reading when I eat (and vice-versa).


    1. Jackie G. Avatar
      Jackie G.

      I’ve had my eye on Daughter of the Forest for a while now, but I’m thinking I need to check it out sooner rather than later.

      Eating is actually another distraction. As in, I get so distracted by snacking that I focus more on scooping ice cream into my mouth rather than reading. I’m apparently terrible at multitasking.


  7. Lola Avatar

    I don’t make much time to read in a day, but when I make time to read I do only do that. During breakfast I read, so I guess I am also eating then, but I can eat and read at the same time. In the evenings I often pop some bubble wrap or fidgeting when I am reading in bed, but that helps me focus. My mind does sometimes wander when I am reading. Back when we still had pet rats a large part of reading was spent keeping an eye on them, petting them and making sure they didn’t fall of the bed or peed on the bed. Your cat is adorable and that’s so cute he likes tea!


  8. shannonmiz Avatar

    Awww Fargo is cute 🙂 Also, I think you need to come to my house! Basically, I read instead of doing ALL the other things. We are at two opposite ends of this spectrum. Like, cleaning? Pshh, I have books to read! Sleep? Nah, just a few more chapters 😉 Even if I AM in bed with pillows and comfiness. Oh, but I DO agree about wanting to look things up that I stumble upon in books- that’s a good procrastination method while trying to blog 😉


    1. Jackie G. Avatar
      Jackie G.

      Fargo meows at you in appreciation for your compliment!


  9. Samantha Reed Avatar
    Samantha Reed

    I can be a distracted reader, it just depends on what mood I am in. There are times, like last night, where I get so pulled into a book that I just devour it and can think of nothing else. Other times, I find it hard to focus when I am worried about something or someone. I also can’t read late at night, or else I would never go to sleep ❤


  10. Vlora Avatar

    Oh god yes, this SO MUCH. I’m the most distracted, fickle reader in the world. I’ll read a sentence look up a word on my phone and then remember I was supposed to be reading an hour later. And I often don’t even read for weeks on end when I’m busy with work or uni or whatever. Or well, I do read, but shorter stuff online instead of actual books with new worlds I have to get into. Definitely understand what you mean, great post!


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Hello, my name is Jackie. I’m a thirty-something mother of a rambunctious toddler from a small town in Michigan. When I’m not toddler-wrangling, I’m often seeking refuge from life’s most chaotic moments in a cup of hot tea. I also love getting lost in stories—both in books and virtually. I enjoy speculative fiction the most, and I am especially eager to read fantasy novels and horror novels. When I’m feeling especially indulgent (usually after everyone in the house has gone to sleep), I like to dive into video games and explore the sprawling worlds in Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect.

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