BOOK THOUGHTS ON THURSDAY | READING AND THE AGING PROCESS

Book Thoughts On Thursday

 

The world of books is never boring. Every week (well, most weeks) I’ll discuss a different topic related to books, often inspired by or in response to what’s going on in the online book community (or something I’ve seen another blogger talk about). I call this Book Thoughts on Thursday. Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, or even write your own post on the topic and share the link with me!

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There are a lot of things you don’t anticipate about being a grown up when you’re a kid. You don’t realize that if you eat nothing but ice cream and cereal for a few days you’ll actually start craving broccoli. You don’t realize that just because you could drink all your friends under the table at 23 doesn’t mean you’ll still be able to (or should even try) a decade later. You don’t realize that it might take a really long time to figure out what you want to do – if you ever do. You also don’t realize just how fast time will go, and just how fast things will start to go wrong with your hitherto reliable body.

I bet you’re wondering what this has to do with reading, right? Bear with me, I’m getting there.

About a year and a half ago, I participated in my first 24-hour readathon. I was so excited. I had everything planned, including the perfect comfy chair complete with blanket and purring kitten. Now, this was a chair I’d literally spent an entire day in while marathoning Harry Potter movies or every single episode of Orange Is the New Black. So I figured I could read in it for a day no problem, right?

Wrong. After a couple of hours (even with breaks to get up and stretch), I started to feel a little stiff. A few more and I had pains in muscles I didn’t even know I had. By the end of the day I felt like I’d actually run in a marathon, not read in one.

This experience made me realize something important: I’m getting old. And it’s only going to get worse.

Since then I’ve had similar issues. I fell and tweaked a muscle in my neck which made any position you’d normally read in pretty much impossible. Holding a book even more so. Since then I’ve had several more minor issues that have impeded my reading comfort, and it sucks. Gone are the days I could bend myself like a pretzel into any available seat and completely lose myself in whatever I was reading, to the point of not even being aware I still had a body, let alone experiencing pain in it.

I’ve had to get pretty creative with reading positions. I read more in bed, staying there for an extra hour in the morning rather than getting up and trying to read in a chair. I have e-books loaded onto my phone so that I can switch to one of them when holding a physical book is too challenging. I have several extra pillows I can employ to prop up whichever part of my body is currently in agony. And, of course, I experiment. Sometimes a position you wouldn’t normally even consider ends up being perfect:

Reading Positions
#10. It’s actually ridiculously comfy (if only for a short time).

 

Though most of the time I make do, I have to admit to feeling just a little bit sorry for myself from time to time (along with being viciously jealous of my younger self). I’m dealing with it as best I can, but man does it suck sometimes.

Do any of you have this problem yet? Any tips for surprisingly workable reading locations I might not have tried yet? Seriously. I’ll try anything.

8 thoughts on “BOOK THOUGHTS ON THURSDAY | READING AND THE AGING PROCESS

  1. M.

    Yeah, I mean I love physical books, and I'll always read them some of the time, but my e-reader and phone get more time from me these days too. It's weird, I also feel like I read faster on a device, though I don't know why! It might just be an illusion because I can't feel the pages shift so I lose track, but I do like it for tougher reads.

    Oh man, that happens to me too. By the end of a readathon I'm pretty much useless!

    Reply
  2. M.

    Yeah, I mean I love physical books, and I'll always read them some of the time, but my e-reader and phone get more time from me these days too. It's weird, I also feel like I read faster on a device, though I don't know why! It might just be an illusion because I can't feel the pages shift so I lose track, but I do like it for tougher reads.

    Oh man, that happens to me too. By the end of a readathon I'm pretty much useless!

    Reply
  3. M.

    I used to love curling myself into a corner (couch, chair, whatever) but between my aging and being a little chubbier now, that doesn't work out so well anymore! I definitely recommend a recliner ASAP though. We got a couple of them and it makes SUCH a difference!

    I do the pillow-rest thing as well, It definitely helps the arms, though I'll have to move around when my neck gets tired (if it's not one thing it's another…)! I don't have glasses yet, but I'm on the edge of needing them, and I'll definitely keep this in mind – sounds like excellent advice!

    Reply
  4. M.

    I used to love curling myself into a corner (couch, chair, whatever) but between my aging and being a little chubbier now, that doesn't work out so well anymore! I definitely recommend a recliner ASAP though. We got a couple of them and it makes SUCH a difference!

    I do the pillow-rest thing as well, It definitely helps the arms, though I'll have to move around when my neck gets tired (if it's not one thing it's another…)! I don't have glasses yet, but I'm on the edge of needing them, and I'll definitely keep this in mind – sounds like excellent advice!

    Reply
  5. Cayt

    I can't say I have that problem to such a large extent but I am getting older and I can see it coming. Haha! I already hate holding physical books. I get really tired of them and they hurt my arm. I read almost exclusively on my Kindle now. I think I read faster on it and it's a lot easier to read it and hold it wherever I am, mostly in bed.

    My biggest issue with reading is that I tend to fall asleep whenever I read. I'm always tired and I also like to read lying down, so I nearly always fall asleep if I'm reading in my morning on my day off or at night before bed. I don't think I've be very successful at a 24 hour read-a-thon. I would absolutely fall asleep all day long. 😛

    Cayt @ Vicarious Caytastrophe

    Reply
  6. Cayt

    I can't say I have that problem to such a large extent but I am getting older and I can see it coming. Haha! I already hate holding physical books. I get really tired of them and they hurt my arm. I read almost exclusively on my Kindle now. I think I read faster on it and it's a lot easier to read it and hold it wherever I am, mostly in bed.

    My biggest issue with reading is that I tend to fall asleep whenever I read. I'm always tired and I also like to read lying down, so I nearly always fall asleep if I'm reading in my morning on my day off or at night before bed. I don't think I've be very successful at a 24 hour read-a-thon. I would absolutely fall asleep all day long. 😛

    Cayt @ Vicarious Caytastrophe

    Reply
  7. Emily

    This is an interesting topic! (But I'm sorry to hear that reading has become painful for you!)

    I've been struggling lately with my knees – for some reason I'm never comfortable sitting “normally” in a chair or on the couch – I need to have one or both legs up to feel comfortable. However, as I've gotten older, this has become killer on my knees. I'm trying to figure out how to combat it – I can stretch out my legs if my boyfriend isn't on the couch, but it's not easy when he's there too. Someday when I live in a real house I'll get a reclining chair, I think that will solve it. But for now I'm stuck with just a small couch.

    I think using your iPhone is smart, it gives you a break from holding up a heavy book. I also like to put a big pillow on my lap and prop the book there.

    My mom is a HUGE advocate of reading glasses, for people who normally wear bifocals. She says that while you can technically read while wearing bifocals, you often find yourself craning your neck unnaturally to use the reading portion of the glasses. She switches fully to reading glasses when she sits down with a book or knitting, and swears by it.

    Reply
  8. Emily

    This is an interesting topic! (But I'm sorry to hear that reading has become painful for you!)

    I've been struggling lately with my knees – for some reason I'm never comfortable sitting “normally” in a chair or on the couch – I need to have one or both legs up to feel comfortable. However, as I've gotten older, this has become killer on my knees. I'm trying to figure out how to combat it – I can stretch out my legs if my boyfriend isn't on the couch, but it's not easy when he's there too. Someday when I live in a real house I'll get a reclining chair, I think that will solve it. But for now I'm stuck with just a small couch.

    I think using your iPhone is smart, it gives you a break from holding up a heavy book. I also like to put a big pillow on my lap and prop the book there.

    My mom is a HUGE advocate of reading glasses, for people who normally wear bifocals. She says that while you can technically read while wearing bifocals, you often find yourself craning your neck unnaturally to use the reading portion of the glasses. She switches fully to reading glasses when she sits down with a book or knitting, and swears by it.

    Reply

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