Why it’s so hard to read in times of distress

When India’s lockdown guidelines came in, people responded with collective dismay that books were not considered essential.

Under normal circumstances, I would squarely be in that category of outraged people. I consider myself an avid reader. But lately, I have found myself oddly unable to read. I stare at the large pile of unread books on my bookshelf and the two shiny tomes on my bedside table, but I haven’t been able to get through even a few pages every day.

I take solace in the fact that I am not alone. Several of my colleagues have complained that despite having “extra” time on their hands, reading seemed like a daunting task. Though the “extra” time is a myth given the increased household and parental responsibilities most people feel, it still feels counterintuitive to not be able to read when the calendar is cleared of social engagements.

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