I think I finally figured out how I have to read most books. A few I still sit down and devour start to finish (mostly on the Kindle), but many paper books that I want to read I just can't spend extended periods with – my attention span is just too short. A few years back I started keeping all the ones I'd started stacked by my chair in the study, thinking that would help, but I'd pick one and read it till I got bored with it and then, burned out on reading for the evening, quit.
A few nights ago I decided that I wanted to make a little progress on each, and read a section of each one. In some it was a whole chapter, in others a section within a chapter, and damn you Stephen Hawking, I can only do a couple of pages of you before I have to switch to something I understand.
The results have been terrific. I have enjoyed each of these books that I had previously dreaded, I don't feel guilty setting them down when I get to a stopping point – it's now a sense of accomplishment – and I'm actually making progress on all of them. I finished the Annotated Frankenstein the other night and I'm getting close on a couple of others.
It's exactly the opposite of the reading "zone" I remember back in junior high where I'd get immersed in First Men in the Moon or Alan Dean Foster's Star Trek Log books, but … I'm not the same person I was then, either.
My routine is also settled – I set the stereo to iPhone input and the iPhone to focus@will – usually Spa, but sometimes Cinematic, turn on the fire, tell Alexa to turn off the desk and table lights, and start. As someone who should have more appreciation for good music I do feel guilty listening to focus@will for entertainment, as opposed to just concentration, but as noted above, I'm making compromises where appropriate these days.
After I'm done with these, most evenings I read the books I'm more interested in on the Kindle in bed upstairs, but I usually just pick one, and I'm not too badly backlogged there.
But don't get me started on the horror show that is my Audible account. I don't know if there's such a thing as an Audible hoarder, but I may be one.