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Ellen Fowler Hummel of Wilmette, Ill., hit an unexpected reading slump in April when she got covid and her attention span disappeared. “What I thought would be days of reading while recovering turned out not to be, as my eyes and head hurt, and reading was the last thing I felt like doing,” she wrote. “One morning I picked up ‘The Best American Short Stories 2011,’ which had sat on a bookshelf unread. I found the shortest one from the table of contents, and told myself to read just that story. And I did. The next day I read another one, then the next day I read a story from Alice Munro’s ‘Runaway,’ also on my shelves. … The stories were so different from each other, they reminded me again of why I enjoy reading.”

Kris Motyka of Naples, Fla., has a similar tactic, opening a book of poetry and reading a few random poems. “I also have opened up books by Thoreau or Emerson, letting the pages open where they may, and spent five minutes immersed in these words,” Motyka wrote. “After a few days or weeks, I am once again ready to start reading books.”



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