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5 Ways That Grief Affected My Reading in 2022

5 ways that grief affected my reading in 2022

What a year.

There have been many highs and lows, but I wanted to talk today about 5 ways grief has affected my reading in 2022. It has been one year since my brother passed away, and this is written from the perspective of early stages of grief.

Grief is unique to individuals and to their relationships with the people they have lost. It isn’t a one-size fits all, which means that if you are coming to this page with your own grief you may or may not resonate with what I’m writing here. And that is okay.

These are my own experiences with my grief and how this affected my relationship with reading. This is in no way medical advice or advice on how you should deal with your grief. I do encourage you to find grief support groups in your local area and to also see a grief counsellor if you can. I hope that if you find these words, they bring you some comfort.

1 I Became More Sensitive to Certain Topics in Books

Recently, my book club selected the novel Jesustown by Paul Daley. The opening scene of the novel is set in a funeral home. I don’t know anything else about the novel because that is where the novel and I went separate ways.

I don’t really know what it was about that specific novel or scene that stopped me in my reading tracks. All I know is that I couldn’t keep reading.

In the past, I probably would have beaten myself up about not finishing a book, but life is too short to read things that don’t give you something good in return.

I know that the sensitivity could go or stay. But either way, I am trying not to fight it. Remember to tell yourself:

It is okay if I feel that certain topics or themes are too much for me to read right now.

2 I Read A lot Less Books

I set my Goodreads challenge to 101 books every year. Last year I only made it to 72. If you think that 72 is already more than enough, then I might remind you that I read for my work as well as for this blog. Getting in 100 books is usually easy for me. So 72 was not a great reading year.

Reading a lot less didn’t always mean not reading. In fact, I would find that I could read for hours and days on end – finish two or three books back to back and then not be able to read anything for month or two.

Remember to tell yourself:

It doesn’t matter if I read or not. It’s okay to do what feels right in the moment.

3 I Felt Drawn to Books That Talked About Grief

After my brother died, I read several books about sibling loss, which I’ll list below. It felt like the only thing I could understand – books written by people who were also trying to navigate a world without their sibling.

For some people I know, the complete opposite is true and they didn’t want to read a single book about grief or loss. Instead, they turned to fantasy and fiction of every kind. There is no right or wrong in these things.

Remember to tell yourself:

It is okay to read what I need to help me get through.


4 Audiobooks Felt Easier Some Days

When I wanted to be distracted, but couldn’t actually focus on reading the ‘traditional’ way – I leant in to audiobooks. I would often listen to audiobooks while knitting or crocheting which was a great way to keep my hands and mind occupied and I’ve got some great lists here. Sometimes you just can’t think too much or dwell on the grief and so whatever way you can find solace is okay.

For anyone who thinks that audiobooks aren’t real books or real reading, let me remind you that several studies have shown that audiobooks stimulate the same part of the brain as other kinds of reading. So… science says listen to the audiobooks.

Remember to tell yourself:

It’s okay to try different ways to read – whether this is audiobooks, magazines, or poetry.

5 Sometimes, I Just Went With the Flow

My father died 11 years ago, and I thought I knew every face of grief. The reality is that when my brother died, I felt so totally and utterly unprepared for this new kind of grief. I didn’t want to be heartbroken, but not wanting something didn’t really change the outcome.

Even now, after a year – there is still so much I am processing. So sometimes, you just have to go with the flow.

Remember to tell yourself:

It is okay to grieve.

I hope that this has helped you in some way on your own reading and grieving journey. Please look after yourself. As always, share the reading love.

One thought on “5 Ways That Grief Affected My Reading in 2022

  1. As a short story writer, I can relate to the ways in which grief can affect one’s reading habits. It’s powerful to see the author of this post be so open and honest about their own experiences with grief and how it has impacted their relationship with reading. I particularly resonated with the point about becoming more sensitive to certain topics in books and feeling drawn to books that talked about grief. Grief is a unique and personal journey and it’s important to remember that it’s okay to read and engage with what feels right in the moment.