Reading (for fun) and ADHD

Okay so when I was a kid I could read literally endlessly and like as I became an adult I read less, sort of because I had less time but in the last couple of years I have barely been reading at ALL. I used to be able to meet like a 35 book yearly reading challenge on Goodreads and this year I set FIFTEEN and I’m not going to make it.

The issue isn’t that I don’t WANT to read, like, I really want to read. Some of it is I read more nonfiction than I used to and it REALLY makes my mind wander so I’ll read a paragraph and then think about it for half an hour and then realize it’s been 45 minutes and I’ve read a paragraph, so it’s just slower. But I’m also not finishing books the way I used to, which is weird, like I have a BUNCH of novels in progress right now that I just can’t stay interested in? Or I’ll start a novel and I’ll struggle to read it for weeks until I get to the last third of the book and then I read the rest in a day.

I don’t know what I’m looking for here. Has anyone else had this experience? Does anyone have tips on reading more with ADHD? I also can’t do audiobooks because I HATE the way people sound when they read out loud; I don’t know why. I like podcasts fine but if someone is reading a book I can tell and it makes me want to rip my hair out. Sorry this is a long post!! But let me know if you have advice, I miss reading :cry:


HI belidam,

yes, I had the same experience. I used to read loads that it changed, but at the beginning of this year I read like 25 books in a couple of month. Somehow it is all in or nothing. I realized, that when I am in forums and when I chat a lot with other people I read less. When I detox Fb and whatsapp it is easy or me to read. Than it is difficult to stop reading. It must be a dopamine thing. Quicker reward when texting… or something like that.


Most of my book reading over the last few years has been on my phone. My local library district and the neighboring one both use the same reading app, so I check out ebooks or audiobooks.

Reading on my phone screen isn’t the same as a print book, but it’s easy to read for a few minutes at a time (and no late fees… The app forces me to return books on time.)

  • Undiagnosed ADHD had contributed to me returning books late on a number of occasions, so I prefer checking out ebooks, or buying my own copy (in print or ebook format).

What got me started on the first place was continuing a fiction book series that I had started with a print book from the same series years before. I have now read or listened to most of the series.

Then, a couple of years ago, my job took a turn for the worse, prompting me to start looking for a new job. So, at that time I started with non-fiction books (and a lot of TED Talks) in order to improve myself.

That was part of the journey to me ultimately discovering that I am ADHD, which led me to this forum.

As with so many things, I have to be interested in the book for some sort of personal reason, or I’m not motivated to read it. I prefer to finish any book that I start (with the rare exception, if it is a really bad book), but the last few weeks it has been hard to complete any. I am now in a mode of thinking, “just give me what I need!” I think that this is because I’m trying so hard to develop some mastery in my new job, and the things that usually interest me aren’t helping me with that.


Me too. I can’t do audiobooks because my attention wanders and I lose track. But now I mostly read non-fiction (and not cover to cover like fiction). Mainly because I am too distracted and can’t enjoy fiction. When I read, I generally finish a novel with if I read a few page and like it. Given that nonstop reading tendency I don’t start unless I know I have a bunch of free time ahead. Now that we are all sheltering in place, there is much more free time but somehow I don’t feel like reading fiction.

I read non-fiction online (or download EPUB or PDF format books) but for novels I much prefer real books!

No tips on reading fiction more with ADHD. Sorry! Well… except one! Reading a great way to procrastinate :slight_smile:

Edit: Just thought of one suggestion: how about starting a thread on novels you really really like? Then others can talk about books they really like and why. That just might create enough mental fuel to get started on reading!


This is not always a terrible thing because it helps you comprehend

You might need to put in some kind of reward. system for like so many pages you get some reward

I cant do audiobooks because my wandering attention gets away from me within a minute.

Dont say sorry say Thank you for reading (from one of jessicas videos called “What to Say Instead of I’m Sorry”)


I struggle a lot with reading. For me, I’ve found that it helps if I take advantage of time when things are quiet or when I can join someone else reading. My s/o is a major book worm, so when she reads I will try to sit down or lay down next to her and also pull out a book. I can still only tolerate small doses, like a chapter at a time. I also tend to be able to do better with reading on days that I’ve slept well the night before and on weekends when I have fewer stressors. I find it hard to read after work in the evening unless it is closer to bedtime and I’m trying not to stimulate my mind too much.


I’ve always found reading really hard it takes a lot of effort to concentrate and try and take in what I’m reading, I do like books but I avoid reading to myself because of the mental effort I think, I do enjoy reading to my kids though.
I also have dyslexia so maybe that’s partly why it’s such an effort.



Aloha (Hello),

This is ringing true for me on every level and I can relate so much to others on here! I started realizing I havent read since I was a kid! Now i cant say i read loads of books, I think my eyes were always bigger than what I could do, but adulthood has made it so I was almost never reading. (But I bet you’ve read all these posts so that counts right?! :rofl:)
I’ve been worried that because I’m going to school to teach, I just dont make enough time for reading…I of course then tried to set a timer and tried to routinely read for just 10 minutes a night…eventually it worked up to 30 minutes and more. I really struggle to get through paragraphs let alone sentences. Some days are a major success…others arent because I also find myself stuck daydreaming, all the time, as though there isnt even a book there in front of me at all.
I love reading books on my phone but I dont often meet other who liketo read so I rarely feel I should share stories I enjoy, with others.
Would you like to read something with me and then we can attempt to chat about it? You’ve possibly even read it already, but it’s a free book on google play books…its Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray? His views on art mirror my own and when you mentioned sort of daydreaming, I do that all the time. Oscar Wilde wrote a favorite quote of mine about dreamers.
But let me know, sometimes an accountability partner helps! No pressure! And if that’s not one for you, I’d love to hear any you’re interested in!

All the best to you,



Okay, same cause when I was younger, I was a bookworm, but now I just don’t really have time to read in college. Still, what I try to do at least this is my reading habit is that sometimes I read in bed under a red or orange light to help fall asleep, which is a tip I will give but proceed this with caution as sometimes it can backfire and you stay up way too late reading a book. Hope this helps


That happens with me but for me it is replying to the forums lol


lately I’ve been running into the same problem but I love books.

I have more recently started listening to podcasts from time to time, sometimes it makes doing the dishes or something of the like a little more interesting. So long as it is a simple task or I will find myself pausing and backing it up a lot. The two podcasts that I have found that I enjoy are “Myths and Legends” and “Fictional”. They are both by the same guy and neither are read directly from a book. Myths and Legends are about much older stories such as Mulan, Aladdin, King Arthur and the knights of the round table, and many others that aren’t as well known. All of those stories he does his best to tell as close to their original version as possible. Fictional I have only just found and haven’t listened to much but is more aligned with classic literature such as Sherlock Holmes, the time machine, and Dracula. He hopes people will get inspired to read the actual books. The episodes tend to be 30 min to an hour, somewhere in there. If its a longer story he will break them up so they are in more manageable chunks.

I don’t know if those fit with anything you like reading but could be a good option to get back into reading. (If the way he tells the stories are enjoyable to you)


Wow I couldn’t relate to something more! I miss reading !! Now I can’t seam to be able to read a book at all!:frowning:


I did not like fiction. My worst academic subject inn school was English literature, maybe it is because I have aspergers traits and ADHD.

I read articles. I read non-fiction. I have book on the Earth showing the Deserts, a Rivers, Glaciers.

I read books on Space Exploration for reference.

I read about Economics, I browse the books, once in a while.

I do not read books from cover to cover. I use it for reference. I like to read , is this the way a person with ADHD reads ?