11 Winter Break Struggles Only Readers Understand

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In theory, winter break seems like the dream come true of readers everywhere. Work and school is often suspended, gifts just happen to be arriving, "best-of" compilations are everywhere, nights are longer than long: but, hey, the combination of free time and free recommendations alone should be a win-win.

Unfortunately, as us readers understand after years of gobbling up good — but devastating and complicated and hilarious — plots, that old adage about free lunches need not be revised.

Winter break is actually really, really tough for readers.  I know, I know: I'm talking about the arduousness of pursuing a leisure activity (that also happens to be the single greatest pastime ever). Sure, it seems like there should be no pressure. After all, the books you read over winter break probably aren't the same ones that you find yourself turning to during the semester or even consulting on the job (unless you have the best job ever). Winter break reading is like summer vacation reading's intense older sister: you admire her, feel way cool when you can hang with her, and ultimately realize she's just one of the girls.            

Basically, for a good portion of winter break, tackling a book is just weirdly daunting. What are these struggles us readers encounter? Well, for starters ...

1. Books Are Everywhere

Doesn't matter what airport or mall you find yourself at, odds are books are there, too, just calling your name. When you're on winter break, every day is a potential opportunity to read a whole novel.

2. Books And You Are Like Salt And ______

Pepa. Or pepper. Either way, you don't put one shaker on the table without the other. During the gifting part of the holidays, people are springing for so many hardcovers, they're practically building your sweet book fort for you. How's a reader to choose?

3. And Some Of Those Books Come In Series

Let's say you somehow manage to select a title — something you've been meaning to read. You curl up on the couch, snuggle under your favorite throw, and start turning pages. You keep turning. And turning. And turning. Everything seems totally swell — until you realize there are SEVERAL more installments in the series you've inadvertently begun and nothing on this great earth is going to prevent you from finishing the entire trilogy/quartet/sestet/etc!

4. And Then Those Series Get Made Into Movies

Yes, in theory this is awesome, especially during winter break. The next best thing to a reading marathon is a movie marathon, obvi. You get to compare your characters to their actor counterparts, bring all your readerly knowhow to the theater. But you know what's really extra hard to do during a movie? Read. Though I know people who watch Netflix on their phones while driving , I'm pretty sure it's completely impossible to knock out a chapter during the Harry Potter movies.

5. Drinking Hot Cocoa And Reading Isn't As Easy As It Should Be

Why doesn't anyone talk about this? (Okay, see No. 9.) Somehow, sipping hot chocolate requires more concentration than I can spare while reading. Seriously! Those marshmallows have a mind of their own!

6. The Weather Doesn't Always Cooperate

There really is something ineffable about what makes a book apropos for the season. (Words like cozy and toasty come to mind here.) We readers know that some books are best enjoyed in front of a crackling fire, which can be really uncomfortable when climate change seems to have a vendetta against snow.

7. Family Story Time Isn't Really A Thing

Or it probably isn't. Though it should be. How sweet would it be if everyone in your family took turns reading chapters of, say, The Waves or some other brilliant work by Virginia Woolf? If this is a tradition in your family, can we do a quicksy swap? Please?

8. Holiday Gatherings Rarely Feature Books

On that note, while winter break typically contains awkward interactions with all your oddest relatives (and your partner's relatives), there's a serious deficit in the book reading at most get-togethers.

9. Sneaking In Reading Time Can Be Hard

I once read that Stephen King reads in the checkout line at the grocery store. To Mr. King, I offer serious props. But during winter break, even the most stalwart reader struggles with finding time to turn a few pages. Especially at parties! Who wants to be responsible for that suspiciously long hold-up in the bathroom?

10. And Waxing Too Poetic About Books Can Raise Some Eyebrows

Unless you've got that story time family. In which case, wax on — and message me.

11. As Much As You Love Snow Days, There's A Part Of You That Can't Wait To Get To The Beach

Remember: this too shall pass. Whether your reading soundtrack of choice is a crackling blaze or lapping waves, you can crack open your next book, knowing you'll read an ungodly amount.

Images: Kate Williams/Unsplash; Giphy (10)