We’ve all had them. Whether it’s prolonged book hangover, or just that life exploded thus destroying all our best laid plans, all readers occasionally experience the dreaded reading slump. For those lucky uninitiated, this is when you look at all your lovely books neatly lined up and waiting, and they hold absolutely no interest. Or, possibly worse, when you begin a book and put it down after a chapter, then pick up another book, and put it down after a chapter, until you have half a dozen books and no winners luring you in.
Try a new genre. It doesn’t have to be a new genre to you, though that might help, but I personally find that if I’ve been reading a lot of YA, or thick fantasy volumes, the quickest way to get excited about reading is to pick up a middle grade book. They’re fast paced, easy reading and a quick addition to my yearly reading total. Earlier this year, I whizzed through The Darren Shan series and quite enjoyed it. For 2016, I’m planning to keep The Series of Unfortunate Events available as my quick pick me up. You don’t have to pick middle grade (although if you do, please recommend me some more awesome ones), but a shift from your normal reading habits can be enough to make returning to that TBR pile much more enticing.
Reread an old favorite. Who doesn’t want to reread Harry Potter again? (I’m totally doing this at the moment with the illustrated edition.) Unless you just learned to read, chances are you have some favorite novels, and these are your new(old) best friend when it comes to fighting that reading slump. I tend to gravitate toward favorite books/series like Harry Potter, Alice (in Wonderland or the Looking Glass), and Percy Jackson, OR Authors such as Neil Gaiman, John Green, or Rainbow Rowell. Sometimes just spending a few hours with our favorite characters or places can help mentally prepare us to take on new ones.
Try an audio book. While I don’t subscribe to Audible, I think audio books can be a great resource, especially if reading is not going to so well for you. I own a handful of audio books, and will occasionally borrow more from my local library. I tend to stick with books I’ve already read so that I can do other things like, draw or color or do yoga while listening, but the shift in medium definitely helps to break up how I process the words. I’ve also heard that listening to the audio book, while following along in a hard copy can be quite nice as well, though I’ve yet to try it personally. Let me know down below if you’ve got any favorite audio books. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is hands down my favorite.
Use a TBR Jar. Sometimes letting fate chose our next read can help take the pressure off. I have four TBR jars, fiction, sequels, rereads, and non fiction, that way I can customize what I’m looking for and yes, I do pick again if I really don’t want to read what I’ve grabbed, but really, it’s a made up system, so I’m not going to fret the rules. 🙂
Binge watch Booktube videos. You may laugh, but I find that watching other people be excited about books, makes me excited about books. Also, there’s probably a bit of guilt involved with watching them boast about how many books they’ve read this month, versus my own looming stack. A somewhat more expensive outcome of this is that if you find out about something that sounds super interesting, than you’re probably going to wind up buying it outright, rather than tactfully waiting until you see it used or on sale somewhere, but then again, it might be worth it to get out of that slump. I recommend PeruseProject, Katytastic, Little Book Owl, and Kristina Horner.
While I don’t think you have to force yourself to read, nor should you actually feel guilty for taking some time away from a favored hobby, it can be difficult to remember that this is supposed to be fun. It’s one of the reasons why signing up for ARC copies of books on Netgalley and other such places hasn’t worked well for me. I don’t like being told what to read, but I do like being told about a bunch of cool books, and then choosing for myself. But the minute reading feels like work, as if I have to read or all my goals will fall apart (like that cute bar on Goodreads that let’s me know how behind I am on my year long reading goal), that’s the minute when my slump begins and it’s just a downward spiral from there. So my advice to all my fellow book lovers out there is to relax and not be too hard on yourself. You’ll find something to read and in the meanwhile, there’s life happening and we should probably check it out every once in awhile.