How do you get out of a reading slump?
That’s the question I’ve been asking myself for weeks now. Just a couple of days ago, I spent 30 solid minutes at the bookstore on a SALE day and bought nothing.
That’s when I realized: this reading slump is real and it’s getting worse. I need to get out of it— quickly.
Why Do Reading Slumps Happen?
Reading slumps can happen, even to the nerdiest nerd in nerdtown.
Maybe it’s overthinking. Maybe it’s spending so much time talking about books and not really reading them. Maybe it’s just a case of not having enough time at all.
A lot of things can cause reading slumps. In my case, it was a matter of getting burned by a lot of hyped books that didn’t really deliver. You know what I’m talking about. The kind of books that people seemed to enjoy but you just personally didn’t.
I kind of experienced this with most of the young adult books I read this year (I’m looking at you, Warcross. Sigh.) and it really threw me off my groove. It’s put me in a phase where I don’t want to touch another YA novel for a long time, and that sucks because I used to enjoy these types of books.
Reading slumps can also be caused by having too much, too soon. I guess when you blog about books or follow a lot of bookstagram accounts, you get an overwhelming influx of bookish content. It does kind of scramble your brain a bit.
That being said, how does one get over the slump and start reading for fun again? I started a Q&A a couple of weeks ago and got some really useful answers.
Here are some tips that will hopefully get us out of this rut:
Take A Break (It’s Okay)
If you’re in a reading slump, don’t force it. A new book can wait. Sometimes, stepping away from the things that caused the slump (bookstagram, Goodreads and gulp, bookstores included) can be a good thing.
Take your time to discover and rediscover other fun activities. Step away from your favorite fictional worlds and soak in the real one for a bit. Go for nice afternoon walks, take a trip somewhere or sign up for a class. Sometimes your brain just needs a break, you know?
Change Things Up!
Mixing things up can help you get out of that slump. I’ve been reading YA for so long now that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to read beloved modern classics like To Kill A Mockingbird (and its sequel, Go Set A Watchman) or books from authors like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie or Khaled Hosseini. This “reading slump” might be a good time to start on those books and authors.
Aside from changing up genres, you can also try a different format or discover a new author. If you’ve been reading books on a digital reader, try a physical book. That helped me get out of my last reading slump and it really works. Or you can have a movie adaptation marathon (Stardust by Neil Gaiman is so good!).
I’ve also found that listening to audiobooks is quite fun, especially if you’ve got a long commute or drive ahead of you. It’s also a great way to give your eyes a break. I listened to Sabaa Tahir’s A Torch Against The Night while doing a coloring book and it was one the most relaxing afternoons I’ve ever had in a while. Other great audiobooks and short story podcasts I’ve enjoyed include Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle and Neil Gaiman’s short story “Chivalry”.
Take A Book From Your Favorite Author’s Shelf
If you like a particular author, find out who their favorite writers are and maybe you’ll discover that one book that will finally break your reading slump.
Our girl Emma Watson isn’t an author but she is (and forever will be) Hermione Granger to me, so her suggestions count. Ems runs the Goodreads bookclub Our Shared Shelf, which is full of great, feminist reads. Who knows, maybe that’s where we’ll find the books to break this reading slump, right?
Rediscover Old Favorites
Nothing beats a good classic—something that will never let you down. Maybe a trip down memory lane would do the trick. I always enjoyed poetry from Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow and Pablo Neruda. That being said, a classic poetry book hunt is in order. Watch out, Fully Booked, I’m coming for ya.
Over To You!
Reading slumps suck, but they’re part of the nerd life. I’d like to think of them as an opportunity to discover a lot of new things, whether it be books, authors or new life experiences altogether.
I hope these tips were helpful to you guys! Some of them got me out of a few funks, while some of the tips remain to be tested. I’ve no doubt they’ll cure us of this reading slump in no time, though.
If I missed any other tip, you know what to do: sound off in the comments below and share a few good ways to shake of the bad reading juju!