Reading Slumps

Friday, September 26, 2014

Tell me if this sounds familiar... you've just finished a book; horrible or great, big or small, it doesn't matter. Then you start looking for the next one.

You scour your TBR shelves, you check out the library, maybe you look at the local used bookstore, but nothing seems like a good fit. Nothing screams READ ME. Maybe you even start a couple books, but by 10 pages in it's clear they aren't the right book for the moment. About that time you realize you're in a reading slump.

I've found that sometimes my book blues are caused by my mood, other times it's connected to how busy I am. If I'm completely burnt out on work or something I can have a hard time concentrating on a chunkster from the Victorian era. Honestly, I don't know how you amazing moms get any reading done, but it gives me hope that one day I will be able to do that too!

No matter what the cause, sometimes it's really hard to find your next read, especially if you've just finished something you loved. When it happens to me I sometimes pick up an old favorite to reread; that almost always pulls me out of my slump. Sometimes I just need a good page-turning mystery or YA book. For some reason those work as "bridge" books for me, making the path to the next classic or literary fiction a bit smoother. Sometimes I browse books on Kindle and make a rare exception to my policy of not buying anything over $5 if something sounds really good.

What do you guys do when you can't seem to find the next book you want to read?

Photo of the pup by moi.


Anonymous said...

At those times I go do something other than read for as long as it takes until I find my reading mojo again. I never try to force it because it feels unfair to any book I pick up while in that restless state of mind. (though sometimes you just want a good read, don't you? And no book seems to scratch the itch. In those cases I write or I turn to someone literary like Sebastian Barry or Margo Lanagan; writers whose words will just flow over my mind like honey even if I've no energy for the plot-following)

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel. In situations like that it's usually time to binge watch a TV series. I'm just about done House of Cards and when I am I'm going to be ready to read again and the right book will come my way.

Brona said...

I'm going through a similar phase...with blogging, but now that I've finished the Bone Clocks I'm struggling to get into another fiction book.

At times like this dipping in & out a few non-fiction titles often works for me...until I can't stand it any longer & I reach for an old favourite :-)

I hope you find your mojo again soon!

Anonymous said...

I usually turn to an old favorite to get me out of a slump - something I know so well that I don't have to concentrate on the plot, but can just enjoy the experience of reading.

As far as reading as a mom - when my kids were babies I read while nursing them and while they napped. As they got older, I instituted "rest time". If they didn't want an afternoon nap, they could play quietly in their rooms and listen to music or audiobooks. Also, about half of my reading is aloud, to them. :)

Sandy Nawrot said...

You're exactly right, it can be driven by mood or schedule. (And maybe by coming down off amazing vacations!) The sure way to get me back in the game is with a graphic novel. They are almost always easy to read and visually stimulating, and don't take much effort.

annieb said...

Reading book reviews usually does it for me. I got a subscription to Bookmarks a couple of years ago and when I am in a slump, I pick up one of those and read their reviews or go online to Library Thing or Avid Reader's Musings, etc. Always seems to work.

Meg @ write meg! said...

Totally understand! My reading has taken a nosedive since we bought a house in May, mostly because life has been consumed my home repairs, unpacking, etc., and I fall asleep in two seconds when I would normally be up reading at night. My focus has been totally off.

You make a good point about YA -- these are light, fun, entertaining reads that tend to envelope me in a way that more "intensive" fiction does not. That's no slight against YA... it just tends to be a faster read than some of the more "serious" lit.

I just found out that Stephanie Perkins' Isla and the Happily Ever After is in for me at the library, so I'm going to pop over and get that today for the weekend. Hope it helps bust the slump!

Anonymous said...

I usually give myself permission to not read. I'll take a mini book vacation of sorts. These "vacations" can last from three days to two weeks, but I find a renewed zest for reading when I return to books!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree about having "bridge" books. Sometimes a book that is lighter, that doesn't require as much thought, or encourages me to think differently from the way Victorian literature (as you mentioned) does. I went through a horrible reading slump in February to mid-May in part because I was so busy with university, but once I gave myself permission to watch television rather than read and, later, read whatever I wanted things started to pick up.

Leslie @ This is the Refrain said...

I was just in a slump and I was reading SO slowly. Listening to shorter audiobooks, just to get some reading in, makes me feel at least a little bit better. I think I was just stressed and not finding any extra time to read during the week - plus lots of traveling will do that to me! I have a couple of weekends with no traveling and I'm looking forward to it.

Amy said...

Definitely have those moments! I usually read something super short or super light.

Rudejasper said...

I find that these days my most common reading slump is when I just find myself not reading much at all because I am in the middle of a book that I don't want to DNF but which I am not excited to pick up very often. With this type of slump as well as the type you describe where nothing sounds good, I second the idea of doing some TV binging or I may pick up a boo in audio to listen in the car. Also reading book reviews and lists is a good spark to get me excited again.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

My mood definitely affects my reading and the enjoyment of what I read.

Doing something other than reading is what works best in those cases I find. Like a Law and Order marathon:)

Suey said...

When this happens to me it's usually because the next thing on this list is something I "have" to read. So I rebel and read whatever I want instead of the "have" to book. Or at least I try to. :)

o said...

Reading slump, writing slump - yep, I need a "bridge book" too :)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

celinekiernan – I like that idea. Just hold off on reading until it feels right.

52booksorbust – Yes! I’m all about the binge watch. Right now I’m on Call the Midwife.

Brona – I do love picking up a favorite when I’m in one of those moods. It always makes me fall in love all over again.

abibliophilesstyle – I haven’t even thought about the tricky aspect of reading time with kids. Wonderful idea!

Sandy – Brilliant advice. I love how easy it is to slip into the story in a graphic novel.

Annieb- I’ve never tried that! And with my trip I’ve been woefully neglectful of other blogs.

Meg – We’ve had so many house projects over the past couple years that have put my reading on hold. Though I do love listening to a good audiobook while cleaning or painting or doing other house projects.

Figandthistle – I like the idea of not forcing it when I’m struggling with a book. I tend to just try and push through.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Ardentreader – I need to just let myself read “fun” books. I bet that would do it.

Lu – Travel definitely does it to me. Even if I get a chance to read on the trip, I tend to take a while to adjust when I get home.

Amy – Good plan!

Stephanie Shepherd – I’m horrible about refusing to put down a book. Even if I’m not enjoying it I want to power through and finish. I have got to break that habit.

Diane – I love all the comments about binge watching. Why have I never thought of that!?

Suey – Yes! Whenever I tell myself I “have” to read a book it’s never as much fun.

O – I need to write a post on the best “bridge” books.

thecuecard said...

Yeah I usually can find the right book but it does take me time in between each book to get going. Books can be abrupt changes which makes it a bit hard to get into at first. Be patient and take time, I guess. cheers.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

thecuecard - It definitely takes a minute for me to switch gears when I start a new book.