The dreaded reading slump. I don’t know how you got here; maybe the last book you read blew your mind so much that your brain is incapable of taking in another story right now; maybe you’ve been sucked into a Netflix binge-watching spiral; maybe you literally haven’t read a book in three years and you can’t remember why. Or perhaps you’re just too busy to read. Whatever the reason, as Dr. Seuss said, “Unslumping yourself is not easily done.” What? He wasn’t talking about reading slumps? Nonetheless, I have developed a few tricks to pull myself out of reading slumps, and I thought it’d be nice to share a few of them.
Re-read a book you love.
This is one of my favourite ways to pull myself out of a reading slump. I have a few books on my bookshelf that I save for unslumping myself. When you use one of your failsafe stories to pull yourself out of the abyss, you remind yourself just why you love to read in the first place. My unslumpable books? Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and The Lauren Holbrook trilogy by Erynn Mangum.
Shake up the format.
Switch up the way you’ve been reading. Give an audiobook, a graphic novel, a webcomic, or a short story collection a try. Sometimes your reading slump is due to feeling like you’re stuck in a bit of a rut. This is a way for you to expand your horizons a little bit, and when/if you go back to reading a traditional novel, it’ll feel fresher.
“And now for something completely different:”
Take a cue from Monty Python and read a completely new-to-you genre, or a genre that you haven’t read in a while. This really helped me out in my post-all-the-Hunger-Games-dystopian-fiction reading slump. I made the mistake of reading a whole bunch of dystopian YA novels one after another, and it all got too predictable, and I gave up on reading a little bit. I only got out of the slump when I decided to read something completely different: this low fantasy about a girl who doesn’t know that she’s actually a mermaid.
Fear not the D.N.F.
It is 100% acceptable to not finish a book. Unless you are required to read it for work or school or something, no matter what anyone says, you should definitely quit a book if it’s not working for you. Life is too short and there are far too many good books out there for you to force yourself to read a book just because you were tricked by an intriguing blurb or a beautiful cover or a faulty recommendation. Drop it like it’s hot if it’s really not.
Schedule it into your day.
Schedule 15 minutes into your day for reading time. Don’t let yourself go on your phone, or clean, or whatever you convince yourself is a worthy distraction. You have a 15 minute reading appointment, and you have to keep it. Just read. For 15 minutes.
Pick a book to read with a friend. This is great on two different levels. If you’re competitive, you can use it as an incentive to try to read the book faster than they can. You know everything that’s going to happen and you can hold the power of the spoiler over their head (but don’t actually spoil anything, Intentional Spoilers are the worst kinds of people). If you’re more of a collaborative person, when you hang out with your reading buddy, read the book together. And then talk about the amazing things happening in the story, or your headcanons, or how much you hate Ben and wish that he would just crawl in a hole already because he’s leading Christine down a path that will be very difficult to come back from.
What are your favourite ways to pull yourself out of a reading slump?