How To: Get Out Of A Reading Slump

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.

Buddy up!
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?


5 thoughts on “How To: Get Out Of A Reading Slump

  1. I just switch books. I do have trouble marking something as DNF on Goodreads, because sometimes it’s my mood and not the book. I don’t want to give anyone the impression that a book isn’t good if it’s just not appealing to me at that moment. My sister is also a great sounding board for finding a fun book to read, so I’d say to get a recommendation from a friend, also!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great! I love finding those book soulmates who have the same taste in books as me.
      I understand about marking a book as DNF on Goodreads. But I have so many reader friends who honestly feel like it’s a moral failing to quit a book, and then complain to me that they don’t read nearly as many books as they want to. I’m still trying to convince a few that it’s not worth it to trudge through a book that they can’t stand.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree if the book is actually sludge. I’ll walk away from it, but right now I’m reading a book that is good, but I’m just not in the mood. I actually talked to my sister about it and she said to just put it down, but I feel guilty. I think I’m going to let it go though. Big sigh, because I hate that. Lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You can always come back! I’ve done that with a couple books. The first time I tried to read The Scorpio Races I couldn’t even make it through the first chapter. I left it for a year, and then when I picked it back up I DEVOURED it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes vegging out to an audiobook helps, especially if it’s a Harry Potter book or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. All tried and true books that I love to hear read to me. I can relax and just slip into the story rather than worry about a completely new one I’m not even sure I’m going to like.

    Liked by 1 person

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