Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How to Deal with a Reading Slump?

*First off, I want to apologize for my lack of comments the past several days. I've been in and out of town and super busy, so I haven't commented back to many people. If you've commented on any of my posts the past week or so, I'll try to get back to you soon.

For those of us who love reading (and if you don't love reading, I'm not sure why you're looking at a book blog), there are few things more discouraging than a reading slump. These nasty little bugs sneak up when you're least expecting them. They like to attach themselves to books that you're really excited about and then get their claws underneath your skin. Once the slump parasite arrives, it seems like only the strongest medicine can eradicate it.

I fell into a reading slump in January and February. I was disappointed by Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready, Everneath by Brodi Ashton, The Rivals by Daisy Whitney, Insatiable by Meg Cabot, Hallowed by Cynthia Hand, and a few others. It's amazing how this slump affected multiple areas of my life. The blog was the most negatively impacted. I posted a few weeks ago about a blogger slump. I think the reading slump was a major factor that prompted my blogger laziness. When books let me down, all my book related activities feel dull and plodding.

Have you had any memorable reading slumps? How long did they last? What prompted them?

Moving Past a Reading Slump


There's no right or wrong answers here. A few things I've done:

1) Keep Going: Eventually you'll find a book that clicks with you. For me it was Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Once I finished that, I had a slew of exciting, thrilling, high rated books. A single good book reignited my passion for reading. This is, of course, easier said than done. When you're in a reading slump, books you'd otherwise enjoy don't seem as good. Or it's impossible to pick up another book knowing that you're probably going to be disappointed. But you can get lucky!

2) Re-Read: When things in my life don't feel right - whether that's because of disappointing books, stress at work, or personal difficulties - I often pick up an old favorite. One of those books I've read a million times that never disappoint me. For me, these books are Twilight, Harry Potter, and Pride & Prejudice. Or, on a completely different front, an adult biography or book about history. I may not have read these book before, but I know the genres are sure things. Catherine the Great by Robert Massie and Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson have set my mind afire and made me excited about reading again.

3) Stop Reading: Watch a movie, exercise, bake cookies, go on vacation. Do something non-book related. Books will still be there and some distance will hopefully cut off air supply to the slump parasite. This is generally my last option, one I rarely take. Especially because I have a lot of books I have to read now for review. It's hard to take time off. This certainly does make slumps harder for me to get through, because there's a sense of obligation that takes some fun away.


What do you do to get past reading slumps?

30 comments :

  1. Yea, all three of those things I have done. Usually I stop reading for a couple of days or re-read a bunch of scenes from some of my favorite books which usually do the trick! ;))

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  2. Rereading has always been my go-to for getting out of reading slumps, but recently it backfired! I wasn't excited about any books, and I read a few duds, so I decided to pick up The Hunger Games to gear up for the movie. I reread the entire series in a matter of days. Usually, that will fire me up for reading in general, but I found that no other book really stood up against it and all I wanted to do was reread THG over and over and over...

    So I just decided to slog through this current slump by reading my review copies. So far it's been hard, but knowing that others have been there helps :)

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  3. All three of those things are excellent ways to get out of a reading slump. I usually reread (I reread the entire Twilight series around New Year and Kate Daniels series just a little while ago) or I stop reading altogether. To me, it rarely helps to keep trying stubbornly, but I know a lot of people who get over it like that.

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  4. Hallowed, really? Oh no, that was perhaps one of my favorite YA books that I've read this year. Cinder was great! I just got a signed copy in the mail and I'm in love with it! I've been doing a lot of re-reading lately. Even when I'm not in a slump, it's always nice to re-visit some favorite reads. Great post, Alison!

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  5. I was totally in a reading slump a couple weeks ago! My cure? My sis came to town and we did a lot of hiking/beachwalks/day trips. Took a break from reading and now I'm excited about my books again!

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  6. I have been a bit slow at reading this week and I had to just walk away. It is so hard sometimes when you have so many review books to read.

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  7. Re-reading usually works for me, sometimes just flicking through a favourite will get me back in the mood. And I've noticed I tend to go into a slump when there's so much going on in my life that bookish things fall to the side. This happens almost every Decemeber haha!

    Hope you find a book to pull you out of your slump :D

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  8. I hate reading slumps!! I find they impact on many aspects of my life too, I tend to just keep reading and go back to authors that I love or series that I have been enjoying. It's just difficult and I probably get a slump at least once a year.

    I do find that avoiding review books can sometimes help, read what you want and in whatever order. Avoid that feeling of deadlines and I have to read this now for release...

    Great post as always :D

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  9. I have been though that too and totally understand. Its okay not to always blog too, and I think that reading okay books or nothing that is amazing does affect what we like to read.

    I find just reading something and not reviewing helps, and I asked my friends for book recommendations to get me out of a slump.

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  10. I've been reading but haven't been blown away by anything recently (well, until I read Pandemonium, which I couldn't put down!). And, because I haven't had that reading excitement, I haven't been inspired to write a ton of reviews so I feel like I've been running behind, writing reviews for books I read a while ago...

    Now, I'm about 20 reviews behind! I need a blog helper monkey who will pound these things out for me. I'd name him Bob. He'd be awesome.

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  11. Usually reading slumps hit me when I start to feel really pressured to get my reviews done "on time" - I tend to rebel against myself and am unable to really get into the books I need to be reading. Usually, I just take a step back and read several books I don't have to review to remind myself how much I love to read. I know I really want to read the books I have for review, just sometimes my mind forgets that and I get overwhelmed by feeling like I have to read rather than just wanting to read.

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  12. I ABSOLUTELY needed this post today. My recent slump is just killing me and I've tried a lot of new things, I think I need to re-read some of my favorites!

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

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  13. My current problem is that now that I'm spending more time working out and trying to cook healthy, I don't have time to read as much as I used to and that makes me so sad. By the time my head hits the pillow, I'm out. If only my full time job was as a professional reader. *le sigh*

    Seriously, I'd love to be in a reading slump right now. LOL

    Great tips, though. Thanks Alison.

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  14. I know what you mean, I have had a bit of a reading slump, because I agreed to read a bunch of self pubbed indie books, while some a great most just are meh...nothing to rave about,however the two books that helped me were Hounded and doing the read along and Wonder was fantastic. I think part of it for me is reading all these commitments and not getting to read what I want to read, so I stopped taking requests, that helped, too. I hope you get some sunshine and some good books soon :)

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  15. I've been in a reading slump before. Usually, for me, it's because I get so bogged down with life that I just don't feel like putting forth the effort to pick up the book and read it. I opt for the lazier way of doing things like watching TV non-stop, watching movies, aimlessly surfing the Internet for hours.

    Unfortunately, none of those things help me get out of my slumps. I actually have to make the effort to read. And, like you, I usually choose an old favorite, at it reignites my passion.

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  16. I recently pinpointed the cause of slumpishness to required reading. "Required" being the key word. I have so many duties including a business and house and family that it sucks the FUN out of reading and blogging to add "requirements" to it. I've only just decided to not commit to any books for review, which feels aggressive, but I think it'll help me get a lot more reading done. And blogging. Not sure how I'll carry that out, exactly, but I'm up for the challenge of Finding the Fun!!

    While, meanwhile, I'm reading The Quaker State Affair frantically to review by tomorrow and it's VERY exciting. Ha! Just proving that signing up for stuff uncovers treasures I might not have found otherwise.

    Decisions, decisions...

    I hope you're out of your reading/blogging slump?

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  17. I got in a reading slump and it lasted for a year. I'm just now coming out of it.

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  18. I usually re-read. I don't trust my judgement in a slump to read review books, so I read something I already know I love and that often works. Firm favourite is the Vampire Academy series. I hope your slump ends soon!

    The Cait Files

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  19. I think the reason why I get into a reading slump is b/c i feel overwhelmed with my month-to-month TBR pile. Sometimes you just gotta take a break from the organization and read whatever you want! it works for me, then I'm back on track lol

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  20. LOL! I do all three. I do stop reading for two days out of the week so it gives me a break from it. I also re-read my all time faves that I know, even though I have read it more than than once and know how it is going to end, it will still make me smile. And of course, I keep going.

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  21. I think that a lot of the reading slumps I get myself into have to do with reading bad books ... if I just keep getting bad book after bad book, then I really don't want to read anymore. Now, once I start reading a really GOOD book, then I'm back in with reading! My pace picks up and it's like the slump never happened.

    Another way I could recommend to get out of a slump is to change up the format of reading. Maybe try an audiobook or something?

    Great post!

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  22. Yep, I reread old favorites, or go back to the anime/manga ol' faithfuls. I think reading slumps are just mood issues, so I'd probably need some sunshine, too.

    Lately, I've been reading RC's and some were so bad, I had to drop them. But, I know it's not an actual slump. They just sucked, lol. I'm reading them all at once because I NEED to get them done. So glad I'm almost finished.

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  23. Reading slumps are a bummer. I'm actually going through a bit of one right now unfortunately. I'm not exactly sure what's causing it but these are all great suggestions to try.

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  24. Great advice! I usually get over it with the re-reading option, but sometimes I have to spend a few days watching obscene amounts of TV to distract me from my reading apathy ;)

    However, anytime I go more than a day or so with out reading anything at all (for fun), I get a little crazy! lol

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  25. Reading slump. I am in one. It began at the start of the year and continue. I used to read voraciously. Now just in dribs and drabs. A chapter here, another there. It will end ... in the mean time I am pursuing some creative endeavours.

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  26. Heh, I love the imagery of a slump parasite! I don't think I've ever experienced a reading slump in the sense you're talking about. When I was in school though, I would go days without getting to read (fiction that is... I read quite a few papers, of course). And if ever I find that I've been reading quite a few books in a row that aren't to my liking, I usually try to make time for one that has been on my tbr that I know everyone has loved and hopefully I will as well!

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  27. Re-reading definitely helps me to get excited about books again. I can remember the excitement I felt reading some of my favourite books for the first time, knowing that I'd found something amazing, so re-reading them can help to remind me that there are still books out there that will make me feel that way! It's just a matter of finding them... this is a great post :)

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  28. The only thing that got me past my reading slump was actually sitting down and reading. It's hard for me to get motivated sometimes, so I can only really get my reading done when I sit down and commit to it.

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  29. I rarely have a reading slump. If I'm in one, I just force myself to read a book I know I'm going to love or just re-read a book. When I'm half way, it reminds me of how much I like to read and from there on it goes better :) Or I just go watch a movie and after that, I feel like reading :p

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