Reading slumps are something every avid reader will experience at one time or another. They’re often unexpected and can be extremely frustrating when you just want to finish the book you’ve started or move onto the next one. Something you usually enjoy becomes almost a chore. It’s not always an easy thing to shake but here are a few tips that either help me during these phases or I think would be useful for others.
I’ll start with what I find works:
- Rereading an old favourite – New books are great and all but sometimes you just need something familiar. Grab a book from your childhood for a sense of nostalgia and reminder as to why you fell in love with reading in the first place. Grab something by your favourite author because you know they’re a safe bet. You don’t always have to set your sights on the most recent release or experiencing a story for the first time.
- Watching TV/film adaptations – There’s plenty of really good ones to choose from. If there’s a book you’ve been meaning to read for a while and there’s a film or TV version, perhaps watching it will motivate you. Maybe you’ll be made aware of a book you didn’t know existed and be left eager to read it. It can also be really satisfying to see the story brought to life on-screen and make comparisons between what you imagined and the creative team produced.
- Picking an easy read – Similar to picking up something you’ve read before, choosing an easy read such as YA fiction, “chick lit” or one that’s short can be a quick remedy to a slump. Especially if your previous reads have been quite time-consuming.
- Dedicating time to reading – An hour before bed, in the bath (if you’re not worried about dropping it in the water), free moments in your day (e.g. during your commute, waiting for an appointment). Finding time to read can be difficult but by getting into a routine or making it habit, it’ll get easier.
- Visiting a bookshop/library or ordering something online – Any bookworm knows the struggle of walking into a bookshop/library and forcing yourself to leave empty-handed, or suddenly finding yourself on a bookish website with a full basket and trying to avoid that “proceed to checkout” button. So, when you’re not inspired by what your current TBR has to offer, allow yourself to invest in a few new books that get you excited to read again.
Here are a few other helpful tips that I have little experience with but am definitely tempted to try the next time a reading slump hits me:
- Attempting a reading challenge – Since joining bookstagram, I have become aware of just how many reading challenges there are out there to take part in. From annual goals to monthly themes, deciding to try one can provide the motivation to read more and completing it will leave you with a great sense of accomplishment.
- Listening to audiobooks – Audiobooks are perfect for when you don’t have the energy to read yourself, when you’re travelling or on a walk with your headphones in, and an effortless way to get through your TBR and more. If you’re unsure it’s for you, the majority of subscription services have decent trial periods to test the waters (e.g. Audible, BookBeat). Once you find a few amazing narrators, the stories can really come alive.
- Asking someone you trust for a recommendation – When you’re confronted with too much choice it can be really hard to settle on something. Handing that responsibility over to someone else may help, particularly if you go to a friend or family member you often ask for advice. Let them pick from your TBR pile or lend you a book that meant a lot to them and give it a go.
- Turning to Bookstagram or Booktube – Likewise, turning to the bookish community online can offer some great suggestions on what to read next. There’ll be a mixture of ARCs, contemporary novels, classics, and numerous other genres to spark your interest. Plenty of reviews/discussions too if that’s something that helps you make a decision.
- Reducing your TBR – Again, having too much choice can be a negative thing. Have a sort through of that pile of books that taunts you and ask yourself honestly about each one, “Do I still want to read this?”. If your answer is no, get rid of it. Give it to someone you know will like it, donate it to a charity shop/school/community project, or sell it and put the money towards a book where the answer would be yes.
- Trying a different genre – It’s common for people to always opt for what they know (e.g. brands, restaurant orders, etc.) and it happens when it comes to reading too. You’ll have your favourite genres and ones you know the conventions of well. But the problem is that things can become predictable and every book will start to sound the same (e.g. vampire love stories in 2008). Be brave and go for something out of your comfort zone. You might be pleasantly surprised.
- Doing a buddy read/joining a book club – Reading along with somebody can encourage you to carry on and result in some interesting discussions. Whether it’s with friends or strangers, online or offline, etc., it doesn’t really matter. Having someone to hold you accountable may be enough to pull you out of your reading slump.
And then if all else fails, TAKE A BREAK! Wipe the idea of trying to read from your mind and do something completely different. You’ll have been putting yourself under pressure without realising that was making it impossible for your brain to even consider directing mental energy to reading. Binge-watch a TV series, have a movie night, spend time with family and friends, go for walks, or find another hobby. Eventually reading will become an appealing pastime again.
Feel free to leave any of your own tips on how to get out of a reading slump in the comments.
Do you have any book recommendations that are guaranteed to make you fall back in love with reading?