3rd December, 2018

Bookish Stuff: How to overcome reading slumps

We all know them - those annoying times when, even though you absolutely love reading, you suddenly are not able to finish a single book, your favourite genre somehow annoys you and even your most treasured writers don't manage to pull you out of the rut. A reading slump is a pain and, while I don't know about you, it definitely tends to make me grumpy. Extremely so. Reading is my 'outlet', so to say: it relaxes me. So when I am not able to read... you get the drift. ;-)

On the various bookish social media sites I'm frequenting (Litsy, Instagram/Bookstagram, and one or two book related groups on Facebook) members often ask what they can do to get out of a slump. While everyone obviously has different strategies that work for them, here are five that tend to pull me out of a rut or at least get me somewhat back in the reading mood:

1) Reading guilty pleasure books

It doesn't really matter what your poison is. If your guilty pleasure book is a steamy romance novel - go for it. If it involves the latest slasher horror novel - hey, whatever works, mate. The idea is not to think about "literary merit" or anything like that, but to just enjoy a book - to read for fun and nothing but fun. There was a time in my life when I was in a rocky relationship and all I was able to read were gothic novels (don't psychoanalyse that, please - haha). Another time I was bed-bound while pregnant with our son and all I could concentrate on were chick-lit stories (I reread the entire Shopaholic series during those weeks). What I mean is that noone judges you! Read whatever the heck you want and don't let anyone make you question your book choices. 

2) Revisit a favourite

Sometimes going back to a book I really loved helps me get out of a reading slump. Oftentimes these books are ones that I treasured as a child. Little Woman, for example, is one of these: It's a book that I can read in little instalments and that reminds me of what reading felt like when I was a kid. So far, it has always managed to rekindle my love of reading. Any of your favourite books will do - choose whichever makes you feel good.

3) Go browse a bookshop/library and buy/check out a book

If you are like me, browsing a bookshop is probably one of your favourite pastimes anyway, so this won't be too much of a burden, I guess. Seeing all the pristine titles on the bookshop shelves usually makes me want to just throw my paycheck at the bookseller yelling "Yes, pack them all for me, please!" While doing that will probably remain a dream, the general atmosphere of a bookshop or the library is normally enough to get my spirits up in any life situation and it always leaves me with a list of new titles to add to my TBR, i.e. makes me want to read ALL THE BOOKS. 

4) Browse your own bookshelves or reorganise them

Sometimes you'll find just the right read for just this particular time on your own shelves. I know that mine are definitely full of books I haven't read yet, so I often find a book I'd been meaning to read for ages and which suddenly looks extra promising in this specific moment. And it definitely is cheaper than a trip to the bookshop. ;-)

5) Take a break

Yes, it is more than okay to just stop reading for a while. If you're in a really bad slump this sometimes is the only way out. Don't feel guilty, don't beat yourself up for not reading and don't worry: it will come back to you! Trust me, it will. I've had periods in my life where I read four books in a week and others where I didn't read a single one for two months. Life just happens and sometimes gets in the way. Feel free to take a break, binge watch your favourite shows on Netflix and wait for the slump to pass. It will eventually and you'll be back to devouring books in no time. 

Do you have any specific strategies to overcome a reading rut? Share them in the comments. 

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All texts and photographs are mine, unless indicated otherwise.