4 Strategies for the Dreaded Reading Slump

Do you ever get that feeling that you just can’t read another word?

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Do you ever get that feeling that you just can’t read another word? That you can’t stand a book you loved just a few days ago? A reading slump, for the avid reader, is painful. It’s like having a fight with a best friend.

I recently went through a slump from a variety of reasons: too ill to think, starting a new office job, and being in the midst of some very heavy books (The Meaning of Freedom, Tainted WitnessIf This Is A Woman: Inside Ravensbruck). Even articles and magazines lost their allure – and I’m one of those people who will read the oven manual if there’s nothing else around!

I managed to overcome the slump with a few tactics:

1. Take a break from reading

When you don’t feel like reading, don’t force yourself. Instead of picking up a book to read on the train or in the evening, I looked at dream interiors on Pintrest, watched How to Get Away With Murder, and listened to podcasts. Working on non-bookish projects and getting outdoors are other options.

2. Go book shopping – at the library

I love the library for many, many reasons, but one of the best is that an unread book can be returned, rather than sitting on the bookshelf making you feel guilty for not reading it. I browsed the shelves for a while, picking up interesting titles and covers. One book had a recommendation from Diana Gabadon on it – one of my favourite pleasure-read authors. It was much shorter than her books, so I figured I’d try it.

3. Read something light in a favourite genre

The book was Shadow on the Crown, about Queen Emma of Normandy, who was queen of England from 1002-1035 and mother to two subsequent kings. Her remarkable life, about which not much is known beyond a book she commissioned in 1040, is brought to life by Patricia Bracewell in a scheming court with a side romance for good measure. Unfortunately, the third book is still in progress, but reading the first two in the trilogy was enough to jump-start my reading habits.

4. Ask a friend for a recommendation

I was talking to my friend about the Queen Emma trilogy. She recommended another historical quasi-romance series, the Maggie Hope mysteries.  I still felt the need for something less involved than social justice non-fiction, so I found the books at the library and devoured the first two (the third is sitting in my pile of Bailey’s Prize longlisters waiting patiently). I can’t recommend bookish friends enough – we’ve all been there! No IRL bookish friends? The Books and Feminism community is here for you.

What are your best strategies for overcoming a reading slump?