Finding Time to Read: Getting Over a Slump

getting over a slumpI mentioned over on Instagram Wednesday that I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately. It’s been sneaking up on me for some time, but I thought I could just push through it. When I returned the same library book for the second time without even reading the first page, it was time to face the slump head on. Every so often (and every time I have a baby), I find the books on my nightstand gathering dust and my library checkouts dwindling to the single digits. Sometimes a book just doesn’t interest me, even if I think I should like it. Other times, I try to push through a slump by picking short, easy reads. That might work if I liked short, easy reads, but I often don’t. Forcing something new is sometimes the worst thing I can do during a period of lackluster reading. Over the years, I’ve figured out a few things that help me get over a reading slump:

Change the way I consume books. I am generally a book-in-hand reader, but the last time I hit a reading slump, I pulled out of it with the help of audiobooks. I don’t enjoy all books on audio, but I do love non-fiction more when it’s read to me. (I also loved the Lockwood & Co. series on audio. It was fantastically done.) I’m not sure what to try this time (graphic novels? an e-reader? something with lovely illustrations?) but sometimes a change of medium does the trick.

Start the book before I leave the store (or library). When I’m in a slump, books sit unopened on my nightstand for far too long. Sitting down in the bookstore or library and reading the first chapter or two has helped pique my interest in a new book. No, this doesn’t work super well with children in tow, but I snuck off to the library all by myself last night for some relaxed browsing and sampling.

Get a recommendation I can trust. My TBR list is getting longer by the day, but not all the books on it will keep my attention when I’m struggling to get back into a reading rhythm. I have a few trusted friends I can ask for recommendations when it needs to be something stellar. (I’ve already mentioned my favorite book podcasts, which I will definitely be checking out for recommendations as well.)

When all else fails, read an old favorite. I don’t re-ead a ton of books, but there are a few I read every couple of years. I’m ready for a Finnikin of the Rock reread once every year or two. (Unfortunately for me, I reread the whole series in January/February already.) This might also include checking for the next in a series I’ve enjoyed. Not all sequels hold up to the original, but I’m usually invested enough in the characters and plot to read them anyway. I’ve been eagerly anticipating The Raven King (which came out in April) and The Creeping Shadow (which comes out in September), so I have plenty of options to choose from.

What works for you when you hit a reading slump? I’m not the only one who this happens to, right? (I hope not.)

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