10 July 2017

How To Beat A Reading Slump

The reading slump is the bane of many a reader, and having just (finally) emerged from one myself, I thought I'd give a few of my own tips on how to beat them! So here are 11 different methods that will hopefully help you out when you've lost all interest in reading, you just can't get into a book (no matter how hard you try) and are beginning to wonder when you will ever read again.

Reread an old favourite. Maybe a childhood favourite, maybe one you haven’t read in years and would love to re-experience, or maybe one you read just last year and really loved. Whichever it is, this is my favourite tried and tested method to getting out of a reading slump. After I finished The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North, I realised I loved it so much that no new read could possibly match up. So, instead, I reread an old read, namely Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve, which led to me reading its sequel (A Web of Air) straight after, and before I knew it my reading slump was over!

Read a book you've been excited about for ages. This could be a new book in one of your favourite ongoing series, the sequel to a book you read and loved years ago, a new release from an author you already love and trust, or even just a brand new release that you’ve only heard good things about and can’t wait to get your hands on! Let the excitement you feel spur you on to actually finish the book, and hopefully, if you enjoyed it enough, you’ll soon feel your slump drawing to an end!

Try an audiobook. Now, I already know that personally I don’t really enjoy audiobooks (I find them too slow, and basically just prefer to read myself) but if you’ve never tried them out, I highly encourage you to do so! They free up your eyes and hands, so you can do your chores around the house or even organise your shelves at the same time. If your reading slump is at all connected to feelings of guilt for “wasting” time reading, an audiobook could be your saviour! Like I said, I don’t listen to audiobooks, but I’ve heard excellent things about the ones for Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and Yes Please! by Amy Poehler.

Switch genre. If your incessant reading of huge high fantasy novels has left you feeling burnt out, why not try something just a little different? Fantasy and sci-fi complement each other nicely, or if you’re looking for something with a real world setting instead, try swapping your contemporary romance for some literary fiction or a historical novel. If you’re really used to reading a specific sub-genre, this change up could be enough to act as a restart button to your reading habits, and maybe be enough to shock you out of your reading slump. Or do something slightly more drastic, and try something you’d vowed never to touch again. Try poetry, a graphic novel, even a kid’s picture book!

Ask a friend to recommend their favourite book. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend (or several!) that loves reading as much as you, chances are they have a tonne of books to recommend that you’ve never even considered. And it’s pretty unlikely that their favourite book is yours, so a great way to gain back some enthusiasm for reading is to borrow some shamelessly from said friend, who will likely wax poetic about their favourite books to you, and actually manage to get you hyped to start reading again! 

Don't be scared to DNF a book. You’re likely reading because you enjoy it (otherwise, is there really a point?) and therefore if you’re not enjoying what you’re reading – for whatever reason – it is 100% okay to not finish that book! You may be thinking that the only way to end this reading slump is to just persevere with your current read, and keep ploughing through it even if you don’t want to, but take it from me, this will probably just make you even more unwilling to read. So don’t feel bad about DNFing something, even if it’s something you’re sure you’ll really enjoy in the future, because you’re just not enjoying it now

Or several books. This is the time to be ruthless. Pick up a book, read 20 or so pages, and if you’re not feeling it, back on the TBR pile it goes! Getting out of a reading slump includes finding that very special and specific read to help you escape, so don’t be disheartened if it takes longer than you’d like to find said book. When you finally find it, the effort will be worth it!

Read something light or fluffy or easy as a kind of palate cleanser. This is a great tip that I also gave in my How to Survive a Book Hangover post, because it just works so well! This should hopefully have the same effect as switching genre would; it can refresh your reading habits, and your whole attitude towards books, and hopefully leave you wanting more.

Buddy read with someone. If you’re of the mindset that to beat a reading slump you should just force yourself to read, then this could work really well for you! It’ll keep you accountable to someone for your reading, and if you need a deadline to work towards then ask your friend to set one for the both of you, to make sure you stay on track. It’s also a great way to share the excitement of reading, and hopefully get you hyped again about books in general. You could combine this with pretty much any other tip on this list, so it’s up to you whether you and your friend read a new release, or an old favourite of yours, but either way it’ll be nice to have someone to check in with, and talk to about the book.

Buy a new book! If all else fails, and standing in front of your bookshelves searching for your next read is just making you panicky and anxious, there’s nothing left to do but go to a book shop! Standing in front of those shelves will hopefully be a more relaxing experience, because there will (probably, depending on the size of your bookshelves) be a tonne more books than you could ever think about at once, and at least one of them will jump out at you and whisper buy me buy me buy me until you have to give in and get it at once.

Or just go to the library. Obviously if you’re not as flushed with cash as you’d like, the library is always a safe bet too. In my experience at least, libraries usually have mostly very popular books and classics, which is good news for you, because if lots of other people have read and liked these books, chances are you will too! Again, if you like reading to a deadline to motivate you, your two-week lending period (or however long it is for your library) can also act as this for you!

Do you have any more tips on how to beat a reading slump? If so, please leave a comment because I’d love to hear them!

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