DISCUSSION: how to end a reading slump

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Last week, I wrote a post on how I haven’t been reading very much. I’ve actually had two pretty bad reading slumps in the last 12 months and wanted to share some tips that somewhat helped me. Then I hit another reading slump and thought it would be ironic to share this when the reading slump hadn’t ended, so I delayed this post to write that one.

If I waited to post this until I was out of the reading slump, it would never get posted at this point so I’m sharing it now! Without further ado, here are some tips on how to end a reading slump. Hopefully it helps you!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. take a break
  2. let yourself linger
  3. read a slow book
  4. read a fast book
  5. DNF that book
  6. reread something
  7. read outside your comfort zone

TAKE A BREAK

If you’re like me, maybe you try to push through your reading slumps even though you’re not enjoying anything you’re reading. Maybe it’s time to take a break! Just allow yourself not to read for a bit until you feel like reading again, or at least until the thought of reading isn’t unappealing.

Maybe you only feel like reading some anticipated release that hasn’t come out yet? Or one that you can’t get your hands on for a bit? Just take a break and don’t read anything until then! Seems like a trivial thing to suggest, but honestly, it’s difficult for me sometimes to allow myself not to read (like I talk about in this post) so I had to let myself take a break.


LET YOURSELF LINGER

For me, I like to finish books as fast as I can so I can move onto the next one. It frustrates me taking a long time to read a book, so sometimes I’d start skimming it. This isn’t really the right approach all the time though; sometimes, I think, it’s better to just let yourself take the time to finish it. Instead, read a little bit of it every day! Read a chapter or two, and who knows, maybe your interest will pique and you’ll get so into it that you just finish it.


READ A SLOW BOOK

This goes hand-and-hand with the tip above, but try picking up a slow-paced book. Maybe it’ll take you a while to get into it, but hopefully there’s that tipping point where you just click with the book and you get into it. I find, sometimes, that once you’re able to fully get into a book again, it’s easier to pick up the next book and the next one and the next one.


READ A FAST BOOK

Other times, though, I know it’s irritating to be reading a book for so long and for it to not really go anywhere. In this case, try finding a book that you know will be a fast read! Maybe one on the shorter side, or a novella, or look into reviews where people say it’s a quick read. Fast-paced novels help with page turning, and before you know it, you’ll have finished the book! And like I said above, sometimes finally finishing one book will help with feeling like picking up the next one.


DNF THAT BOOK

Maybe it’s a specific book that’s giving you trouble, and I’m here to tell you…just DNF (do not finish) it! I know some people dislike not finishing books, but I honestly think it’s very freeing. I myself DNF books for numerous reasons, which I talk more about in this post. Even if you don’t want to DNF it, at least put it to the side for now and read something else. I’m begging you, if you don’t like the book, just put it down and spare yourself the suffering (and possibly putting you INTO the reading slump).


REREAD SOMETHING

I love rereading books, whether they’re old favorites or just books that I liked the first time around. I like reliving stories and remembering why I liked it. In fact, most of what I reread in a year are books that I’ve already read before (although I haven’t been doing this much lately this year). It’s nice to revisit a book you liked, so maybe it’s time to reread an old favorite.


READ OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE

This is something new that I’ve been doing in the past year or so. Young adult fiction and adult romance and SFF novels are usually my area of expertise; I don’t often read graphic novels or adult literary fiction, but I’ve slowly been reading ones that I’ve heard good things about.

I think reading outside my comfort zone helps when I don’t feel like reading anything that I currently have on hand or I haven’t been liking anything I’ve been reading because I have different expectations for these books and wouldn’t feel as disappointed if I didn’t enjoy it. When I read these, I don’t have some preconceived notion of what I want out of it because I’m not used to reading that genre. This is a very specific thing, I know, but it’s really helped me this past year.

Here are a few books outside of my comfort zone that I really enjoyed!

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen: I had heard so much praise surrounding this book and decided to pick it up when I was trying to inflate my reading challenge last year. I fell in love with it from the very first page; the Vietnamese rep and the love woven into the pages was so beautiful, as was the stunning art!

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner: This is probably only the second memoir I’ve read (the other was Malala’s, which I read last year for a class), and god, am I glad I read it. Michelle Zauner, otherwise known as Japanese Breakfast, writes a gutting, heartbreaking narrative about her role as her mother’s caretaker when she falls ill. She delves into the complexity of their relationship, an immigrant mother and her daughter. I cried at least twice; if you pick this up, please be aware of the heavy grief and topics it covers.

If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha: I had seen this one read by a lot of my Goodreads friends, so I decided to read it because I didn’t have anything on hand that I wanted to read. It surprised me in a pleasant way; I enjoyed the writing and found the characters and their stories to be so intriguing that I couldn’t look away.

Also, my library has the “lucky holds” section in Overdrive/Libby, where you’ll get to check out a popular book (if it’s available) for 7 days, which is shorter than the typical loan period. Basically, the draw here is that you get to read a popular book without having to wait for your turn. This has really helped me recently because I’ll decide on a whim to check out a book that I probably wouldn’t have bothered to put a hold on. That’s how I ended up reading the books above actually!

There are numerous ways for you to try to tackle your reading slump. You could push through until your motivation and interest return, or you could take a break. You could try picking up a slow book and slowly become engrossed in it, or you could pick up a fast book and not put it down. Maybe DNF that book that’s giving you problems, and reread an old favorite instead. I found that reading books outside of what I normally read helped a little. I hope these tips were helpful for you and that your reading slump ends soon!

What do you do when you’re in a reading slump?

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7 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: how to end a reading slump”

  1. This is such a great post! Personally, I tend to reread a favourite (which is The Martian these days, it’s not my absolute favourite book but it’s my go-to for rereading and when I can’t decide what else to read). Other than that I try and read something short or fast-paced to give me some reading momentum which I’ve noticed helps me drag myself out of slumps. I also wholeheartedly agree with DNFing. If I notice I’ve been “reading” a book for a month without picking it up…that goes back on the shelf and I pick something new!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, Michelle! My reading this year has been bumpy too this year… I always try to take a break when I’m in a slump, like I try not to read any books at all and instead just read fanfictions lol. This year I’ve been really getting into audiobooks though and I find that sometimes switching format helps!

    Liked by 1 person

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