Reading ruts. We all get them. We want to read, we have stacks and stacks of books begging to be read. There are still countless purchases and interest in the upcoming releases. But there’s just no desire when the time comes to actually pick up that book, no matter how hard you try. It could be a favorite author, the latest installment to a series you’ve been eagerly anticipating, and you still just can’t. A majority of the time, they’re very short-lived. Maybe at most, a couple of weeks or up to a month. Occasionally though, you’ll find the worst growing ones… the ones that build and build and despite your efforts for repair (all of the “tips and tricks” many of us bloggers suggest for reading slumps/ruts), you begin to notice several months going by of slow reading, or maybe no reading, due to this horrific feeling.
You’ve not only found yourself into a simple reading rut. You’re falling into The Reading Sinkhole.
For me, this year’s reading schedule has not been near as bad as last year’s. At least I managed a semi-decent pace up until the tail-end of summer when my slump began. That was short-lived for a little while, then the real sinkhole hit about mid-September. The desire just fizzled, especially when my schedule can get chaotic at times right now.
Reading shouldn’t be about feeling like it’s a chore, but when big slumps like these hit it’s hard not to turn it into one. There are days when I have to force a few pages read out of books just to keep at it in some ways, but then I feel resentful about it the next week and it seems harder to want to try or get the desire back. A slump can be a real pain, and can sometimes leave even the most loving bookworms feeling at odds.
I feel like the sinkholes have to be treated with a slightly different approach than the typical “make yourself read” suggestion that is often found on most lists for tips and tricks on how best to handle the slumps/ruts. Usually when found in a deeper situation, with a longer time-frame of no desire, the root of the problem might run further than just the books. Allow yourself the time, the breather, and evaluate your stress levels. Think about your daily activities. Perhaps you will figure out something in the background, even if small, that you realize has been the culprit and nature of your building sinkhole all along.
Hint: A majority of my experiences with them have proven it’s often heavy-stress related or basically your body trying to tell you you’re not healthy, mentally or physically (depression, any medical conditions–such as me having thyroid disease, I get in reading slumps more often when my thyroid is off balance because all I want to do is sleep, any mental disorders such as anxiety, etc.). It’s very strange to think the different ways your body will try to communicate with you when something is likely wrong… and then stranger yet when we usually ignore it anyway. *shrug*
I would usually suggest picking up an old favorite and trying to re-read. But this can sometimes backfire as well. So if you know you really really really love that book or series, I wouldn’t suggest it honestly–especially during a reading rut. It can end on a sour note if you’re having feelings of blah-ness or no desire to read to start with and you’re forcing the read anyway. Who wants to end up hating a book they loved so much before all because of a sour re-read during a reading slump? If you want to try and go the forced reading method, scour some friends’ reviews, recent or old, and pick out a few books from the “average reads” list… Books that were perhaps given 3-3.5 stars at best, but not below a 2, so nothing too negative, and books that are probably no longer 400-450 pages (so, don’t go an epic fantasy route or something). Then give yourself as much time as you want. Don’t put any restrictions on yourself. Don’t schedule anything. If it takes you 2 months to read a 300 page book, so be it. By the end, it may be the one to finally pull you up from the sinkhole you’ve fallen down into.
Here’s another thing I like to suggest: Don’t skip over the bookstores/book aisles just because you’re in a rut. Continue buying. Continue browsing. Stop in at the library and have a look around when you can. You may not want to force yourself to read, but if you happen across the one (the one book to rule them all) that finally captures your attention enough to get just a tiny spark of desire, that’s enough to make a reach for the surface.
I might sound a little crazy with this one: Watch movies. Not just any movies… but book-to-movie adaptations. Better yet, ones you’d hadn’t even read the book yet so you’re seeing the movie first… all the details, characters, etc., before really knowing anything like a reader would. Well, if you’re like me and love movies ALMOST as much as books, the visual appeal of one not only is relaxing and entertaining–and if it’s really good, and I actually found I hadn’t read the book yet, I nearly always get the book immediately afterward. In some odd way, it’s almost like doing a re-read, because then I know the characters and most of the details and story, with slight changes.
A reading slump is hard on a blogger either way you look at it. And the deeper you go into them (what I like to call The Reading Sinkhole), the harder it seems to get out of them. But you can! If it counts for something: the pain we feel when we are all without our books, even just for a short time, only shows how much we really do care. <3
Well, time for me to try and read and get this never-ending game of catch-up going again. Haha!
Do you have any ideas for working with/around a long-lasting reading slump?