That Reading Life

I’m in a reading slump so give me your best tips

image of booksm on shelf

Not today, TBR pile.

Really mailing it in right now on the reading front. Ugh.

What breaks you out of a reading slump?

I have some general strategies around this as it is not my first rodeo. They include but are not limited to:

  • Reading something really short. Something I can knock out in an afternoon just to get the gears in my brain grinding. May result in momentum gained and, therefore, a renewed interest in reading in general. Or may not.
  • Reading something squarely in my wheelhouse. Ben taught me this one. This is not the time for reading challenges or tackling the stack of books I want to have read but don’t actually want to read (another phrase borrowed from Ben). This is the time for: reading the next book in a series I know I like; reading something new from a favorite author; rereading something from a favorite author; and themes I know and love (for me: ghosts, oppressed women; historical fiction; weight loss memoirs, self-help that I don’t find too annoying, etc.). This is the low-hanging fruit of your TBR or ABR (Already Been Read).
  • Reading a children’s book. If Mary Downing Hahn can’t get me through a reading slump, there may be no hope. In my experience, children’s books tend to move quickly because they can be plot-based and the language and characters are approachable. (Don’t come at me, children’s lit experts. I, too, am well-versed in the topic and these are generalizations. I’m aware of that.)  ❤
  • Audiobooks. I walk often and audiobooks are my boon companion. Those who cannot read may find that being read to is a much easier way to consume a book.
Production mode

Things I do in “production” mode: Art/crafting, puzzles, walking, decorating, writing

Accepting that I don’t want to read.

Quelle horreur! This gets its own section. People who love to read, who are book nerds, who take joy in tallying up the titles they conquer, can have a hard time accepting this one.

Also, I usually feel like my life is missing something when I can’t read. It is a major part of my existence and, therefore, my identity.

But I go through these “modes” in my life that I have come to accept as just how I am. There’s production mode: this is about being creative and making things and doing; not necessarily about accomplishing, more about creativity. And then there’s consumer mode: this one is about taking things in: books, movies, tv, blogs, shows, whatever. Reading is much easier when I’m in consumer mode.

And that is just not the mode I’m in right now.

What about you? Would love to hear about other people’s reading slumps and the reasons/work-arounds.

Thanks so much for stopping by!


4 thoughts on “I’m in a reading slump so give me your best tips

  1. Oh my God, the reading slump. We fear it and it comes to all of us. I have more slumps lately than I used to,although I blame that on my midlife crisis. Then again, I blame everything on my midlife crisis, and it’s been going on for about 8 years now, so it has a lot to answer for.
    Like the rest of my life I have no strategies for curing the slump. I mainly just keep plugging away, doing the work and waiting to once again feel the transcendent joy when I have a good streak. And then you appreciate the good streaks all the more because who knows how long they will last?
    That said, have you tried re-reading old favorites? I just plowed through a bunch of Anne Tylers I first read as a teen and that was like a whole new experience, reading them as an old lady having a midlife crisis.
    Pick a totally new subject, maybe related to other stuff going on in your life. Recently I got interested in city politics and ordinances where I live and it took me to lots of books on city planning and urban life and essays about loving where you live, and that was fun. Although I still don’t have time to do Jane Jacobs’s “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” dammit.
    Ask around. You’ve done the right thing by asking here. Sometimes I just have to get about 50 suggestions and check out 100 books before I find the book that jumpstarts things for me. This year for me it was “The Woman Who Smashed Codes” by Jason Fagone. Also if you’ve never read it you must try Helene Hanff’s (yes, she of 84, Charing Cross Road fame) memoir “Underfoot in Show Business,” about trying to make it in NYC in the 1940s and 50s. Quite possibly the most joyful woman’s account of trying and failing to make it in one’s field that I’ve ever read.
    Good luck!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shannon says:

      Haha, it does come to all of us!! Midlife is coming for me too, actually, but I’m not sure I can blame it yet…I understand how you feel, though. I think your re-reading tip is the thing I’ll try next. And gosh, I forgot about Anne Tyler completely. May target her on my next library trip. Honestly, I hadn’t thought of something completely new. Duh, right? Life-related stuff is a fantastic idea. Maybe some books on creativity, which is the space I’m in right now. Ben read the Jane Jacobs and quite enjoyed it. I, however, gave up after a chapter. :/ Will definitely try the Helen Hanff! Thanks, Sarah!


  2. lydiaschoch says:

    I’m also in a reading slump at the moment. Those are some great tips.

    Generally, I cut back on reading when I’m feeling like this. Sometimes your mind really does need a break, and that’s totally okay.

    Have you tried reading poetry (if you like it)? There have been times when I could read poetry but still needed a break from full-length novels for a while.


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