Reading slumps- the bane of readers everywhere. I think that I can speak for a lot of readers when I say that when we love reading, we love reading. We can get lost for hours, taking in page after page and forgetting that the rest of the world is there. This is wonderful until you suddenly reach a point where you just don’t feel like reading. And then it feels weird. Sometimes it’s due to stress, sometimes a new routine, sometimes simply a run of uninteresting books. In any case, although it might take a while, you can break your reading slump and get back to your lovely reading routine! These are my tried and true tips to find yourself lost in a book again…
A reading slump can happen to any and all of us readers, and they can be quite difficult to overcome. I find that if my slump lasts long enough, reading stops feeling like a habit and a routine, and that’s what I never want to happen. I think that for a lot of us readers, we get into our reading patterns and don’t know how to cope when that happens. Well, I’ve had it happen often enough that I have a few go-to strategies to get back to my books and getting lost in different worlds again!
1. Set a Budget to Splurge
Normally I try to be as economical as possible when I am purchasing books; given that I typically read between 60-100 books a year, reading can get quite expensive. I either borrow the book from a library or a friend if possible, or scope out as many online stores as possible (as ebooks do tend to be cheaper). I normally set my budget to $5 CAD or less unless it is a book from one of my favourite authors that I have been waiting for, as a point of reference. (In my regular reading mood, this helpfully stops me from buying a hundred books in a weekend, which could very easily happen…) However, if I am really in reading rut, I set myself a budget of $15 or $20 and buy myself whatever book I want- no matter what the cost (within that budget), no matter what the ratings, no matter what anyone thinks, I buy it! And to be honest, even I don’t love the book after reading it, I usually have fond memories of it just for the fact that it was a splurge for myself! What I find helps is keeping a wishlist on Kobo to keep track of the books that I do somewhat want so that I have a go-to list when it comes to needing one- I can easily spend 5+ hours looking for a book when I could have been reading a book. Go for it and splurge, don’t filter by price!
2. Try a New Genre
I know that there are a lot of people who only read one or two genres and while I respect that, I would highly recommend breaking out of your genre preferences at some point. I normally can’t get into most fantasy novels, but a friend recommend the Rivers of London and Locke Lamora series and they are two of my favourite all-time series now! Had I left fantasy “crossed off the list”, I never would have read those books. The worst thing that happens is that you stop reading the book and move on, but I find that changing genres can really jolt your reading process- when you don’t know the patterns and mechanics of a genre, it can be a lot more exciting to read and will keep you on your reading toes! If you really do love one genre, try a similar one if you aren’t sure of making the leap. Big mystery fan? Try suspense or thrillers to bridge the gap! Always reading romance? Hop over to chick lit for a more fiction focused love story! Or if you are really desperate, pick an entirely new to you genre and jump out of your literary comfort zone. When it comes to reading, new isn’t bad!
3. Widely Ask for Recommendations
This is probably my biggest recommendation- give a few guidelines, and widely ask for recommendations. I’ve had a lot of luck lately asking for recommendations on Instagram and Facebook, a lot of the time from people that I don’t even know! I try to stick with basic requests, such as “a fun beach read to keep me entertained” or “a book based on mythology”, and I’ve had quite the wide variety recommended to me. We all have those friends who give the best book recommendations, but give them a break and see what else the literary world holds. It’s also quite an interesting social experiment; I get a lot of book recommendations on Facebook from people that I haven’t spoken to in a while, and it’s absolutely lovely to hear from them, especially about books!
It’s not a widely publicised feature, but you can ask for specific recommendations on Goodreads. (Under Browse, select Recommendations, and then on the righthand side there is a panel titled More Actions that has “Ask for Recommendations”. You can also give recommendations for people asking!) I know that a lot of readers also use Twitter to ask for recommendations, particularly from genre/retweet accounts. And if you like more in person recommendations, try the staff reads section at a book store or the librarian picks at the library- they are people who keep up with books for a living, and might have some very interesting recs for you. One of my favourite parts of working at a bookstore was being able to make true recommendations, so you may make someone’s day by asking!