History in the Making

History in the Making

3 Ways to Break a Reading Slump

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…

3 Ways to Break a Reading Slump

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!

Londonopolis Reading Book

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!

Lies of Locke LamoraVia Goodreads

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!

Trouble is a Friend of Mine

So dear readers, how do you handle a reading slump? How do you break the radio silence and find a new book to grab your attention? And if you could only recommend one book to someone to break their slump, what book would it be? 

Until tomorrow,
The Historian
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29 thoughts on “3 Ways to Break a Reading Slump”

    • I had to ban myself from bookshops- I always come home with far too many!! I have 1,200+ books as it is, so I have to be stronger haha

  • I just started a new teaching job, and with it came a forty hour work week, not including the dozens of hours of lesson planning, grading test, and researching and finding ways to grow as a teacher. It’s my first “full-time” job since graduating college, and it seems to have placed a worse wedge between me and reading than college ever did. It wasn’t until recently that I found myself at Books a million, and I decided then and there, that I was going to buy at least two books to get myself out of this slump.
    I’m now a forth of the way through the first book, and though I am reading at much slower pace than usual, I’m being patient with myself as I try to balance my love for reading and my duties as a teacher.

    • I find that new and different (and often more limited) reading patterns come with big life changes, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing! And sometimes when you slow your reading pace down, you enjoy the books in a different way than before ? What did you end up buying??

  • This is going to sound strange but I usually find myself in a reading slump when I have too many books to read all at the same time. Say I pick up a handful at the library and then a day later one comes in on hold, and the day after that, and the day after that, and before I know it I have ten books I’ve been waiting for all due back in three weeks. LOL. Decision Paralysis leads to a slump. I often have to let them all expire and go back to cure the slump.

    • That does make sense! I usually have 3-4 books on the go but they are carefully chosen to balance out genres and mediums. Sadly that very problem with the library has caused me to start buying more books for my Kobo. Several times in the last year, I’ve had 5-7 books become available within the span of a week- there is no way to read them all! (Not to mention I may have lost interest since I first put them on hold!)

  • The times I don’t read are when I have no time to read. I’m eclectic, so read according to whim or mood, often non fiction, anything I’m curious about. This tends to set off a chain, as following up references brings other authors to notice. Book choice is very personal, I probably wouldn’t risk making recommendations without knowing what style of writing and genre someone favoured.

    • I can see your point about book recommendations! There are a few friends that I don’t make recommendations for because I know we have no genres/preferences in common, but for the most part, I don’t mind making recommendations- if the worst thing that happens is that you start a book you don’t like, I think that life is pretty good. I’ve received many recs that didn’t pan out but I don’t think that my life (or reading life) are worse for them!

  • I also like to go to thrift shops and look for books. The one near my parent’s house has adult fiction for 25 CENTS so a soft cover!! 10 cents if it’s a children’s book!! It’s insanity. I try to break up my reading with other activities. Right now I’m in the middle of knitting a blanket which is taking me FOREVER because I keep getting bored with it but I told myself I can’t start a new book until it is finished. By the time I’m done this book I’ll be so desperate to read a new book haha

    • That’s exactly my problem!! I will spend HOURS perusing Goodreads and not find a book to actually read- sometimes I even give myself a time limit of 5 or 10 minutes to choose a book and start reading!

    • I used to do this, but then I find myself caught in a cycle of re-reading 5-10 books I’ve already read, which isn’t inherently bad, but makes me a little sad when I think about how many books there are in the world and I keep reading the same ones!

  • If I want to break a reading slump I’ll usually go back to one of my favourite books. Generally I’ll pick up Harry Potter again 🙂 I like your idea of treating yourself to a new book or two though 🙂

    • I will often grab Prisoner of Azkaban to jumpstart my reading! It’s short enough that I’m not “losing time” that could be spent discovering new books, and interesting enough that I know I will always want to read it!! (Although I am kind of sad that we aren’t getting new books in the series anymore- the Cursed Child wasn’t the same as a book, obviously, and Fantastic Beasts is a slip of a book. We need more!!)

    • I’m just starting it now, but I’m loving it so far! It’s perfect to read a bit when I have a moment here and there, which I often find doesn’t suit most books. I’m very happy I took a chance on it!!

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