I had something completely different scheduled for today but I didn’t get around to writing it so I thought I’d talk about reading slumps instead, since I’m currently in one. Honestly, it could not have come at a worse time and it’s especially frustrating because, compared to previous months, I didn’t even schedule many books to read during April.
The ‘reading slump’ is like the common cold for bookworms. Sometimes you know it’s coming, but more often than not it creeps up on you when you’re least expecting it. Some have it worse than others, there’s no single cause, and even though you have a lifetime supply of vaccines (books!) you still get sick.
It affects people of all ages, from young children to teens and adults, but you’re particularly vulnerable if your blood type is that of an avid reader. There is currently no cure for the reading slump but taking certain precautions will ensure that it doesn’t have a significant impact on your life.
S Y M P T O M S
Whilst there are different causes/types of the reading slump, the symptoms usually remain the same, the severity of which varies from person to person. You might find yourself experiencing any of the following:
- Wanting to read but not wanting to read
- Aggression towards your current read for putting you in a slump
- Bitterness towards others for not being in a slump
- Distancing yourself from your TBR
- Excessively thinking about your favourite books instead (see also: wondering if a certain character is eating well)
- Complaining about being in a slump but making little effort to get out of it
- Wondering about the purpose of life
- Sleeping earlier because you’re not staying up late reading
T Y P E S A N D T R E A T M E N T S
Although the cause of the reading slump remains to be an ongoing area of study, recent research has identified three of the most common types. Recognising the type of slump you’re in helps provide a suitable treatment, tailored to your needs, for a super speedy recovery!
1. THE BOOK HANGOVER SLUMP
You can’t stop thinking about the incredible book you just read, and you’re struggling to pick up another book because you know it won’t live up to that level of awesomeness. You’re living in your happy bubble and you don’t want it to burst. (This is the type I’m currently suffering from. I can’t stop thinking about The Hate U Give.)
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Embrace the slump. Recommend the glorious book to everyone you know. Spend hours on Tumblr reblogging fan art. Spend more hours browsing Pinterest to make aesthetics. Read or write some fanfiction. Build a book shrine. The only proved cure of a book hangover is time. You don’t drink alcohol to cure your hangover after a wild night out, so why would you read another book?
2. THE BAD BOOK SLUMP
You don’t realise the book you’re currently reading just isn’t for you. Instead of letting go, you’re still holding on. Maybe it’s an author you love. Maybe it’s a book too many people have recommended. You don’t want to DNF it, but you get distracted easily and you find yourself making excuses instead of reading it.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
LET IT GO! LET IT GO! You don’t have to let go completely, but in the meantime find another book to read. Read something light, such as a cute contemporary or some poetry. Re-read a book you love. If, for some bizarre reason, you still have utmost faith in the guilty book, you can always try again later. It’s probably just the wrong time.
3. THE LIFE SUCKS SLUMP
You just don’t have time to read anymore so you either don’t pick up a book for months or you find yourself reading one at the pace of a turtle. When you do have spare time, you’re probably so exhausted from living that you’d rather go to sleep. You keep a book on you at all times in case you can squeeze in some reading, but instead of making any progress you just end up making your shoulders ache.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
It’s okay to have a life, sometimes. Take a break. Do other things you love. Discover something new. The last thing you want to do is stress yourself out even more by your non-existent reading progress. Talk about your love of books with your family, friends, teachers and colleagues. No one is judging you for not reading except maybe that person in the mirror so avoid them at all costs.
The reading slump isn’t a long-term condition, though it is a reoccurring one. It’s not the end of the world if you’re in one for days, weeks or even months. On a serious note: it’s really easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself – and your Goodreads challenge – to other readers, but this can have a severe impact on your self-esteem and mental health. The most important thing you can take away from this post is this. Reading is your hobby. Don’t let it become a chore.
How often are you in a reading slump? What usually causes it? What are your top tips for overcoming them? Do you think there’s a pressure within the book community to constantly be reading?