How to get out of a reading slump

Like a lot of readers I sometimes find myself unable to engage with a book. I put it down and try another one, but that doesn’t grab me either. It seems that nothing I pick up can hold my attention. But this isn’t the fault of the book. Sometimes the slump just hits you. It happens to us all.

Some people don’t do anything to try and get out of a slump, they just ride it out and wait for it to stop. But I’m not as patient as that, so here are a few things I try to get myself reading again.

Don’t read

I find it hard to stop reading. I am surround by books all the time, and not just at home as I also work in a library (an English Literature and Language library as well!). It feels odd to not have a book on the go, waiting on my bedside table or in my bag. But sometimes that’s the only way. Just stop reading, give it a few days, and try again with something fresh. I do something else instead. Go for a walk, go to the cinema, binge watch the Lord of the Rings extended versions over a weekend. These are all things that can inspire me to get back into fiction.

Read something different

I usually read novels, and I tend towards YA or LGBTQ+ of any type. One way of getting myself out of a slump is to read something completely different. Recently I’ve read Victorian short stories (The Face in the Glass: And Other Gothic Tales by Mary Elizabeth Braddon), literary novellas (Disquiet by Julia Leigh), and I’ve been using Tapastic to read online comics (I recommend Heartstopper and Rock and Riot). Switching to something different for a while seems to re-invigorate my enthusiasm for my regular to-read pile.

Re-read a favourite

This is a risky tactic, as sometimes a slump is caused when I’ve read something outstanding that I can’t get out of my head, distracting me from what I’m trying to read next. But sometimes, an old favourite is so good it wipes everything else out of your mind and reminds you what is so good about fiction. It’s refreshing and helps me re-focus once again. I usually go back to Harry Potter (Prisoner of Azkaban is my favourite), Narnia (I usually start at the beginning and can’t stop), or Stephen King (my favourite is The Dark Half) it always works.

Life is too short for bad books

I’m not sure if there is such a thing as a “bad book”, it’s all subjective. If I’m in a slump the first thing I do is stop trying to struggle through the thing I just don’t want to pick up and read. It goes back onto the pile (sometimes to the bottom) and after trying the above tactics, I move onto something new. I don’t often abandon books forever, because I think maybe the time just isn’t right for me to read that particular book. I always give it another go…just one go when the slump is over and I’m in the right frame of mind to try it again.

So there is the list of what I do to get out of a reading slump. What do you try? Anything different? What are you methods for getting back into reading again?

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