So you're in a reading slump
Hey, it happens.
Sometimes you start a book and you're just really not feeling it. Sometimes you look at your TBR pile and it seems too big, too ambitious, and you'll never get through it so why even bother. Sometimes you just don't have the energy or the brain space to get lost in another world, or another story, and it's so easy to just dick around on a screen as the book sits there screaming "READ ME! READ ME!" until it finally gives up and fades into silence. Or you sit there and wail "but I have NOTHING to read!" and someone else (usually the same person that says "but, babe, do you really need to buy any more books...?") says "Amélie, you've got 40 that you haven't read yet sitting over there". Or, in the case of one Scottish author who's name starts with a D and rhymes with Orothy, all of the important plot points are revealed through innuendo and subtext and the main character literally cannot chill and the experience of reading the book is legitimately so physically exhausting that it's more appealing to sit there and glare at the poor innocent paperback that never did you any harm than to go back to attempting to decipher the random and incomprehensible Gaelic (no? Is that one just me?).
We have all been there.
Luckily, even though a reading slump can sometimes feel like they will last forever, there are ways of snapping yourself out of them. And not all of those ways entail forcing yourself into reading the book you're avoiding (that's my current slump, in case you couldn't tell).
Throughout all of these tips, however, it's incredibly important to remember not to beat yourself up for being in a reading slump - none of us are machines, and sometimes we do just need to take a step back from the written word. Also, if you're reading a book and you're just not into it - there's no shame in not finishing a book that really doesn't capture our attention, or we just find downright bad. I personally need to get better about not bothering to finish books that I'm not enjoying beyond the 100-page mark, because quite frankly, there are too many wonderful things out there to read to waste any time
1. The first one is the most obvious, and also the most extreme: literally force yourself to read the book you're avoiding. Leave your house with nothing but your keys and the book you want to read, and go sit somewhere where you won't be able to connect to WiFi and spend three hours scrolling through Twitter instead. This is the one I turn to the most regularly, because I almost always find that once I get over the hump of the first 100 pages, I'm sufficiently invested in the book that I won't give up on it (and yes, I know that I'm a walking example of the sunk cost fallacy, but whatever). Save a book you want to read but aren't thrilled about (that Tolstoy monster you've been carting around between housemoves; the complex nonfiction; your first foray into a new genre - whatever it is) for your next long flight or train ride. Or, if none of those things are an option, set a timer and read nothing but that book for that length of time - what I like to do is bake something, and then sit down with the book I'm avoiding for however long my bake is in the oven.
2. Don't read for a couple of days. This is obviously a highly subjective one - there are some people who don't need to read the way I do, but I always find that if I take a few days away from books, by the time 3 or 4 days have passed I'm pretty desperate to start reading again, even if it is the book I wasn't thrilled about 3 days ago. Watch something on Netflix (there are quite a few terrible reality TV shows I could also recommend). Catch up on your podcasts. Bake during your free time, or tidy, or call someone. Just take long enough away from reading that by the time you get back to that book, you've missed it enough that you're more patient.
3. Re-read something, or read something easy and silly and light. My go-to in this category (and I have never been more grateful that my guy has just completely given up reading this blog, because otherwise, he would never let me live this down) is the shitty erotica I read in the early days of exploring sexuality. Honestly, those things were so bad - cringe-inducing, god-awful dialogue, and in most cases, some pretty bad sex (although in some cases, the sex is great. I can highly recommend Elle Kennedy, and her Off-Campus and Briar U books are still excellent go-tos, even though I would rather die than admit to anybody where I keep my copies of those books). I'm currently almost done with my re-read of all the published Elle Kennedy books I've got to date (and yes, I will be reading her new one when it comes out next month) and I can already feel myself ready to dip back into Lymond. Look at this step as your palate cleanser - a way to hit the reset button, and give yourself a break before launching into something potentially complex or difficult.
I hope these tips will help you jump out of whatever reading slump you might be in now - or if you've got your own, please share them with me!