I don’t think I hate many things in the world, but there are two things I hate with a burning passion — Kanye West and book slumps!
(The first one has no relevance to this blog post, but the point stands.)
Books slumps are really horrible though, especially you want to read, but it feels as if you’ve read all the good books out there already, or whatever you pick up is super boring. If that’s the case, stop for a minute and take a breath because there are millions of amazing books out there, but slumps have a tendency to make us overly critical, so you’re probably overreacting in thinking you’ll never find a decent book again. However, if that is you right now, then I have some tips to dig yourself out of your self-pitying slump and stop wallowing over that one book you can’t get over because you’re convinced nothing else could compare.
1. (RE)ORGANISE YOUR BOOK SHELF
You’ve been putting it off, don’t lie! But, a book slump is the perfect time for you to sit down and sort it out because nothing says getting your life together like crying over your paperbacks. Whether you organise your book shelf by colour or author, going through the books you own might help you find a hidden gem you forgot you bought or evoke enough nostalgia to power a 90s boyband reunion. For example, I found Jacqueline Wilson books hidden away the other day — and wow, the memories!
2. REREAD YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK
Now, this is coming from someone who isn’t much of a rereader because I don’t like knowing what happens and it means I never enjoy it as much the second time to round. But, it’s about finding the right book to reread. You need to find the book where your heart will be in your throat the entire time you read it and you love the characters so much that you couldn’t imagine getting tired of them. For me, A Court of Thorns and Roses and The Infernal Devices series accomplish that.
Being able to get excited over a book you already know you love can help you figure out what type of book you should read next too — sometimes I go through phases, does anyone else? I might only read fantasy for three months, then I can’t deal with it all of a sudden and will be obsessed with contemporaries.
3. WATCH A FILM ADAPTION OF A BOOK
Film adaptations are always going to be controversial, but when you’re in a slump, watching a film requires zero effort on your half and can help you visualise new worlds better. Some of my favourite book to film adaptions are the Harry Potters, The Hunger Games and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. On the other end, maybe watching a really bad adaption — like Percy Jackson or Vampire Academy — will make you angry enough to yearn for the real thing.
4. WRITE INSTEAD
Writing isn’t for everyone, but — even if you aren’t much of a writer — writing can held order your thoughts. From writing a story to a poem, slumps can happen because of an emotional block and bottling your emotions up is no solution — even I’m guilty of it myself. Certain books sometimes leave people frustrated or upset, so finding a way to express those feelings is super useful. At times, you could be writing something that is really terrible, but it doesn’t matter because it’s an effective way of venting when you don’t know how to articulate yourself to someone in real life.
5. SET READING GOALS FOR YOURSELF
During quarantine, I found setting goals has been especially helpful and helps me feel like I’m being productive. Whether you’re reading for ten minutes or for ten chapters, goals make reading feel like something to be proud of. In these hard times, I think it’s the little things we should take pride in — if you’re making your bed every day or finishing that book, it’s something to be proud of. The personal satisfaction that comes with reading a book is really worth it. Plus, if you read only 50 pages a day, you can finish a 350 page book in a week!
For those that are unaware, you can set specific reading goals on your phone (this screenshot is from iBooks).
6. MAKE A TBR LIST
If you don’t have a TBR list, I’d highly recommend making one. You can create one on Goodreads or in the notes app on your phone, but TBR lists are a great way to get you excited about reading again. They encourage you to count down to new releases, or might reignite an old interest of yours when you find a book you added a while back, then forgot.
One thing I’m ashamed to admit is how easily distracted I can get when reading — especially when I’m reading on my phone. Twitter notifications pop up often, my eyes sometimes struggle to focus on the words, other times I’ll be tempted to Google things from the book and it spirals from there . . . Point being, swapping the ebook for a paperback is important sometimes. Switch off your phone, then find a quiet place where you can relax and read.
If none of the above works, remember to be kind to yourself. Reading shouldn’t feel like a chore, it shouldn’t take energy of you — it should be something that genuinely makes you happy. If you aren’t in the mood to read, take a step back and let your brain reset for a few days. Don’t berate yourself for what’s out of your control.
Do you have any tips for getting out of a book slump? Add your advice advice in the comments.
read it and weep,