Today I want to talk about the biggest enemy of the book blogger. It’s not Netflix, an active social life, demanding job or insecurity about your place in a community that you’re increasingly uncomfortable with.
No, it’s that most dreaded of non-physical ailments: the book slump.
Characters who would have usually lit up your life for a week lie dead and limp on the pages, plot twists that would have you reaching for your phone to tweet a GIF in reaction seem pedestrian at best. Worst of all you might find yourself reading the blurb of a YA contemporary in which two young people (her ‘too skinny’ and him possessing a surprising amount of sexual prowess for a 17-year-old*) fall in love under adverse circumstances (recently traumatically deceased parent/best friend/ acquaintance from school they just can’t forget)and think it seems… stupid.
Obviously such a situation can’t be allowed to fester. So pop the kettle on, light up a pumpkin spice candle, ease your feet into your slippers and relax. I got you.
Bookstagram is without a doubt one of the dumbest things we do in the book community. It’s all aesthetics and no substance, which is pretty much the opposite of what reading is about. But I love it. Looking at aesthetically pleasing, highly stylised book pictures makes me imagine the aesthetically pleasing, highly stylised life I might have if I were only reading more.
If there’s one thing that gets me more pumped than pretty pictures of books, it’s videos of smart people being excited about books. Kayley Hyde is my favourite, if you’re in need of recommendations.
If you’re getting lost in a novel, maybe you need something a little shorter. Everyone and their mother has a newsletter these days. Newsletters can take the form of something like Lenny, a feminist e-zine that hits your inbox once a week with a treasure trove of original writing by women ranging from personal essays to interviews to the most poetic horoscopes you’ll ever read; to something more like The Bleed, the newsletter of the Call Your Girlfriend podcast*, which is a summary of news items, articles and pictures Aminatou and Anne wanted to talk about over the month but didn’t have time for.
*Have you listened to Aminatou’s interview with Hillary Clinton yet? Omg.
A reading slump is often indicative of our emotional state. If you’re feeling crappy and looking to see that reflected somewhere, read poetry. Poetry is raw emotion with all the exposition of a novel removed. Sometimes cutting to the heart of the matter will snap you out of that slump and reinvigorate more than just your reading life.
Shake things up
One of my biggest ‘post-grad realisations’ is the importance of shaking up your routine. When you don’t have the beginning and ending of school terms doing it for you, you have to do it for yourself. This applies in all areas of your life, including reading. If all you’re reading is YA contemporaries and you’re feeling bored, pick up a novel that is completely outside of your wheelhouse. Try some non-fiction, or a classic, or look up the Belletrist pick for the month because it’s bound to be beautiful, clever and personally and politically relevant.
You’re not growing if you’re not changing, or however the saying goes.
4 thoughts on “Reading slump solutions”
I love your advice here. You’re SO right about shaking things up – it really helps, sometimes, when we’re getting a bit sick of reading, or just of reading a particular genre. I’m always trying to shake things up everytime I read books, from fantasy to contemporary and so on, try to keep things interesting for each and every book I read. I think this really helps me in avoiding big slumps 🙂 I don’t watch Booktube, but reading other bloggers’ posts and seeing them being SO excited about books give me that need to read again as well 🙂
Love this post here. I totally agree with shaking things up–change is definitely necessary now and then. My usual solution is to re-read previously beloved books AND IT WORKS LIKE A CHARM! Also…getting a new “temporary” hobby works for some people too. I have yet to test that theory though but it makes sense to step away from reading if you are going into a slump because you have been reading too much. (I can’t believe I just admitted that reading too much is an actual thing.)
Oh I like your suggestion to read poetry. I’ll admit, that isn’t something I do now that I don’t have to study poems for school but I do find picking up a book with a different prose really helps. 5 to 1 is a book I can think of that I read this year that did that.
I find novellas are great for getting out of slumps because they get to the chase a little faster due to their page length. They’re easy to binge read too for the same reason 😛
I had never thought of reading novellas! I don’t know if I’ve ever read one actually. Thanks for the suggestion 🙂
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