Reading Slumps 101

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Hey, everyone! I’m back with a post about the most cruel thing in the bookish world – a reading slump. I will try to explain what a reading slump is, how you can spot it (AND DESTROY IT), maybe prevent it and some tips on how to break this awful curse.

According to Urban Dictionary, a reading slump is a reader’s worst nightmare. While it’s not the most detailed definition, I would say it’s pretty accurate.

A reading slump is basically the inability to read. You can’t read books and it’s not because the book is too slow-paced or you dislike the characters and are unable to finish it, it’s just because you’re not capable to read. This time it’s not the book, it’s you. Sorry. It’s one of the most frustrating feeling in the world because if you’re a blogger or a very committed reader, then you most probably WANT/NEED to read, but you just can’t.

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How to spot a reading slump

  • It will start gradually. Usually, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a book that you enjoyed so far, maybe it was a bit slow or maybe it was perfect and you didn’t want it to end or maybe it was really bad, it doesn’t really matter. And then, BOOOM, you can’t read it anymore. You read the same line over and over for 30 minutes.
  • You start to realize that you might never get past this line, so you put down the book and think “well, I’ll just read more tomorrow”
  • Before you know it, tomorrow turned into two days, three days and then one week and you finally understand that it’s worse than you thought. YOU HAVE FALLEN PREY TO THE MONSTER.
  • You tell yourself that maybe it will work if you read something else, so you stare at your shelf for hours and try to make yourself pick something to read. Maybe you take a book out from the shelf and try to read it, but nothing is working.
  • In the end, you just give up and embrace Netflix. I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules. 
  • if you’re lucky, maybe you actually find a book that gets you out of the reading slump, but that only happens if the reading gods favor you.

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What causes a reading slump???? Plus some ways to prevent it.

Sadly, there isn’t enough data to draw conclusions on this matter, but I can tell you something. Whenever I’m in a reading slump, it’s probably because of the following reasons :

  1. I have too many responsibilities and I’m too tired to read (usually it happens when I have exams, it can happen to you if you have a lot of work to do). Reading takes up time and you need to be in a certain mood to read and exhausted is probably not the right mood to be in. Maybe try not to beat yourself up too much when this happens because life is to blame, not you.
  2. I just read a great book, it was an instant favorite, but it has a huge downsize : it destroyed every other book for me. Well, obviously, I will still read and find other favorites in the future, but for a few days or weeks, my brain will be too focused on the said book to want to read anything else. How to trick it : I usually read positive reviews of books that are on my TBR, it’s almost impossible not to get excited after reading a few reviews. It works most of the time.
  3. I just read the worst book ever and now I’ve lost trust in humanity???? It happens, for sure. Here, I usually solve this by reading a book by a favourite author. I trust this author, so there are huge chances that the book will be a hit and won’t disappoint me. I think lots of people use re-reading a favorite book to combat reading slumps as well (but I’m not huge on re-reading, so there’s that).
  4. I’m binge-watching tv shows on Netflix and it’s taken over my existence. Yeah, I don’t have a solution here. I’ve been hangover after watching Vikings and I’ve spent so much more time reading fanfiction rather than reading books and I hate it, but I can’t really stop. How to prevent this from happening? Well, maybe don’t watch tv shows? Or be a casual fan? I can’t relate though.

I’m sure there are more things that can cause a reading slump, but these are the usual ones for me.

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How to trick your brain into reading

  1. Re-read your favorite books if that works for you as I mentioned before. If you’re not a huge fan of re-reading, then try my method and read a book from a trusted author.
  2. Try something with a different format (letters, e-mails, anything among these lines) or poetry books. I love doing this because they are quick reads and since you move through the book so quickly, you start feeling capable to read again, therefore beating the reading slump.

My recommendations for this one would include : Sadie by Courtney Summers (which isn’t out until September, but I’d absolutely recommend it, especially if you’re a fan of true crime), The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (I haven’t read this one yet, but I’ve heard only great things about it), The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan (2013!me worshiped this book), Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

3. Don’t stress yourself over not being able to read. I feel like whenever you obsess a lot about not having read anything in three days, you get even less reading done. Maybe watch your favorite tv show, do something with your family or friends, go out, relax. And then try again.

4. Switch up things a little. If you’ve read only contemporary for a while now, try a fantasy book. Maybe don’t go for a genre you never read before because that can go wrong, stick to a genre you love, but haven’t read in a while. I have my periods when I read only fantasy or only contemporary and after some time, I have to read something different.

5. Talk to book reviewers about books and about your reading slump, they will all relate and they might cheer on you while you try to get past that or give you some tips if you need them. For example, Kat @ Life and Other Disasters once literary cheered on me to make me read and also send me some adorable Aneurin Barnard gifs to encourage me. It worked a great deal.

6. Maybe listen to audiobooks???? I have a hard time getting into audiobooks, I’m not sure why. Maybe I have a hard time focusing, maybe it’s because I’m a huge visual person and I always get bored whenever I have to listen to someone talk for a long period of time. IDK. It’s my personal preference to read a paperback or an ebook, but it would probably work to switch formats.

7. Most importantly, understand that it’s pretty normal for us, bookworms to get reading slumps from time to time. It’s like a burnout, it happens when you’ve ignored your life responsibilities for too long while reading and now you’re getting to the punishment (I’M KIDDING)

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In conclusion, don’t despair, the dragon can be slayed.

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What do you do when you’re in a reading slump?

I need all your tips because they are getting more and more frequent in my case.

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72 thoughts on “Reading Slumps 101

  1. ofmariaantonia says:

    Yes, I find slumps happen after reading one too many books that I’m just not enjoying.

    And rereading favourite books can help. I’ll even do what I call “spot reading”. I’ll pick up one of my favourite books and flip to my favourite part and read that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marta says:

      Ohhh, spot reading sounds absolutely amazing! I never did that before, but it sounds like something that would definitely put you back in the mood. Sometimes I do something similar, I look up Goodreads quotes and hope that maybe, maybe I’ll find something interesting and maybe be looking forward to reading the book that quote is from. But that can be quite risky because spoilers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Caro @ bookcheshirecat says:

    Really great post!! Reading slumps are little beasts, but you named a lot of great tips to declare victory over them 😄 Reading positive Reviews of books on your TBR is a super helpful tip, it always makes me so much more excited to read the book and gets my motivation up! I also like watching Readathon Vlogs on Youtube, as they often motivate me too (but beware, you can easily fall down the Youtube Hole 😅)! I’m the worst with keeping up with TV Shows, but one idea would be to read a book similar to the topic/genre of them? To fill the void somehow 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marta says:

      Same here, I always do that, but sometimes I make the mistake of reading negative reviews as well and I get all hesitant all of the sudden :-/ I probably should stop doing that, lol. Ah, I used to watch booktube, but ever since I started blogging, I kind of stopped doing that because it takes a lot of time that I might not have anyway and also it’s a bit stressful to see everyone reading while you can’t do that (for me!)
      I’ve tried that, I wanted to read Sky in the Deep after finishing Vikings and I couldn’t focus on the book because i’ve kept getting flashes from what happened on the show. To be honest, it was a brutal season and I was probably marked from it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Caro @ bookcheshirecat says:

        Reading negative Reviews is the worst thing I can do, because it makes me soo hesitant immediately 😦

        I only watch a handful of Booktubers, because having a crowded subscription page always stresses me out 😅 Oh I didn’t think about that 😮

        Oh no 😅 (did you like the book though?) I have not watched Vikings, but oh brutal seasons leave the biggest impact!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. thoughtsofthereader says:

    Whenever I’m in a reading slump I always go back and reread old favourites, usually one of the Harry Potter books. It’s the only method I’ve really given a go in the past but now if I’m ever in a slump again I may give some of your tips a go, especially audiobooks and switching up genres!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kelly says:

    I get reading slumps all the time, mostly due to stress and adult responsibilities (ugh!) and it’s so frustrating because all I want to do is read. The next time this happens I’m going to give your tips a go. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. SERIESous Book Reviews says:

    I’ve told myself that if I’m not into a book, I’ll DNF it with no hard feelings so I don’t force myself to finish it. And since I started doing that, I’ve gone through a lot less reading slumps because I don’t dwell too long on books I’m not feeling. But when I do get in a slump, I usually read novellas because I find their quicker nature gets me back into the groove of things.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marta says:

      Hmmm, that’s interesting! I don’t really DNF books after I read 100 pages of them no matter how bad they are. So, it might be the root of it all. Same here, I love novellas and graphic novels and poetry books, I find them all equally effective.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    I’m going to be honest and say that I feel like I’m suffering a little bit of a slump at the moment. I tried picking up a book that I’ve been meaning to re-read for ages, that used to be a favourite of mine, and couldn’t get past the first few chapters! I’m going to try and switch up genres a little bit, go back to some favourites and see if that helps a little. 🙂
    These are also great tips, I’m definitely going to be bookmarking this post for if my plan to beat my slump before it gets too bad fails miserably.
    Great post. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      Ah, I’m sorry to hear that, Beth! 😢 I feel like I’ve been in a reading slump on and off for the whole year, which sucks a lot. I think college and blogging got in the way of reading more and I’m still getting used to how blogging can affect my reading. I really hope the tips will help you 💕 What is the book you were trying to reread?
      Thank you very much!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        Oh the whole year? Now that really sucks. But hopefully you’ll come out of it the other side soon. Yeah I know the feeling, when life gets in the way it can be hard to find the time to do anything, let alone read.
        It’s The Darkest Minds, I actually started it again today and I’m back into it so I think all is good so far. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Marta says:

        Well, it was on and off, but it was awful nonetheless. Ohh, I’ve read it back in 2014 or something. I never finished the series though, maybe the movie will motivate me enough to do it.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Sissi @thebookworld20 says:

    When I am in a reading slump, I love to read short books! It makes me feel like I am making progress in my TBR. Reading a genre I love also helps. I hate reading slumps and I hope I can avoid it when school starts and I have less time to read. Great post 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marta says:

      Thank you so much, Sofii! ❤ I’ve heard everyone recommending this tip as well, it doesn’t work for me because I rarely reread. But I might try to read my favorite scenes or quotes.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. sakhile writes says:

    Reading slumps! Curses upon curses, might be the reason I’m currently “reading” 4 books without actually reading them. Usually I reread old favourites to get my love for reading back

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      I hate whenever that happens 😐 Maybe try to focus on one that you like the most? It usually works for me better than switching between them repeatedly because that gets tiring very fast. I hope you get past this awful slump!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lois says:

    I can so relate to everything about this post. This year has basically just been one big reading slump for me. I’ve been so busy with work and other life stuff that by the time I get home I’m too exhausted to even pick up the book. I’ve come to embrace this slump now because getting stressed about it only takes me further into it. It will break eventually, I just have to be patient haha.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marta says:

      Ah, I’m sorry to hear that, Lois! 😢 Responsibilities and adult life is the worst thing that could happen to a reader, I’m still trying to read as many books as possible while in college because afterwards I’m sure I’ll be tired 24/7 *cries forever*
      I hope your reading slump will pass, *giving you a million hugs*

      Like

  10. tornpagesandroses says:

    I can actually feel myself creeping into one right now and I’m trying a bit to battle it lol So far listening to an audiobook is keeping me afloat but we’ll see how it goes. I know personally though that I get into slumps when I start feeling stressed about life, like feeling behind on the things I should have done and it puts a damper in my reading because it suddenly feels like a waste of time.

    My tips and tricks mostly consists of switching books, or mediums (physical to e-books to audiobooks), or genres. If it doesn’t work I usually try to grab graphic novels or comics or read manga or webtoons online. If that doesn’t work still, I watch Booktubers, like literally look for a new one, and start binge watching their backlist lol that usually triggers reading out of me. If all of the above doesn’t work then I just watch movies or Netflix while crocheting or doing something crafty.

    For sure though if all else fails, a day or two of not doing anything is good for our mental health anyways so just go out or stay home and enjoy the day. Sorry the comment’s too long, I got carried away lol

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marta says:

      I totally forgot about graphic novels, comics, manga, they are amazing for dealing with reading slumps as well. I always try this trick as well, it’s very effective and great for the reading challenge as well.
      Aw, it’s great that you like crocheting, I really tried getting into it, but while I enjoyed, I wasn’t particularly good at it. I’m not good at anything practical or crafty to be honest 😅
      Ahh, don’t apologize! I love long comments and your was very helpful, I’ll try to do some of the things you mentioned ❤
      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. beereaderbooks says:

    Great post I’ve been writing one similar myself recently as I think we all struggle with reading mojo some times, it’s about recognising causes and working with them, usually for me it’s just timing and reading the wrong books, a good romcom or interesting Nonfic book usually puts me back on course and I’ve ditched the DNF guilt too 👌

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      Reading slumps are something we should talk about a lot and support each other through them 😅 I think timing is very important with me as well, I have a hard time not reading even if I feel like I’m not particularly in the mood for it. I should probably relax more and remember it’s just a hobby and it’s supposed to be fun and pressuring at all.

      Like

  12. Norrie says:

    I usually switch to watching TV series when i feel an oncoming slump.
    Once i told my BF “I haven’t read a book in 3 days. I feel ok though.” And he said i sound like those people who go to alcoholics anonymous 😀

    When i feel the slump coming, i usually stop right there. Don’t even let it become a full on thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      Hahaha, I felt that! My mom is the same, she’ll get all like “and what’s so wrong about it? Consider it a break and do something else”. They don’t understand the pain 😢
      Hahaha, I’m bad at this, I usually pressure myself a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Raven @ Dreamy Addictions says:

    I had a book slump last month and it was really a nightmare. I was stuck with one book for two whole weeks and I couldn’t DNF it either. So it was a struggle finishing it. For my next read, I picked up something light and fun, and I really enjoyed it.
    Thank you for sharing these tips!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marta says:

      Reading slumps can be really scary 😢 I’ve gotten used to them at this point and I’m not as scared as I used to be, but I still find them very frustrating. I’m glad you managed to beat the reading slump ❤
      You’re most welcome!

      Like

  14. Lucie says:

    Your post was amazing, I related too much to all the causes of reading slump you listed (um, I hardly read anything last week, because I was too busy binge-watching The Bold Type) and your tips were great as well. To get over a reading slump, I usually use most of the tips you gave, but also stare at Goodreads for hours, open tabs with the books I’m most excited to read, then read an extract of them, to finally try to pick up the one that intrigued me the most! Oh and the last book that got me out of a reading slump was a reread of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, it’s quite short and told through letters, so perfect for changing formats, like you said. Have a nice day! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marta says:

      Ugh, I still need to binge-watch The Bold Type!! Was this season as good as the previous?
      Ohh, that sounds pretty effective, when I’m in a slump, I always browse through Twitter threads of books people had read this year hoping that I’ll find something interesting. A friend of mine actually recommended that book to me, so I might check it out soon as well ❤
      You too!

      Like

  15. Melina Elisa says:

    Omg this was such a great post! I could relate to this on such a personal level haha. The reasons you came up with reading slumps are the exact same reasons why I get into reading slumps! The most common reason is because I’m tired, and then the worst reason I got into a reading slump was about a year ago (when I was still writing weekly book reviews), and I read this book that was good, but mentally drained me and upset me, that I couldn’t read anything else! Great post xxx

    Melina | http://www.melinaelisa.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      Ohhh, what book was that? Though it’s probably better for me to stay away from it as I’m recovering from a reading slump 🙈 I’m glad that you related to the post, I hate being tired and unable to read, it’s the worst reason because there isn’t much to do especially when I’m in a stressful situation.
      Thank you very much, Melina! ❤

      Like

  16. Andreea P. says:

    I loved reading this post – your writing made me laugh so many times, it was a great post!

    I usually get over my reading slumps by just going with the flow? I don’t feel like reading so I do not read… or I will try a non-fiction book because those are not affected by my reading slumps if that makes sense. I mean, I only have reading slumps when it comes to fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      I’m always here for the comic relief even with such serious matters as reading slumps 😂
      Yeah, I definitely get what you mean with nonfiction. I think, sadly, it’s a very neglected genre in my case. I should try to read more in the future. Do you have any recommendations post or something I could check out? ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Andreea P. says:

        Oh, I don’t… maybe I should? I don’t know, non-fiction seems a bit more personal because even if it’s a great book, if the reader has no interest in science for example, then it does not matter? I simply recommend going for a book on a subject you love (I like anything about the history and culture of Japan) or just pick a non-fiction title that sounds completely amazing even if you know nothing about that subject like Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (it’s on my TBR).

        Like

  17. Charvi says:

    Thanks for all the advice! As far as I can remember I’ve only been in a reading slump one but that one lasted for like 2 months 😵

    Fingers crossed it doesn’t come anytime soon 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  18. NeriSiren says:

    I love your sense of humor in this post, which definitely brightens up a truly frightening subject. I can relate to the reading slump, but for me it’s usually a selective slump; I borrow a bunch of new books from the library and let them sit on my dresser for weeks while I re-read the same old favorite every night because I can’t bring myself to try something new.

    Or I’m so intimidated by the huge stack of books I just borrowed that I think I’ll never get to them all in time. In those cases, I remind myself that it’s ok to lighten my workload, and even ditch a few planned blog posts. I choose about two or three books I’m most excited about and return the rest to the library, until I’m in a better mood to read them.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. LisaDay says:

    You nailed it Marta – No. 2 does it for me and No. 1 helps. Sometimes I just read thrillers or what I like to term summer reads – just an easy read with no thought needed. Great post. I have Sadie. but it’s packed. I will bring that to the top of the pile.

    Like

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