DISCUSSION: How to Avoid Reading Slumps (Can They Ever Be Avoided?)

I’ve been pretty lucky in that I haven’t gone through a lot of reading slumps. Though I haven’t always been a crazy reader, so maybe I just haven’t put in the time yet. Earlier this year, I was working like a madwoman on the blog, getting TONS of review books, and just doing way too much at once. This led to my first major slump, the month of May, where I read only three books.

This is something I didn’t want to happen again.

We all seem to go through reading slumps and part of me thinks that it’s unavoidable. Hopefully no one else has gone through a reading slump over an entire month like I have, but maybe we can find a way to make the slumps not happen.

It’s important to remember that a reading slump and a break aren’t the same thing. A break is something you CHOOSE to do and a slump is something that HAPPENS to you. A slump is a time where nothing looks good and you just don’t FEEL like reading. You might pick up a book to read and just can’t get past the first 10 pages, or you might not even pick up a book at all.

The first thing, I think, we need to do is figure out WHY we’re in the reading slump. Maybe it’s because we’ve overscheduled ourselves and are just too busy with life, blogging, and reading that our brains are telling us we need to stop. Or, maybe it’s because we’ve read too many mediocre or BAD books that we’re scared to pick up our next read. Or, it could be the opposite, with us reading so many GOOD books, or maybe a series that was so unbelievably good, that nothing seems to measure up.

Once we identify the problem, then we can try and fix it. Here are my suggestions:

Reading Slump Due to Being Too Busy

Honestly? Take a break. Tell yourself to just drop everything and take a weekend – or even a week off. Maybe even take that time to go through the books that you may have on your plate, like review books or books for a book tour, and schedule them in order of importance. Something I found was that I couldn’t read too many review books in a row. Maybe alternate a review book with something that you really, really want to read.

Reading Slump Due to Bad Books

This has happened to me. If I start to read so many mediocre or bad books in a row, nothing looks appealing. I’m scared to try something that I’m really looking forward to because it might ALSO be bad. In this case, I would try to reread something that I absolutely loved or something new that I KNOW I’ll love (like, say, if Stephanie Perkins’s new book was out, or Lisa Genova’s, or maybe even the next book in Beth Revis’s Across the Universe series). I would read something that I know wouldn’t disappoint.

Reading Slump Due to Amazing Books

This is tricky. There has been the odd time where I’ve read a book – or a series – that was just amazingly spectacular that nothing will live up to it. Each and every book I try afterwards seems like it’s trying too hard or just can’t compare. When this happens, I usually take a break. I work on some blog things, or write up some reviews or discussions, or maybe just watch some of my favourite TV shows. It can be hard for a book to live up to something you love, so just stepping away and letting your brain continue the love fest helps.

Of course, sometimes we just go into slumps for no apparent reason! We just stop reading and nothing looks good. While I’m a big advocate of stepping back and taking a break, I don’t want anyone to fall prey to the too-long break or even feel like they need to stop reading altogether, or stop blogging altogether. That ALMOST happened to me and I want you all to succeed!

Here are a few more suggestions on how to get through a reading slump:

  1. Try an audiobook. Sometimes our eyes are tired and we can’t focus. Throw on something that looks fantastic on while you’re out for a walk, or cleaning the house, or running errands and it might turn things around.
  2. Try a different genre. We all have our favourite genres. If you notice that the books you keep trying are all about the same time, maybe try something completely different.
  3. Read with a friend. There are so many great short novellas out there that sometimes it’s nice to pick one and have a friend read it along with you. When you’re finished, you can both discuss it and talk about your likes and dislikes.
  4. Reorganize your books. This might seem like an odd one, but maybe scouring through your bookshelves and rearranging and cleaning up your books will help you find that one book that you had totally forgotten about.

While these suggestions might work for me, they might not work for you. Everyone is different! All I can say is don’t think that a reading slump is the end of your reading – we all need to take breaks once in a while and a slump might be our body’s way of letting us know we need one.

How do you get over a reading slump? Do you have any other tricks of the trade you can share? 

© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.


46 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: How to Avoid Reading Slumps (Can They Ever Be Avoided?)

  1. Great tips! I would have never thought of the last one (reorganize your books) – that’s a good one 🙂 Whenever I’m in a reading slump I usually
    a) take a break from review books or – if things are super bad – reading
    b) read something from my TBR pile, something I’ve been meaning to read for ages

    These two usually do the trick for me 🙂 Also, mysteries/thrillers are the ones that always work, no matter how much of a reading slump I’m in.

  2. The only reading slump I’ve fallen into in the past 2 years is when the book is not a page turner or life is busy & I can’t string chunks of reading time together. Taking a week to read a book makes me CRAZY. I guess it’s the my outlet for this generations of insta-gratification. My solution so far is to pick up a book in a series I already know, so I can immediately immerse myself in the world or grab a quick contemporary and flip away. BUT I do stress the need for switching it up genres & categories (YA, Adult, NA) and reading what you want, especially the books you spent $$ on.

    • I’m currently on day 10 of reading one book and I’m not halfway through yet! The thing is a monster, but I find that I’m filling part of my day with reading slower books that I’ll finish sooner, just so it feels like I’m accomplishing something.

      Switching up genres is a MUST! I mean, I can only read the same stories over and over again when I need change.

    • I think I’m kind of at that point … I have 6 books on the go and just keep starting more. But, I’m also taking lots of time to do other things rather than force myself to complete anything – I’ll finish when I finish! Nothing wrong with taking a break. 🙂

  3. Love thesestips, I’ll remember these for the next slump which I hope is NEVER after the last one I had, even LOOKING at a book put me off. So sad 😦 Feeling better though 🙂 Also: love your blog but only just relalised I wasn’t following – now I am! Expect more comments from me soon 😀

    • Thanks, Rebecca! I’ve never been in a slump like that, though back in May I only read 3 books. I try to go easy now and not overdo it … That way I can still always read, I just might be slower at it.

  4. Those are some good tips. I felt like i have been in a slump just about all year. :-/ There was one month i only read 2 books. I used to read 2 books a week!!! I have also had a lot going on this year though. My husband got hurt at work in may, we babysat for the month of june, july we moved & i went home for a reunion, Went back home in Aug when my dad passed away, and now it’s christmas time. it seems like it’s been non stop since about May and now we’re just trucking through till the end of the year. I did fly through “Wild About You” the other day that felt great. I think that at tax time I am going to upgrade my kindle to the paperwhite. I think reading on my fire isnt helping matters. I get easily distracted with the apps I have on there… I did think of reorganizing the books on my shelf the other day. I can’t do much with my kindle since the fire doesn’t offer folders but maybe my physical shelf will help.

    • Yes! I get so distracted when I read on my iPad … Or even just a regular book, when I hear the alert on my phone. Sometimes I can just turn everything off and spend the day reading, but life does happen and sometimes I can’t. We just have to try our best!

  5. Great suggestions! Usually I do what you do, and go for something that I *know* I’ll like.

    I kinda fell into a reading slump lately – too many disappointing books in a row – and I was about to quit for a while. Then I got the next book to read for my book club (Before I Go to Sleep, by S. J. Watson), and it was something completely different. I’m absolutely loving it! (So this would be #2 on your list up there.)

    I’ve also had the slump due to too many good books. After reading Seraphina, it was like nothing was good enough, and I was kinda disappointed. Thankfully, the slump didn’t last too long. 🙂

    • That’s an awesome book! I can see it getting someone out of a slump. 🙂 I’ve had a few slumps after reading amazing books or series – it takes time to get out of them!

  6. Great suggestions, Kristilyn. For me, I always try to alternate genres. I find if I read a bunch of contemporaries in a row I bore of them and then I can’t get into any other genre either, so I always try to switch off genres with every read. And often I don’t read on Fridays so that’s my day to be free of books!

    • Free of books? How can you be free of books? I find that I read all the time … No strict times for reading, just when I want to. And if I don’t feel like reading, I don’t do it. In the past I forced myself, but I’m more lax now. It works for me!

  7. Such great suggestions! I love the point that slumps can happen for different reasons. One of my tips is also not to be afraid to put a book aside if you’re not enjoying it after a few chapters. Reading a book I’m not enjoying takes me forever and I’m grumpy the entire time.

    And, okay, now I see the snow 🙂

    • That happens. These days I really haven’t been able to binge read … I don’t have the perfect ratio of reading and other things, but at least it keeps me continually reading, even if it’s at a slower pace.

  8. Great post Kristilyn! I’m in a situation similar to a reading slump right now: exams! First of all, I’m super busy, so not much time to read. And second, I’m super stressed-out, so I can’t read anything too heavy or my brain will explode and I’ll just burst into tears all the time. Tricky times!

    Great suggestions to beat the reading slump blues!

  9. I don’t think I’ve ever fallen into a reading slump yet… Mostly because I still take my time with the books I’m reading, and just stop reading when I don’t feel like it, or I’m savoring a book, or I’m busy with life things. I really hope I never do, but if I did, your suggestions are AWESOME for getting over it.

  10. Great post! These are great tips! I try to avoid going into a slump by alternating genres as well as review books. So far it’s worked for me! I never thought of rearranging my shelves! I should have though because I moved my books around a month or so ago and made neat little piles of my books so I would have all of my “really want to read” in one spot to pick from 😛

  11. I’ve had a few small slumps before, so I’m saving this to read again when it happens next! So many good tips, I find that I have to switch up my books including review ones so I don’t get tired of reading them.

    • Too many review books in a row definitely gets to me … Even if I really want to read them! I think it’s the obligation of having to read them. Feels like work. I like to mix it up, too!

  12. These are all excellent examples of why we all get into reading slumps. I have read great books that nothing can live up to afterwards and I have read one horrible book after the next that leaves me uninterested. I have also been too busy, and you are right. Take a break.
    I rarely get into reading slumps, but I hate it when i am in one and am better now about being patient with myself. I usually use that time to visit some other blogs to find that special, out of the box, read.
    Thank you for your informative post.

  13. I’m pretty sure I’ve gone through reading slumps before, but I don’t think I’ve every been as *aware* of them as I am not that I have a blog. I’ve recently just gone through my biggest one and for the most part, I can chalk it up to a full plate when it comes to work and life. Unfortunately, for me, when I’m really busy, it’s reading that gets pushed to the side. Picking up a book just becomes overwhelming. Then I start to think, when will I have time to talk about this book on the blog. It’s really just a vicious circle that I’ve created for myself lol! The solution? I need to get caught up on everything that I want to get caught up on so that I can not feel like I always have a million things to do!

    • Yes! I feel the same way! I wouldn’t say that reading gets pushed to the back burner, though, I just don’t read as voraciously as I’d like to. Instead, I have full intentions of reading, but zonk out after a few pages! We just have to fit it in where we can.

  14. Caution: I will start ranting.

    I don’t think I’ve actually been in a full on reading slump before. I mean, there were times where I just looked at a book and put it down because of the blurb/cover. Mostly the blurb because it always says: “Until a dark and mysterious boy came to town.” Thank you, but no thanks. It’s just not my thing anymore to read paranormal books or insta-love books. They used to make me swoon and then I got into John Green and all those great contemporaries. It’s not a reading slump, but it’s as if my brain just rejects anything paranormal. Except Twilight… I want to re-read it right now!

    Then again, I’m so busy. I tweeted you just a few minutes ago about not having read in the past week. I read like 10 pages, but that’s it. I’ve had math homework the past two weeks, pretty much everyday, and I was doing the homework for about 2 hours each day. Come the weekend, my cousin came over and I had to help her with piano, and then I went out. I just don’t have time!

    You have the best discussion posts. Just saying!

    • Thanks, Leanne!

      Being busy is definitely hard on a reader … And, being a piano player, I know that piano takes up a LOT of time. You can’t play well unless you practice lots. I’m actually impressed you read as much as you do!

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  17. I’m pretty sure that I haven’t got a reading slump for years now and I’m happy with that. Sometimes I do feel a bit stressed out with all the books I still need to read and what always helps me is making lists. Doesn’t matter where, on the computer in Words, on Goodreads or just scribbled down on my whiteboard or notebook. It always helps me to oversee the situation.

    When I feel that I’m stuck because I can’t find a good book, I like to re-read an oldie. One of my favorites is reading Harry Potter, The book thief or Seven Waters 🙂 Great discussion post and I like the tips you gave.


    • Reading a favourite definitely helps! I like your idea of making lists, too. Instead of lists, I make piles of books – seeing what I had been longing to read sitting in front of me gets me excited for reading!

  18. You know, I try my hardest to keep myself out of reading slumps, but my biggest cause of one is usually the “I HAVE to read this book next (b/c it’s due at the library, or I owe it a review etc.) but….” it’s HUGE and intimidating, or I wanna read this next or I just plain don’t feel like it. I still haven’t figured out how to avoid that situation.

    • When it comes to library books, I always remind myself that the book CAN be taken out again. That’s the beauty of the library! I think this is why I like to go with my gut when it comes to reading things … I try not to fear the return slot! 🙂

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  21. What a relevant post! I struggle with slumps pretty regularly – usually because of busyness or general fatigue. I really like your idea of reading with friends, and now that I think about it, reorganizing my book shelves has always gotten me back into the reading mode. Great suggestions, and I’ll definitely work on my reading slump this year.

  22. Usually when I’m in a reading slump its because I’m overwhelmed with life and don’t end up reading for a couple weeks. Eventually I pick up a book that has been high on my to-read list and just power through it. About halfway through I usually end up asking myself why I stopped reading because I love it so much.

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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