Monday, October 8, 2018

5 Reading Slump Killers ("with" Cynthia Bailey)

Every reader goes through this mess: you’ve finished a book (outstanding or awful) and can’t decide what to read next.  Or if you even want to follow up your reading so shortly.  So you ponder over what's your mood looking like–in concerns to your next choice in a book.  And sometimes that pondering goes on a little too long.  Sometimes... your decision gets clouded.  

After finishing a book, I usually take a day or two off from reading.  Sometimes that day or two sticks around a little longer.  And three days is always too long.  Then it begins to sting when I have four bookshelves riddled with unread titles glaring at me wondering what the hell I‘m doing sitting around without a book in hand.  One shelf wants to be chosen.  One book desperately wants to be elected.  And I just sit there like a chump biting my lip and as indecisive as ever.  Something has blocked me from reading.  My mood?  Energy?  Maybe solicitude from my last book?  All I know is days are ticking by and I can't seem to find a dang thing I want to read and it's pissing me off.

It's a reading slump indeed. 

So I, like many book bloggers, decided to create another remedy post for readers who need to get through a reading slump.  And if one method listed doesn't work, another one always will.  So let's go!


Hell, I’ve learned long ago how throwing away and getting rid of old junk kills some spectrum of my anxiety.  There’s this sort of alleviating transference I get from donating old clothes; alongside tossing pay stubs, art supplies, and old birthday cards into trash bags.  Seriously, when miscellany leaves happiness circulates within the soul.  

So one method that often helps me pull out of a reading slump is getting my shelves organized.  By “getting organized” I mean going to a shelf to pull unread titles off to compile what I haven‘t read and how long its been hanging around–and deciding what should hang around.  Something about pulling unread books off, piling them up, and actually looking at them helps get me centered.  It’s revisiting titles long acquired that at one point I was excited.  That is until time and other books caused my enthusiasm to slip by, before deciding what's next for said title.  And, naturally, the benefit is I find myself donating piles of unread and clutter-clogging books after a change in interests.

This method allows me to focus on the now.  Not the then and not the later.  We hate to admit it, but there is a level of anxiety and agitation we get from being book lovers who simply can't read and take every book with us throughout life.  Heck, I would even equate books to friendships: they have their seasons, chile.  And only the most trustworthy, loyal and respectful can stay.  Oh, and enriching.  Never keep something around that doesn't enrich your life.


I only read two books in September.  I was loaded down with throwing hours into play Shadow of the Tomb Raider upon its September 12th release.  And... I mean hours.  My reading got neglected so badly I finally had to command my anxiety not to give a crap and just, well, enjoy the game.  Sometimes you have to let yourself know that now is just not the moment for reading.  It’s the moment for other things.  And, hell, I’ve been playing Lara Croft since 1997, so it was back to her playground without guilt and shame for playing a video game instead of reading a damn book.  (Actually cringing at the thought.)

Anyway, still desperate to get back into my books, I decided to compile an October TBR based around themes surrounding the Tomb Raider series.  Mainly, I chose books that take on mythology, history, and female-led adventures–each pulled from my own bookshelves.  BOOM: I knew what was next on my list to read.  I was inspired.  So if you love gardening, creating a gardening-themed TBR.  If you like movies, build a movie-themed TBR.  If you love animals, create an animal-themed TBR.  You get the drift.  Allow life and your interests to inspire you to pull out of a reading slump with a reading TBR that expresses as much.


If you feel like you always have to have something to read, but are suffering through finding your next slumping-rescuing title, one way is to take on something short and sweet.  My suggestion is usually graphic novels.  They help tighten the void for me because, frankly, the mental work and application are cut in half.  You’re still reading.  You’re still digesting.  It just takes only so much work with brief bubbles of text and loads of imagines to make up the immersion of reading.  And I absolutely don't say that to sound pretension.  I have a bus load of Buffy, X-Men, and Sailor Moon manga as a value to graphic novels in and outside a reading slump.  So don't get salty if you take it the wrong way.

Nevertheless, short stories and novellas are extremely reading slump restorative as well.  Sometimes I’ll pick out the thinnest, smallest book(s) from a shelf and read that as a jolt.  And because I don’t use my Kindle at all (sniff-sniff), occasionally I'll string up a free or cheap Kindle Single to read.  Many of our current, favorited authors release snippets of side stories.  So they help.

On another note, some readers reread books.  That's a practice I wish I could take up more.  And some go the audiobook route.  There are options.  Whichever works will work.


If no unread book on your shelves is screaming for attention loud enough to tickle your bell, take your Amazon/Thriftbooks/Etc. Wishlist to the library.  I say that because often times my first impulse is to buy more books when the unread books I own aren't beckoning to me.  That, in more ways than one, exacerbates the reading slump struggle.  It generates more crap to deal with again later down the line of your bookship life.

So if you're like me in this neighborhood of frustrations, I wholly suggest making a solid list and using your public library to dibble-dabble toward getting yourself together.  It’s a cost-effective and innoxious way to keep your pockets in balance (except maybe not in regards to gas money) while exploring your unrealized reading selections.  With a Wishlist taken to the library, you weed out titles you thought you would want to read or enjoy, only to find yourself unable to do so for some disdainful reason.  The catch is you don't have to keep the book around nor feel guilty for buying it and not getting your money's worth out of it.  So I do this all the time.  I just go to the library and collect what I can that's available per my Wishlist (5 or less is generally my checkout limit).  

I cannot count how many books I've DNF'ED off my Wishlists doing so.  As well as books from my Wishlist I've found that resuscitated me from a reading slump just in a matter of safely finding the right book.  As recently as a few days ago I took two books off my Amazon Wishlist and ordered them.  Thirty minutes later I canceled the order, and searched for the books on my public library's database.  I found one (put the other on hold).  Picked it up.  Read the first page.  And DNF'ED that mug right then and there.  Zero F's given.  It had to be done, and now I can use that money to pay a bill or buy some groceries or something.  Or buy the Maxwell CD I keep putting off buying.

That was $27 saved.  Don't be stupid, girl.  Play the game, don't let it play you.


That’s right.  Don't read or pick up anything.  One method of pulling out of a reading slump is not to read at all.  And, sometimes, I just don’t.  I let the days whirl by and merely clamp down on my screaming, dying soul aching for some dead trees and ink to go from my hands and into the head.  Sometimes if you're just too indecisive and lack the motivation to even try, let the reading slump process roll.  Lay around binge watching American Horror Story.  Or, like me, some Real Housewives of Franchise.  Life is life.  We live.  We breathe.  We inspire.  We go on.

However, even with all that said, the problem I sometimes have with "letting the process roll" is that occasionally I find myself online filling carts with books for ordering.  That's where the discipline comes in.  It's all about the control, chile.  I've gotten so much better at filling a cart, giving myself a word or two of contemplative reasoning, and quickly exiting out.  The trouble is almost instantly whichever website I was on (ahem, BookOutlet) sends me an email letting me know I've abandoned my cart.

And that email is instantly deleted.

Anyway, I've enjoyed your company, but I'm done here.  I have a few more in mind as it pertains to the subject of reading slumps.  But maybe for another post on another day.  I'm ready to get back to coffee and books.  

As always, drop me a comment sharing your methods/strategies for killing a reading slump.  I would love to hear from you out there!

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