There are times, when simply nothing on the shelf is good enough, everything is meh, and no book is appealing. Each time you cast your eyes on your reading pile or your kindle home screen, you just want to curl up and pretend they don’t exist. The future is bleak, and you just sit there staring into the void, contemplating the hollowness of life without books.
We’ve all been there. While the reading slump might be scary (OMG, am I not a bookworm anymore? If I’m no longer a reader, who am I?) and annoying (WTF? I just spent a shit ton of money on new books and they are all crap!), it is not terminal.
Here are just a few tips to get over the disease plaguing bookworms around the world from time to time.
#1 Stop reading
Sounds counterproductive, but sometimes the only cure is full abstinence. Don’t set a deadline (I need to be back to enjoying books again in a week, or else… ) , and don’t feel bad. Those books aren’t going anywhere. Reading should be a fun way to escape reality, entertainment, not a form of torture.
#2 Try a new genre
Your favourite genre doesn’t fascinate you anymore, and you just simply can’t bear the thought of slugging through yet another murder mystery, or thriller, or whatever it is you loved reading so much, you name it.
It’s time to try something new!
You always wanted to read horror, but were too scared? Fantasy sounds good, but found them intimidating because they are thicker than your waist? Ask around, check out Goodreads: there are many horror books that are not particularly gory or terror inducing, and you will find that not all fantasy books are brick sized. You could even borrow the books from your local library, so you won’t even have to feel bad for spending money on them in case they are really not up your alley.
Sometimes picking up stuff you are not familiar with can help you see other stories from your well know genre in a different light.
#3 Get out… just leave
It’s nice to cosy up at home with hot drinks, blankies, candles, mood lights, and good book, but it’s possible that it got to the point where it’s rather overwhelming. Being buried under a pile of books just lost its charm, and it’s fine, chill.
Get outside, take a walk, go on a hike or just pop in to the local coffee shop with your bestie. Even if you are an introvert and don’t like being surrounded by people, you can still enjoy a coffee in a quiet café by yourself and do some people watching.
I used to take my colouring books to my favourite place and just did some artsy stuff for a few hours. You need to choose your spot carefully and strategically though, or else you risk being noticed by curious passers-by who feel compelled to make comments like “Oh, that’s beautiful! I heard colouring is very relaxing… Is it really?” Well, lady, it was… until now.
#4 Watch a movie adaptation of a book
There’s nothing that makes me scurry back faster to the bookshelves than a shitty adaptation of a beloved book. Go, pick up that book, read the shit out of it, and let that smug expression spread on your face, because we all know: the book was better.
#5 Binge watch TV series
Many of my reading rampages were inspired by Netflix series. Black mirror made me crave dystopia, Riverdale piqued my interest for small town mysteries and The Killing (Forbrydelsen) induced a serious case of nordic noir frenzy. Right now I’m watching Godless, and of course feel a desire to pick up some gritty western to read. Damn straight!
If you end up spending weeks watching series and not reading at all, well… So be it! Have fun!
#6 Take up a new hobby
You always wanted to cook that moussaka, coq a vin, potjiekos and other unpronounceable stuff, or make gnocchi from scratch at home, but didn’t want to sacrifice four hours of precious reading time? Your time to shine is now!
Even if you don’t feel like setting foot into culinary territories, there are plenty of things to try. How about knitting or crocheting? Soap making or pottery? Maybe you need to let your creative juices flow. Paint, colour, draw, write, or sing for your cat. If you don’t have a cat, borrow one from your neighbour. There’s nothing like trying to pick cat hair from your bed sheets to make you wish you were reading instead (or, you know… burn your sheets on a bonfire, but that’s another story), even if previously that was the last thing you wanted to do…
How about a new sport activity? Zumba, weight lifting, yoga, cycling, rock climbing are just a few ways to get your body physically tired, and you never know…
After slithering onto your bed, muscles feeling like jelly, you might find yourself reaching for a book to take your mind off the pain.
#7 Read old favourites again
You know it’s good. You know you love it. You know you will have fun with it. Rereading an old favourite could be a great way to get that reading spark going again. You might not realise how much you actually forgot about the story, and it’s great to rediscover something nice.
You might gasp in horror, because let’s face it: every time we reread something, a new book doesn’t get to be read. Meanwhile, your list of books to be read just somehow keeps mysteriously increasing. Strange… So what? Do you have a deadline? I mean… do you really?
What are your tips on getting over a reading slump? Are you in one right now? Want to talk about it?
Disclaimer: I’m not in a reading slump right now, haven’t really been in one for over six months, but these things used to help me get over them in the past. They might not work for you, but there’s no harm in trying, is there?