While reading is a huge love of mine, I do occasionally grow tired of it. Recently finishing my English degree, my 2016 has included a LOT of reading, and even now, a month after handing in that final assignment (a Fitzgerald/Wharton essay if you’re curious), I’m still feeling the side-effects of an extremely stressful past six months. While I don’t worry all that much when these occasional reading slumps occur, having one sprung on me when I decide to create a new book blog is a slight a huge inconvenience.
So what does one do when they encounter the dreaded reading slump? I have a few ideas for you (and me) to get motivated into reading again!
1. Organise your bookshelves
If you’re unmotivated or, like me, you’re just too burnt out to read, then I find organising my books to be a pretty fun and productive book-related activity. Rearrange your book shelves by colour or size, alphabetically by author or by title. It’s also a great way to clear some space for new books you’re bound to add to your shelf when your reading slump eventually ends. For me, I love to sort through my Goodreads shelves by removing book I know I will never read, as well as searching and adding new ones, creating new shelves, and discovering new books/authors/friends. Having your Goodreads more organised is, in my experience, very useful when it comes to finding a new book to read. It may also come in handy for your Goodreads friends when they experience the inevitable slump, to find new books using your A+ organised bookshelves.
2. Reread an old favourite, or try a completely new author and/or genre
While ‘rereading an old favourite’ is a tip that often pops up on these reading slump advice posts, I can say from my own experience that it really is a good tip. Although, I don’t read the entirety of my favourite novels. Instead, I tend to skim through books, just to relive the novel and to reread my favourite scenes and quotes. This is an activity that I can easily spend hours doing. It can be a really nostalgic experience to pick up a novel you read years ago and remember all the memories associated with that novel. So, rereading a novel gets a big thumbs up from me.
However, sometimes an old fave just doesn’t break the slump, and instead you have to switch it up. In some cases, a reading slump can be the perfect time for you to try a completely different author or genre, and I can say from experience that this tip may work for you! During a slump a couple years ago, I randomly picked up Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, and it was the first novel by Murakami (and even my first Japanese novel) that I had ever read. And I absolutely loved it. It sits on my Goodreads favourites list to this day, and it was a completely new and enthralling reading experience for me.
3. Try an audiobook
I think audiobooks are a great way of overcoming reading slumps. They’re great to listen to while you’re out and about shopping, driving, writing (I actually listened to many audiobooks while I wrote uni assignments) and they may also be beneficial for someone who is simply tired of reading. I’m listening to Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines while I’m writing this and it’s pretty entertaining (the male narrator’s voice is beyond swoon-worthy).
4. Social media and blogging!
Social media is a great way both of taking a break from reading, and to explore new potential novels. I like Tumblr and Instagram especially when searching for new novels as I like to see the large variation of books from the avid readers I follow. The people I follow online tend to have similar tastes in books to myself, and so seeing what novels they are into usually helps me in finding new novels within a genre I am familiar with. Another fun thing to do is to discover or even create your own book-related playlists on 8tracks or Spotify. From my experience, listening to playlists based on a book can get your super motivated to read said book.
5. Browse the bookstores
If I’m honest, I rarely buy my books from a ‘proper’ bookstore these days (I’m on a student budget and it kills me!). But one thing I do love doing is to go window shopping at my local Waterstones. I’m one of those people who cannot resist popping into the store for a quick browse, and most of the time I come away with potential new titles to read. When a novel does pique my interest, I like to use the barcode scanner on the Goodreads app, so I can then add the book onto my to-read shelf lest I forget. The scanner feature is super useful! Also, second-hand stores are a great way to discover new titles and to give old books a new home. I came across Sarah Water’s Tipping the Velvet for 50p last week! I was super chuffed with my discovery.
6. Buy bookish merch
Instead of treating yourself to new novels, you could buy some new book-related items. Online stores such as Etsy and Society6 have a large selection of bookish items for you to choose from, such as mugs, posters, bookmarks, and even jewellery. After completing The Infernal Devices series in 2013, I was in a MAJOR reading slump (I was literally grieving the end of that series) and I treated my sad-and-pathetic self to a Tessa Gray clockwork angel necklace from Etsy. It was quite pricey but I absolutely love it. Also, sites such as these support artists who are bookworms like us, and I think that’s fantastic. Extra tip: Instagram is a great way of searching for book merch. I’m always finding amazing items on there. Curse my student debts!
7. If all else fails, kick back and relax
If nothing seems to be working, use the time to take a break from all things bookish. You could use the free time to take up a new hobby, do those pesky chores you’ve been avoiding, spend more time with loved ones, do something spontaneous! Take care of yourself and try not to stress too much over your reading slump – remember, it’s temporary, and you’ll be reading again soon enough.
Overall, I hope somebody out there finds these tips to be beneficial. What do you guys do during a reading slump? I’d love to hear some ideas!