The No-Good Reading Slump: How To Get Out Of One

Reading Slumps (2)

I’m pretty sure we all have been a victim of the slump in some form or another. I’m also sure it needs no explanation — we all know what it is. But, just in case, it’s a terrible, horrible, no-good, depressing period of time that books are not in our interests. GASP! (At least, that’s my explanation because they are just terrible.)

I am currently in one of these horrible slumps. I haven’t read a book in over two weeks. And even before that, it took me two weeks to finish one book. I have no idea what I want to read when I look at my shelves & every time I pick up a book I’m bored within 10 pages. I’m not even paying attention to new releases (there’s a book I’ve anticipated for a year that just came out and I totally forgot!). So, today, I wanted to have a chat about methods to get out of these, why they don’t work for me and the one method I definitely recommend.

Two types of slumps (for me)

Slump #1: The “fuck off, books” slump — Basically, I just don’t want to read. I want to do everything else BESIDES read. They hit suddenly, cruelly, and make me despise everything about books. Ok…maybe not that harsh, but I just don’t have any desire to read during these slumps.

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Slump #2: The “I want to read, but my brain is telling me I don’t want to read & it’s super confusing” slump — This one is when I actually do want to read, but nothing is holding my attention or I’m so indecisive/overwhelmed by my TBR that I give up all hope on ever choosing a book to read.

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How to overcome these dreadful beasts

Over the past week, I’ve asked for advice on how to overcome slumps. While I’ve gotten some great words of wisdom, these methods just don’t usually work for me. To each his own and all. But, here are some methods others have said work:

The reread method — Simple: reread a favorite. It seems that most people do this when they get into a slump. It doesn’t work for me because I just can’t reread a book. Anytime I try, I just remember everything that happens in the book and get bored — maybe I’m not rereading the right books, though. It seems like everyone says to reread a favorite, I just don’t know what book would be favorite enough to reread. See my dilemma? But, hey, it works for a ton of you!

The comic book method read a damn comic book. This, to me, would only work if you have a good amount of completed comic book series that you haven’t read and actually want to read. For example, I have the first comic book of the new Tomb Raider series that I do want to read, but what good does it do to read 1 25-page scene without the others? It just makes me angry to have to wait for the next one.

The favorite genre method — this one actually does work for me 9 times out of 10. Basically, just read a book from your absolute favorite genre or a genre you know will be an easy/light read. For me, I pick contemporary because they’re usually light, fluffy and keep me interested.

It just so happens this is the one time that this method is not working for me. So, what is my recommended method when encountering a slump that seems like it will last forever?

Embrace the beast

I think it’s okay to simply embrace the slump. Sure, it kind of sucks because we all love books and the storytelling, but sometimes, you just have to embrace it. My theory is that if I ever force myself to read a book, I will dislike the book more than I would have if I read it for pleasure. At least, that’s what happens to me. (Hence, why I suck at review copies: tell me to read something, and I don’t want to read it)

More than just embracing the slump I look for other forms of storytelling because what I ultimately want is a bit of fiction — a fantastical escape. So, when I’m in one of these impossible-to-escape slumps, I:

  • Binge watch a show I’ve put off
  • Start a new show that has interested me, but I never got around to it
  • Play video games (find a good, open-world one & you’ll be lost in the story for hours, or days, or months, and you’ll soon forget there is an outside world. just sayin’)
  • Movie marathons (usually fantasy)
  • For when I don’t want a fictional story, I’ll watch documentaries or docu-series

What this does for me is reminds me why I love storytelling, just in a different form. Eventually, I find my way back to books when a certain game or movie reminds me of another book I want to read, or I’ve just had my fill of screen time and want a novel again.

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And that’s when everything is all right with the world again.


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

Do you have different kinds of slumps like I do?

  • Yes I think there are definitely multiple types of reading slumps, I also have one that’s basically the review copy reading slump, where I accept too many review copies and can’t mood read as I want to and eventually get into a slump because of that. But usually it’s one of the types you describe here where either I don’t feel like reading at all or I just don’t know what I want to read.

    Another advice for getting out of a reading slump besides the ones you listed here would be to read a new to you genre. Sometimes that can help you get out of a slump as it’s so different form what you normally read, probably similar to reading a comic book or a graphic novel or maybe even non fiction. For me it usually work to pick up a book I really want to read, but for some reason didn’t allow myself to read or read a book by an author I already know. I don’t do re-reads often, but I do think they can be great when you hit a slump.

    And when you don’t feel like reading doing other story telling things instead like games or watching a series often works for me. A while ago we had a week where we watched a series every evening and I read very little, but it did prevent me form hitting a slump. I hope you’ll get out of your slump soon!

    • Oh, that’s a good idea (the new genre thing)! I’ve tried reading classics when I’m in a slump — which looking back, was probably not the best idea hahah But maybe I’ll have to give that a try sometime! 😀 It’s funny because I’ve been really wanting to read a non-fiction during this slump (which I have never read, really). I really should try it.

      Yeah, watching a good show usually helps me. But, like, binge-watching it haha I can’t just watch one episode. Also, I think it may have ended! I finally read two books this week lol

    • I think I’m in one of those review copy slumps right now, Lola. I have like 20 unread books, but this week I said “screw it” and decided to finish the Gardella Vampire Hunter series instead lol.

  • I fully support the ‘reading a comic book’ to get out of a reading slump. When I was binge reading “The Selection” series (before I gave up) I felt like I was fighting an uphill battle so I took a break and read Saga. Then I just DNFed the series since I clearly wasn’t enjoying it and the slump was over.

    But I think often it’s just good to accept it and not feel guilty for not reading or missing a review blog post etc. And then come back when you’re ready. Hopefully your slump doesn’t last too much longer!

    • It did work when I did a readathon but I don’t have enough completed series to make it work at the moment 🙁

      Usually I get so upset about not providing reviews, but this time I just accepted it. HOWEVER, I did just read TWO books in 3 days. SO YAY! I’m actually in a reading mood now. I think it took writing about my slump to get me out of it xD

  • Sometimes I alternate between audiobooks, eBooks and physical books for just thiss reason – I get tired of one medium, but another one does it for me. Also not reading works for me too.

    Tanya Patrice

    • Ah, I switch sometimes too! I forgot about that one xD I like to go to ebooks sometimes because I read them faster than physical.

  • Brilliant post, Molly! My non-existent attention span means I’m always getting into mini reading slumps. The longest one was my almost 2 year one where I thought I was done with reading for good. Fortunately, Illuminae saved the day.

    I 100% use the comic method. That normally works for me every single time. Even during my “Great Reading Slump” I was still able to read comics, thank god, haha. I also read multiple books at once which I know isn’t for everyone, but I definitely need a variety or I start losing focus. If I think I’m heading towards a slump I’ll normally try and read something fast paced.

    • Oh wow, 2 years! Personally, I wasn’t a HUGE reader until about 2 years ago so I used to only read a few books a year. Now, if I were to do that, I would consider it the worst slump I’ve ever been in lol

      I read multiple books at a time as well. I’m currently reading 2 & listening to one audiobook. They’re all different genres so it helps. If I find I’m not in the mood that day for one book, I pick up the other. It’s really helpful.

      • Haha, I know! I’ve been an avid reader my entire life so it was so strange, but then in a way I think the break also helped because I’ve definitely fallen in love with reading all over again. The worst part is being so behind and trying to catch up with all the books that are out, haha.

        Yes! I tend to do that sometimes too.

        • OMG YES, I ALWAYS feel behind with all of these great books/series that are out. Like the Throne of Glass series, I’ve read the first one but there are SO MANY xD

  • I’m suffering from a semi book slump currently, like I have to remind myself to read it’s weird. But I currently have eARCs stacked up and I can feel them breathing down my neck. Haha

    • hahah me too xD I’m currently reading a book my husband just finished so we can chat about it. The other day while he was at work he text me “how are you liking it so far?” & I hadn’t done any reading — he literally reminded me to read xD haha whoops!

  • I just kinda force myself to keep reading? I don’t know, it works for me lol. But I guess I haven’t had any really bad slumps in the past couple years. I do think that re-reading and reading comics are good suggestions, though I understand that they don’t work for everyone. Except you’ve got to get an actual graphic novel volume, not just a single comic issue, so that you get like 120-something pages because yeah, 20 pages would just be frustrating. I find those do work really well when I just don’t know what to read or am not feeling books all that much since they don’t have a ton of writing and have lots of pretty pictures.

    It’s funny though, I’m not a big movie person and not much of a TV person either, so that just doesn’t do it for me. However I do play The Sims which is maybe not exactly the type of video game you were talking about? But I get what you’re saying about that because it does let me get lost in whatever story I create for a while. And I do always have some sort of elaborate backstory and whatnot in my head for each sim. But actually I’ve been in a Sims slump lately since I haven’t been able to get into any of the games I’ve started. I need a post with advice for that, haha. (Actually no I don’t, it’s probably good that I haven’t been spending my time playing.)

    • Ah, I can’t force myself at all. I just get mad haha xD I agree that you need a graphic novel to actually make the method work! Because, yeah, I tried reading Scarlet Witch but I only have the first 4 which isn’t enough. The only graphic novels I have are the first 3 volumes of The Walking Dead & a TON of Marvel (because of my husband) but I don’t even know where to start with those lol

      I play The Sims too! I started playing it again last week. I forgot how fun it was! But, hey, whatever video game works! I just like getting lost in the customization/free roam of open-world games, which can also happen with The Sims in it’s own way. I get a slump with The Sims, though. Most of the time I create a character, build the house then play for an hour, get over it & start all over with a new character xD haha

  • When I’m in a reading slump… I don’t read anything. At all. Maybe some fanfictions or comics but I won’t read any books 😀 I also think watching tv shows/movies really works!

    • Watching shows & movies helps for me! & it’s semi-productive because I love both but fall behind sometimes. So, slumps mean I get to catch up on my favorite shows haha

  • Ugh, the dreaded reading slump. I’m actually experiencing the opposite right now – I’ve been in a reading frenzy for the last several weeks. But, ridiculously, it makes me nervous because I feel like this can only last so long and then *crash* – enter reading slump. Usually my slumps are of the I WANT to read but my brain won’t cooperate variety. Hate that! When that happens I tend to just lay off for a few days or a week and give myself a break. I never try to force it. I do blog stuff, write reviews that have been stacking up, visit other blogs and comment like crazy, nap… LOL Thankfully they never seem to last long.

    • I understand that! I think that’s happened to me before… So, crossing my fingers that doesn’t happen to you! I’ve been commenting like crazy lately xD haha It’s a nice distraction from …not reading? lol

  • This is a really great post! I have so many books that I should be reviewing that, like you, it’s making me more reluctant to read them. That being said, the amount of series I’ve been watching this last week, I’m hoping it will send me back to books before too long!

    Really interesting to read the other options for getting out of a reading slump, and sort of refreshing with the whole “Oh well, just get on with it” attitude rather than having to fight it. Love it!

    • It gets a little exhausting with review copies, huh? I probably should stop accepting them until I catch up xD

      Also, it took me a while to be “okay” with being in a slump. I used to always freak out because I’d have no reviews, but now I just accept it lol

  • I understand the feeling! Sometimes I go to a New Adult book and read that to get me out of slump. Other times, I pick up a comic book and just read that. If none of those work, I just binge watch a show until I get that need to read again.

    I tend to switch my reading habits like if nothing is catching my eye then maybe I start listening to a book instead and usually that helps. What I have found is going to the library and just browsing every section and picking up random books that sounds good really helps me with my slump.

    • You know, for some reason I didn’t even think of audiobooks when I wrote this! I do that sometimes too! I’m currently listening to A Storm of Swords on audiobook (currently, as in for the past 2 months lol). But I go to that when I’m in no mood to read a book. Thanks for the reminder!

  • I definitely agree there are different types of slumps! I’m currently in a type 2 slump – it just sort of sprung out of nowhere whilst I was reading Harry Potter and I think that’s also made it slightly difficult to get through because I love Harry Potter ?! I’m going with the embracing method for the moment and just doing everything but reading, hopefully it clears soon!

    • haha mine kind of do that too – spring out of nowhere. It usually has nothing to do with the books I’m reading, I just don’t read? Weird slumps lol

  • Oh there are definitely different slump types, no question! I seem to mostly find myself in your #2 type, and then this other type where I am apathetic toward everything I read, which in turn makes me not want to keep reading. AND makes me afraid of picking up an anticipated book (so, all of them haha) because I am afraid to be apathetic- like, is it me, or is it the books I’ve been reading? Hard to tell while slumping!

    One weird slump I did have- while I was pregnant with my daughter, I could NOT read. At all. Just the thought of it made me cringe. I read ZERO books during my pregnancy with her- and for about 4 months after. It was WEIRD. I had no problems while I was pregnant with my son- in fact, I started my blog the day before he was born ? Go figure. Both kids, incidentally, love books. So I guess it didn’t make a difference!

    As for getting through slumps? I power through. It’s the only way for me. I tried NOT going on, but then I just cannot EVER get out of them, whereas when I power through, I usually will end up being okay (even though some of the slumps can go on for awhile!) and then in hindsight I can reassess the books to see if I should give it another shot. I read Six of Crows during a slump, and then looking back, I realized that it was a “me” problem, NOT a book problem!

    Great post!

    • I totally get what you mean by feeling apathetic towards books. I definitely get like that sometimes. It usually takes a REALLY good contemporary to get me out haha

      Also, that’s really weird! Pregnancy moods…haven’t had them, but I could imagine xD

      If I power through I usually just get deeper into the slump because I hate feeling forced to read. It is interesting how we’re all so different with reading!

  • Ooh I LOVE this post! I’m pretty sure I’m in a slump right now because I’ve been DNFing books a lot lately and I hate it. T_T Since there’s school, I’ll make sure to spend some time rereading books I loved there, and hopefully I’ll get rid of this mean beast. Great post as always, Molly!

    • ah! I hope you get out of it soon! I seriously hate slumps ugh

  • OOOHH EXACTLY! When I get into a slump, I usually binge the hell out of whatever TV series I have downloaded or watch a movie or five, until I miss the feeling of reading a book haha! Amazing post, Molly!

    • hahah right? Movies and TV are a great way to get out of slumps to me. Just watch 10 seasons of something or 6 movies and you’re good xD