[Bloggers in the Attic] Teatime: Reading Slumps

Bloggers in the Attic is back again! This month we’re bringing you different takes on reading slumps: possible causes, ways to deal, personal experiences, et cetera.

Others in the chain (linked below, make sure to check their posts out!) have extensively discussed possible causes and solutions for reading slumps, so instead of repeating their points I found myself grappling with the very concept of the reading slump.

The Bloggers in the attic is a discussion chain. And what is a discussion chain? Well, it’s pretty simple.
Me and [SEVERAL] other bloggers united together to discuss a common topic and sharing our unique perspective. Camilla @ Reader in the Attic created the initiative with the wish to create a discussion space that could explore a normal topic for different parts of the world.
The rules to participate are pretty simple. So, if you ever wish to take part in future discussions, just contact camilla. Topics will be discussed bi-monthly, so the next round will be up in august. There’s plenty of time to join in, but the best option is always to enter early.

This Month’s Discussion Chain (click to show)

June 2 – Sam @ Fictionally Sam [intro post]
June 4 – Lauren @ Northern Plunder
June 6 – Ben @ Books With Ben
June 9 – Anthony @ Keep Reading Forward
June 11 – Sagey @ Sage Shelves
June 13 – Camillea @ Camillea Reads
June 16 – Kal @ Reader Voracious
June 18 – Rain @ Bookdragonism
June 20 – Lara @ Naija Book Bae
June 24 – Isabelle @ BookwyrmBites
June 27 – Dany @ Ambivert Words

What qualifies as a reading slump?

When this month’s discussion topic was finalized, my first thought was actually that I’m not sure whether I’ve experienced a legitimate reading slump. I’ve heard my friends talk about being totally unable to get immersed in a book, or to find a book that they’re interested in starting, or to even make themselves pick up a book. Fellow bloggers vent about lacking motivation to continue scaling Mt. TBR. Goodreads updates lament a string of DNFs. 

And honestly? I can’t quite relate.

Of course I’ve had times when I’m not really feeling a book (which always leads to the question of whether the problem is that the book isn’t for me, or I’m just not in the right mood for any book), but they tend to be relatively short periods, at most maybe a week, and usually resolve without active effort from me. (This isn’t meant as a weird flex or to rub it in, I swear, it’s just my personal experience.)

That said, I’ve found that I’m definitely susceptible to the book hangover. One could even argue that it’s a form of reading slump since the symptoms are similar; it’s just that you can trace it back to its cause, namely a specific book or series. Still, switching genres or rereading a favorite book / series that I haven’t touched in a while — those tried-and-true tactics for slumps — has been a pretty reliable quick fix for me.

Maybe I just don’t experience reading, and by extension reading slumps, like most people? Being on the autism spectrum, I already know I don’t experience emotions like most people, so it’s not inconceivable. (Upon pre-publishing reread, I realized that this phrasing could be ambiguous — I want to clarify that I meant I experience emotions differently from others, not that I don’t experience emotions at all.)

 

Reframing the problem

I’m not trying to dismiss reading slumps, any more than I would dismiss writer’s block (which I definitely do experience) or mental illness; if I’ve ever expressed sympathy or condolences regarding your reading slump, it was genuine. That said, based on my own experience I have to wonder whether “reading slump” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Y’know, you tell yourself that it’s a slump, which means you aren’t interested in reading, so when you pick up a book … would you look at that, you just aren’t interested.

Which doesn’t solve the problem immediately, of course. But I’m intrigued by the idea: if you genuinely manage to convince yourself that you aren’t experiencing a reading slump, you just haven’t yet found a book that interests you at the moment, then would it pass more rapidly? Would it prevent future cases? 

Or maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about, and reading slumps just have to run their course. Who knows.

                            

“Slump, slump, go / stay away”

Pragmatically speaking, I might as well tell you not to think about a purple elephant as to simply choose to believe this isn’t a reading slump. Also, you just lost The Game. And saying to just ignore the reading slump feels kind of like telling someone with depression to “just think positive,” so I won’t say that either.

I’m aware of that (alleged) Einstein quote about doing the same thing over and over expecting different results, but for me the most effective tactic is typically to just persevere until I find something that I can get invested in reading. Sometimes I’ll DNF or pause quite a few books in a row — though I DNF quite a lot to begin with — but I can’t recall a time I wasn’t able to get back into the flow of it.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t take a break from books if you need to, but I personally have trouble getting back into the habit of reading if I deliberately put it on pause. I might spend the rest of the day rewatching Always Be My Maybe or getting ahead on homework instead of reading, but that’s something I occasionally do anyway.

So perhaps it’s just as individualized an experience as reading itself. We already know that different tactics work for different people at different times of their life, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have more, rather than fewer, options to try out when your go-to isn’t working like you hoped. Knowledge is power and all that.

At the end of the day, it seems to me that this whole argument that I’ve been having with myself is kind of a moot point. Sometimes you just don’t feel like reading, and that’s that.

Again, none of this is meant to invalidate anyone’s feelings of being in a reading slump, or to suggest that it’s your own fault, or anything like that. It’s just me experimenting with a stream-of-consciousness discussion post and throwing ideas at the wall (screen) to see if anything actually sticks.

But hopefully this all made sense and y’all could still get something out of it. I’d love to hear about your experience(s) with and/or thoughts on reading slumps, and any tricks you use to avoid or prevent them!

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18 thoughts on “[Bloggers in the Attic] Teatime: Reading Slumps

  1. Ohhhh, I like your thought process! Especially with the bit about being autistic and how that could affect reading/reading slumps.

    I’m finding myself in a bit of a slump right now, actually, but thinking about it, idk if it would be considered a slump. I’m taking interest in more hobbies outside of reading, which means taking time away from it, and when I do have time, I feel like I don’t want to. Is that a slump, or is that just me being more interested in my new-found hobbies? I don’t know, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree! It’s tricky. I think a good definition could be where you want to read, but nothing seems to be catching your attention no matter what you do; and this ends up happening for an extended period of time. Maybe? Idk, lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t (fortunately) been in a slump for a very long time. I used to have a huge “slump” few years ago, when i just couldn’t finish a book – it was a year and i just couldn’t get to finish a book. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is so interesting to see the different things people face.
    With me, I have book slumps occasionally but like yours, they are often just book hangovers.
    It is all a very psychological thing for me and is related to stress about school and not having enough time to pick up a book and read. They usually get resolved as soon as I decide to sit down and give all my focus and attention to a book but yeah – it often results in quite a few DNFs in the time period.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. this was such a great post! i do remember falling into reading slumps in the past, but i haven’t experienced one in a loooong time and I’m really proud of myself for that! honestly, i kind of agree with your points in this post because I’ve honestly forgotten what a reading slump feels like. and i definitely agree with what you’re trying to get at that if we think that we’re in a reading slump and that we’re not in the mood to read, then we’re automatically gonna dismiss all the books we try to read. i think that’s the same with my 5-star crisis this year. i haven’t found anything that i’ve fallen absolutely in love with yet this year, and i feel like what may be hindering me from doing that is because i believe that i am having a 5-star crisis.

    oof i feel like this comment didn’t make sense at all, but just know that I loved seeing you analyze reading slumps in this posts, and the points you mentioned were so well thought-out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. aw thank you Caitlin! your comment definitely does make sense; my mom used to warn me about preemptively “labeling” myself or my state of mind because it could become self-fulfilling, whereas if you keep an open mind you’re more likely to be pleasantly surprised. I’m still not entirely sure whether I agree with her or under what conditions, but in any case I hope you find a 5-star read soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have been lucky to only have a couple of reading slumps, but, I’ve always needed them on some level, so I just kinda deal with it as they hit me. However I always find the best way to avoid one is when I feel overwhelmed just to take a step back, do a fun reread, or even go read some manga to give me something different. I like your take on slumps and I’m glad you haven’t really had any aside from book hangovers which are just nature of saying you need to pause and reflect on the book lolol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks haley! everyone talks about rereading and/or switching genre as a cure for slumps, but now that you mention it, I also do them even before I feel like I’m really in a slump – which could definitely be part of why I can’t really remember being in the depths of a slump 🤔 and yup, book hangovers seem to be inevitable but taking a short break every now and then is supposed to be good for you … or something like that, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s fair enough if you can’t relate! I can relate more to book hangovers! I have those. And sometimes I am not in the mood to read much, but I don’t call that a slump. It’s not that I don’t enjoy what I am reading or lack the motivation, it’s just that I am more motivated to work on my other hobbies. I more so just call that a break when it happens as I shift my focus elsewhere 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Slumps and book hangovers are similar for sure xD I’ve experienced reading slumps over the years though my most recent one was the worst. As you know it started in August 2018 and I’m hoping I kicked its ass last month since I read 7 books. (that should count as kicking its ass right?) For me a slump usually occurs when something has shifted in terms of how I’m thinking about things, for instance several things which didn’t help my slump were: thinking I HAD to review the books I read, feeling pressure to write a review as soon as I read the book because I don’t take notes as it takes away from my enjoyment…as well as me actually saying to myself that reading is a waste of time because what if I don’t like the book. That last one though stems from some passing comments I’ve had made about me reading and apparently, it wormed its way into my brain.

    As for how I broke my slump…reading is an escape for me and right now there’s a few things that are worrying me that I just want to escape from. So I’m pretty sure I can trace back to the reason my slump began and my lack of motivation through to how come I suddenly read 7 books. However as you said, we all experience slumps differently and for some people they don’t experience them at all. It’s all valid and I loved this post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mindset rather than just emotion is a different way of thinking about slumps for sure, and the way you put it makes tons of sense. (also yes you definitely kicked that slump’s ass!) I can definitely relate to the pressure to write reviews, I tend to forget to take notes even if I meant to (such as for a blog tour review where I want to be detailed) and it’s a struggle to review the book if I don’t do it within a few hours 😕

      thanks for sharing your experience, Clo!

      Liked by 1 person

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