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!