How Do You Break A Reading Slump?

I’m generally always reading a book. Maybe I go two or three days between books, not much more than that. And I read fast. I inhale books. But in the past week or so, I’ve been reading less and less. I’m reading Embassytown by China Mieville right now, and it’s really good in a hard sci-fi kind of way, which I often love. But I’m listening to music on my commute and watching TV at home. These reading slumps hit me every once in a while. I had a very bad one last winter which I broke by reading The Lord Of The Rings again.

I’m going to stick it out with Embassytown – it is good, after all –  and up next is the Art of Fielding. I hope that does it. If it doesn’t, I may have to return to Stephen King…

Do you ever get caught in a reading slump? Got any tricks on breaking them for me? I could use ‘em…

10 Responses to How Do You Break A Reading Slump?

  1. C. says:

    I plow through a few really trashy books, calling it ‘research’.

    It’s such a pain when a book is really, genuinely good, but you just can’t make a personal connection with it. (I guess that’s the story of an agent’s life.) I actually feel that way about Mieville in general, which pains me. I want to love those books.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Sure. Happens to me sometimes. When it does, I do one of two things. First, I read something outside of my comfort zone. Something I wouldn’t normally pick up. I’ve discovered a lot of new (well, new to me) authors that way.

    If that doesn’t work, I stop reading for a couple of days. I figure my brain is telling me it needs a break. During that down time, I do something else creative. For me, that’s baking or drawing. Sometimes it’s as simple as playing with my kids. When I return to reading, it’s just as magical as it always was.

    Bottom line, don’t worry. You’ll get out of your slump. After all, your a book lover. That’s not something that just goes away.

  3. Thomas Wolf says:

    I think you’ll like THE ART OF FIELDING, so I’m guessing you’re going to break the slump–and what better way to break a slump than to read a book about baseball?

    When I’m in a reading slump, I ususally go back to old favorites–Alice Munro, Ward Just, Stuart Dybek, Tobias Wolff, or David Halberstam–or I’ll reread a favorite short story, like Denis Johnson’s “Train Dreams” or anything by Edward P. Jones. Or I’ll read a section of a favorite book–a chapter from SEABISCUIT or THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN.

    Right now I’m reading HEMINGWAY’S BOAT by Paul Hendrickson. If THE ART OF FIELDING doesn’t grab you, I’d recommend Hendrickson’s book, even if you don’t like Hemingway, and even if you don’t like boats.

  4. Stephanie Scott says:

    If I do, I switch books. Or I use the free time for video games. When I get to a point where I’m either so frustrated at a level I can’t beat etc, then I know it’s time to put the controller down and get back to reading.

  5. RamseyH says:

    Hang in there with Embassytown – it was a slow starter for me but became more and more rewarding as I continued. Not that it’s going to suddenly take off on you – it’s not that sort of book. More like a slow burn.

    My reading slump is called “writing.” And my writing slump is called “reading.” Handy, that.

  6. Rachael says:

    Oh goodness, yes! I went through a terrible slump earlier this year. I was way overloaded with work and all my creative pursuits took a backseat. It was quite a depressing time. Time opened up this fall and now I’ve been reading on average a book a week. I’ve returned to my creative writing projects as well, so all seems right with the world. I will not make this mistake again!

    I’m not a huge fan of audiobooks, but it is a nice way to slowly move through a book while I walk my dog in the mornings. I got an e-reader this summer and I give it a lot of credit for breaking my slump. It’s so portable, and I like how it syncs with my phone so if I find myself with a couple of extra minutes, I can read a few pages on my phone.

  7. Writing slumps are a little more common for writer-types, I believe (since they require active creativity and skill and dedication), but reading slumps happen, too. Usually I will work through a backlog of short articles and stories, since those don’t require as much time, or read something ridiculous and completely un-“literary”. It keeps me reading while letting my brain rest a bit between 500+ page novels.

  8. ryan field says:

    Read a genre you normally wouldn’t read. There are some great YA crossovers, like Trapped, by Michael Northrope.

  9. Barb Riley says:

    I think you can just let it ride out. It’s probably a well-needed break. They say writers need to step away from material every so often, and do something different. For us, it may be reading something different, or working on a hobby for a while to give a break. I don’t think it’s any different for constant readers. I suggest you give yourself some time. I think it will be interesting to see what grabs your attention again after a reading break. :)

  10. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Is there any manner you’ll be able to take away me from that service? Thanks!

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