8 Ways to Recover From a Book Slump

I’m emerging – slowly – from that horrible affliction known to avid readers everywhere as …

The Book Slump.

You’ve probably been there, too, in some form or another.

It’s the reader’s version of an endless streak of gray, gloomy days in February. You have hundreds, if not (ahem) thousands of books on your “want-to-read” list, and yet nothing strikes your fancy. You may work in a library with a collection of five million items, yet you’re overwhelmed at the notion of choosing one book to read. Or, maybe you’re staring at an overflowing coffee table or nightstand with no less than your library’s maximum number of books that can be checked out and nothing is grabbing your attention.

Story of my life for the past few weeks and then some.

So, what can a reader do when The Book Slump strikes? Allow me to share some of my tried-and-true ways of getting unstuck, so you can be prepared next time you find yourself in the abyss.

1. Read a really, really short book. The shorter, the better. During my recent book slump, I read We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Acorn, by Yoko Ono. In less than an hour, my reading mojo was rejuvenated and I was powered up for something longer.

2. Find out if one of your favorite authors has a collection of short stories. (Hint: ask a librarian if you’re not sure.)

3. Switch genres. If fiction isn’t striking your fancy, try nonfiction. Or a graphic novel. Or romance. Or horror. Or ….

4. Switch formats.  Can’t seem to finish a print book? Try audio.

5. Read a magazine or a journal.

6. Ask for recommendations!  Here at the Library, we love to match readers up with the perfect book – or even a book that’s pretty darn good. It’s kind of what we do.

7. Take a break from reading. Watch a movie. Listen to some music. Go to a literary event.

8. Ask a friend for the name of a book s/he hasn’t read yet (but wants to) and read the book together. Then, meet for coffee or lunch to discuss it.

Have you ever experienced The Book Slump?  If so, what are some ways that helped you regain your love for reading? 

~ Melissa F., who is currently reading Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng and cannot put it down (so very good!)


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24 responses to “8 Ways to Recover From a Book Slump

  1. After reading a really, really good book, I sometimes experience a book slump. My cure is to read something light and frivolous when I can’t find anything I want to read.

  2. everydayhas

    I’m there. I probably haven’t finished a book in the last month. For me, it’s seasonal – I think I get this way in spring and fall. No worries, when we hit summer I think I’ll be ready again.

    I agree with Rose above except that’s more of a book afterglow :) sometimes I need 4-5 days after a good book before picking up another.

  3. Good ideas. I use 3 and 4 a lot. Sometimes I get on a streak where every book I start seems to bog down, then I try to find a book that is written by one of my favorite authors that sounds like a real fast paced thriller. That usually works for me. Well written books help too.

  4. I’m currently in need of a book that strikes certain emotional chords.
    Sometimes I’ll watch that one super sad movie in my collection if I’m sad and I need a good cry. Right now I’m feeling the same way about books. I need something cathartic, and I can’t find anything new that seems like it will fit the bill. I think I may re-visit an old favorite.
    (I don’t re-read books often, but sometimes the occasion calls for it. Like when I’m bored with the new ones.)
    (Ps. all of that was supposed to be my own solution to the book slump problem.)

    • Some of us were talking about starting a new reading group called “The Crybaby Book Club,” devoted exclusively to books that made us melt down. “The Fault in Our Stars” would have to be on there, of course. I can’t remember the last adult book that made me cry, but all the YA I read seems to send me into puddles of goo…

      Leigh Anne

  5. I just got over a book slump myself by riding it out for a few weeks. I didn’t force it, but now I’d love to read something really immersive and enjoyable.

  6. Jayne Marlowe

    Reblogged this on Jayne Marlowe and commented:
    So many books, so little time…the mind boggles and then melts from “Choice Overload.”

  7. themonkseal

    Reblogged this on themonkseal.

  8. themonkseal

    it happens to me when I have read a really beautiful book and cannot get it out of my head, and thus cannot start reading anything else. In such a scenario, I paint my ideas about the book, it partly clears my mind, so I can start reading again.

  9. Book slumps are the worst. Most of mine are due to school work. Sometimes I miss reading books that I actually WANT to read.

  10. dreamamongstars

    Reblogged this on FMPL Teen Page.

  11. Kristin

    I am trying to get out of a book slump. I was doing fine reading books in January with a total of six or seven books read. Than cause of the fact that I live in Massachusetts starting in late January and all through February. I was clearing snow from my driveway almost everyday. Also doesn’t help that this month and last month I have had to battle with both the flu twice and a cold. I think I am starting to come out of the slump because I have been feeling better and have finished two books so far.

  12. Reblogged this on moscripts and commented:
    Insightful read.

  13. All very good suggestions. As a librarian I appreciate this!

  14. All good suggestions, will save this post for later!

  15. The worst thing has to be when you’ve discovered an amazing book, one that you can’t put down and you read it in about two days. And when you’re just finishing those last few pages, you realise, every book you now read for the next month or so will not compare to the one you’ve just read, major anti-climax!

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