This has not been my best reading year. I’ve read around 20 books this year, when last year, I was approaching over 50 at this point. I’m not sure if COVID has just ruined my reading habits, but this has literally been the biggest slump of my life. Now I have heard that other people are facing this as well, so I’m hoping to share a couple tips I have that I’ve found really helpful! They’ve certainly helped me get over slumps in the past, and I’m actually doing a couple of the steps on here right now to get out (and meet my ARC deadlines haha)!
1. Reread a Favorite
This is my #1 absolute favorite advice to give! This one seems to always work for me, and for good reason. I feel like a lot of the slumps I have are derived from being afraid of reading a bad book. Reading something bad disrupts my flow entirely sometimes, and it takes a good book to get me back into it. That’s why I love rereading! Now, this probably isn’t the best strategy for narrowing down your TBR list, but I promise that it will help you in the long-run.
When you’re rereading books, you know what to expect. There won’t be any surprises and you’ll get exactly what you think you’re going to get. Additionally, you know it’s going to be good. This basically guarantees you’re going to read something you like, taking away any fear of coming by another bad book to worsen your slump even further. Since I assume you’re familiar with the book already, you can even skip to your favorite parts. Go to that chapter you really love or that major plot twist that shocks you every time! If you’re reading, you’re reading! You shouldn’t feel any pressure to read a book front to back, especially if you’re trying to recover from a slump.
I especially love rereading books I know I liked, but don’t remember all too well. This could be something I read years ago, or a book I just didn’t read too carefully. For example, I’m actually rereading Chain of Gold right now! While I only read it a couple months ago, I sped through it too quickly (a huge problem of mine), and missed a lot of details I would have wanted to catch. Now that I’m rereading it, I already know what’s going to happen, but it’s really giving me a chance to pick up on all the little things I totally missed the first time around.
2. Read a Lighter Book
Now, this is kind of a vague definition. “Lighter” can literally be anything, but in my opinion, it just means to not read anything too serious, dense, and long. I usually opt for contemporaries with this because they tend to be lighter than a fantasy book might be. Personally, I’m able to get through these books faster than many other genres, and it certainly helps to be able to finish something quick and in one go.
Additionally, the fact that it’s a light book, might make it easier for you to pick it up in the first place. Lighter books usually require less thinking and analysis for me, and it just makes it more approachable in general. Reading a cute love story is going to be easier than navigating complex fantasy worlds and politics, just due to the nature of the plot/story! If I’m in a book slump, I want to put something easier down on my plate, so I can ease my way back into reading.
And, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a contemporary! Different people have different preferences. I’d just recommend trying something that fits that “lighter” category.
3. Read Standalones
Standalones usually don’t have as much of a commitment compared to series. This is great when you’re in a reading slump, because if you’re like me, you don’t want commitment! Especially when I’m reading a series, I feel like I’m forced to finish all of it, which deters me away from the book in the first place. I just want something short and sweet to ease me back in. Additionally, the first book in a series might have more “setting-up” information compared to its stand-alone counterpart, which could lead to a more slower paced novel. I usually aim to read fast-paced books that keep me interested the entire way through if I’m in a slump.
I actually just posted 10 YA Fantasy standalone recommendations right here, if you’re looking for some new ones to explore. They make for great one-time reads, and they’re actually really good, so take my advice and go check that out!
4. Try Buddy Reading or Participate in a Read-A-Long
Here’s one that I actually haven’t done, but might prove to be useful for some of you! Buddy reads refer to reading the same book along with someone else, and read-a-longs refer to events where you aim to read a certain amount of pages/minutes every day or so. These really help maintain a consistent structure while you’re reading! When you have someone else reading with you, you may feel more encouraged to read with them at whatever their pace is like.
Like buddy reads, read-a-longs can help in a similar way! Being part of a community that is reading along with you can help reach your goals better than doing it alone. It’s also fun reading with other people, and I especially love book specific ones! The fact that you can engage with others reading the same book might encourage you to read through it at that specific pace so you can be a part of the conversation!
5. Take a Break from Reading Altogether
Sometimes when you’re in a slump, it’s just good to wait it out! If you truly don’t want to read, don’t force yourself to. Although you should definitely try to encourage yourself in order to not let your flow be disrupted (if that even makes sense), sometimes it is nice to take a break from reading. Feel free to use the time for other fun activities like listening to music, watching TV, or spending time outside! You should never feel pressure to read, because ultimately, it is supposed to be a fun & enjoyable hobby for most of us.
In the very beginning of this year, I could not read for whatever reason. I tried picking up book after book, but just didn’t feel motivated to read. However, it did get better, and while I’m still reading slowly, I am still reading! Slumps happen all the time, and you just need to learn to do whatever works best for you.
Anyways, that’s it for my tips! Has 2020 been a horrible reading year for any of you? Or is it better than it’s ever been with all the extra time from social isolation? Let me know your favorite ways to get out of a slump as well!