Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Girly Geek's Guide To: Reading Slumps

I am currently working my way out of what I can officially say has been the worst reading slump I have ever encountered. Ever. I have read two books thus far into February, and while for some that mightn't seem too sad, it is absolutely heartbreaking for me. This time last year I was reading around ten books per month, and though I wish that was still the case it seems that no matter how hard I try I just can't get into anything.

Up until sometime in the year before last I had never really thought about what it meant to be in a reading slump. I didn't really know that 'reading slumps' were a real thing. But it seems they are, and alike I was a couple of years ago, there are probably some people out there who don't fully understand what reading slumps are. I thought I'd break it down for you in a slightly different and borderline strange way..

The way I see it, as an avid reader, is that reading slumps are like a sickness that come along every few months. Like the common cold, only more frustrating. So I thought I'd approach Reading slumps as if they were a sickness.

What are Reading Slumps?

A Reading Slump is a condition in which an avid reader or bibliophile finds themself incapable of enjoying their normal pace of reading, sticking with a story and/or completing a novel for a seemingly interminable period of time. They are dreadful diseases that plague 1 out of 7 avid readers at any one time. (I totally made this up).

Signs and symptoms

Reading slumps plague even the most voracious of readers and can often last for months at a time, symptoms may even begin to affect one's happiness, motivation and sense of purpose in life.

Common symptoms of a Reading Slump include:

  • The inability to engage in a new novel
  • Re-reading the same sentence over and over again
  • Wanting to read but not being able to carry out the act
  • An underwhelmed reaction to new releases
  • Jealousy towards others who are actively reading
  • A growing TBR pile that remains untouched
  • Anger aimed toward oneself
  • A feeling of incompetence
  • A sense of lost purpose in life
  • Disinterest in book reviews, hauls, discussions, etc.

The following images are also representations of what one may look like whilst experiencing a slump:

Causes of Reading Slumps

The causes of Reading Slumps remain unknown, but research suggests causes may include tragedies such as:

  • Bad book hangovers - A good book ruins you
This is easily the most common cause. Sometimes you'll read a book that is so astonishing and to which you connect so thoroughly, that you are bereft upon completing it. It’ll completely take over the inside of your head. You become so consumed with that one book that you cannot imagine you will ever find another book equally as amazing.

  • A bad book bogs you down
What’ll generally happen is, you'll start a book and it won’t spark a light within you, but you won’t hate it or be quite bored enough to go “this is rubbish” and move on. Problem is, without realizing it, you won’t especially want to read it. So every time you sit down with some free time, you'll automatically glance at the book, you'll think “not in the mood for that,” and then spend some time on Twitter, or watch some YouTube. And thus starts a vicious cycle of "maybe I should do some reading" and "maybe later."

  • Life
Life, on the whole, is infinitely preferable to the alternative (being death) but despite that, sometimes it feels like the universe just doesn't want you to read. Whether it be work, school, or social commitments, something always manages to prevent you from flipping some pages. 

  • Mood
You current mood has the ability to directly influence your desire to read. A lazy or tired mood can often lead to a lack of motivation and result in a reading slumps. 


If you are an avid reader and have shown two or more symptoms for over four days it is safe to assume you've contracted a case of the dreaded slump.

Treatment and Medication

There are a number of methods available to help relieve symptoms and possibly cure a case of the Reading Slumps. Though there are no proven methods, the following are techniques which many readers recommend:

  • Read something light: I find that the easiest way to pull myself out of a slump is to read something light, and easy. Nothing too hard-hitting or complex that may cause me confusion. A nice heartfelt contemporary usually does the trick. You may also like to try graphic novels, comics, or poetry.

  • Revisit a favourite book: Surprisingly, this is a rather popular option. I've never tried it myself but many people have told me that this is how they pull themselves out of a slump. It makes sense though, at least you know the book is great!

  • Try non-fiction: Some suggest trying some non-fiction as a way to break the slump, instead of looking for a great novel to break the slump, maybe learning something new might help. I think it's rather smart actually, especially if you choose something of interest to you it could work out really well.

  • Read a favourite genre: Most people will find it easiest to slip into a story of their favourite genre simply because it is something very familiar and comforting to them. Some people prefer to stay within their comfort zone.

  • Try something short: Short stories, novellas, poetry and short books might work, this way you are not spending too much time in a story and feel like we are making progress. It also means you can get your reading challenge up! Bonus!

  • Recommendations: In times of need (during reading slumps) you may find it helpful to pick up a book that has been recommended to you. If you're like me and have other reader or blogger friends who are constantly nagging you to pick up one specific title, chances are they have a good reason! 

  • Take a break: Though as an avid reader you may feel obligated to be constantly reading, it is important to remember that it is OKAY to take a break. 


  • Put all books on hold and just read whatever looks appealing: Read whatever the heck you want to read. It's your life! If you're not in the mood for something, don't read it. It's as simple as that.

What are your experiences with reading slumps? Do you have any good recommendations for ways to get out of one? Let me know. Also, was this post absolutely absurd? I thought it was fun writing it, so I hope you enjoyed reading it. Although please feel free to let me know if it was weird. I am all for constructive criticism!


  1. Second point on your list is what always gets me out of reading slumps. Re-reading my favorites always works. Try it next time you are in reading slump :)

  2. I read lots of books every month and I hate when I'm in a reading slump. Usually I get over it picking up a book that I have already read and loved; or, something light or intertaining is the best, so great advice! :D

  3. Though I've never tried it myself, I've heard quite a few people say that this is what does it for them! I should give it a go next time!

  4. I'm the same, it completely ruins my mood! I've never really tried to re-read something before, but quite a few people have suggested it to me in the past so I'll keep it in mind the next time I find myself in a slump. Thanks for all the kind words!

  5. I'm in a book slump at the moment :( it's so frustrating because I had loads of wonderful books at Christmas and I just can't commit to one at the moment.


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