Getting Out of A Reading Slump
An incomplete and flawed guide
Even when you try to read, it doesn’t work out, it feels like you have forgotten how to read.
You know that feeling? Like it’s been ages since you read a book or like you don’t read anymore and when friends ask you which book you are reading you feel guilty because you haven’t read in ages? Yeah, you are in a reading slump. Even when you try to read, it doesn’t work out, it feels like you have forgotten how to read. Is that the same page you were staring at for forty minutes? Are those words? Why don’t you understand the words? And your brain goes- words …..words……. words …….words?
Sometimes I am like that too. Who am I kidding? Last year I was like that for the most part. I hadn’t read much after June. I blame Netflix, Nutella, and depression- the Unholy Trinity that ruins my life. Well anyway, I decided I wanted to read, I mean how hard could it be right? I picked up a book, started reading, or staring at the pages, or whatever it was that I thought I should do. Nothing much happened, I almost gave up, but then by some miracle and of course googling I self-diagnosed myself as being in a reading slump. So I did my research and by research, I mean googled extensively about reading slumps. Turns out they are very common, happens to everyone, and is not that big of a deal. (See what I did there? Blame Netflix.) And in no time I was back to reading like a maniac. Just the way I like it.
So when a dear friend complained about being in a reading slump herself I felt I had to pass on my wisdom. So here are some tried and tested ways to get out of a reading slump.
⦁ Try listening to audiobooks – Sometimes, reading can get a bit mundane, especially if you are not reading the right book, switch up the formats, listen to audiobooks when you are cooking (if you cook), eating (please do eat- at least thrice a day), cleaning (do you?), showering (if you have a bathtub, by all means, try it), driving (try not to get killed), working out (do you though?), and before going to bed (bedtime stories are awesome)
⦁ Try a book that is similar to one of your all-time favorite books– If you have trouble finding that, don’t worry I’ve got your back.
Check out this site: https://www.whatshouldireadnext.com/
Type in your favorite books to get similar book recommendations.
⦁ Make a reading routine– This one is pretty self-explanatory, pick a time, get comfortable, get a book, read. Repeat daily.
⦁ Read beginnings– Try reading ten pages from all the books in your ‘To Be Read’ list. Continue reading the one that you like the most.
⦁ Get Recommendations– Ask your friends for book recommendations. (Loosely translates to: “ASSSKKKK MEEE”)
⦁ Read your favorite book again– Now a lot of people would say ‘Why? We already know what’s gonna happen. Why read it again?’. Trust me on this one. Reading one of your favorite books will remind you why you like reading in the first place, why you love getting lost in the worlds between the pages.
⦁ Set reading goals– Set a daily goal, read 25 pages a day or 50 pages. If you are feeling ambitious read 100 pages a day and in three days you will finish a book.
I don’t know what will help you of course, but I can tell you this, reading even 30 pages daily made me feel so much better than binge-watching a show on Netflix. However, I did notice that the books we read also have an impact on getting out of a reading slump. For example, some books are easier to read than others, some are fast-paced, some are relaxed.
So here are some of the books that got me out of my reading slump:
⦁ Agatha Christie books: Get a cup of tea or coffee, settle in your most comfortable chair, and start with the murder. Who doesn’t love a cozy murder mystery huh? This is not a single book, but Agatha Christie has a very unique style of writing that hooks you from the first page, and most of her books can be devoured in one sitting. Some of my favorites are- ‘The ABC murders’, ‘And then there were none’, ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’, ‘Crooked house’, ‘Death on the Nile’, ‘Peril at the end house’ and for a bit of horror: ‘Sleeping murder’. (If you liked the movie ‘Knives Out’, do yourself a favor and read these books, because they are so similar and so good)
⦁ Truly Devious series: What would happen if a teenage Sherlock Holmes went to Hogwarts and tried to solve an 80-year-old murder mystery that happened in the school? Intrigued? You should be, it’s a really easy set of books to read, the characters are original, writing so easy and readable(meaning you won’t need a dictionary on hand to read this one) and the setting so whimsical.
⦁ Illuminae files: If you have called me anytime between December 31st, 2020, and now chances are I have raved about this book to you. If not, it’s an awesome sci-fi series set in 2575 on a planet called Kerenza. The story is in the form of a file, a dossier with emails, spaceship blueprints, messages, surveillance footage descriptions, and even cartoon drawings from journals. There’s no single protagonist, no narrator, or anything we would find in a normal book. It is nothing like what we have read before. (This book may not be for everyone though if you are one of those realists who think this is impossible, I have two words for you- Get out.)
⦁ Infernal Devices: Perhaps you like a bit of history? In that case get ready to delve into the Victorian Era London with Tessa, Will, and Jem. This is not any Historical fiction though. There are vampires, werewolves, warlocks, fairies and angels, and demons. But the story is fast-paced, characters lovable, and if you like love triangles you will like this series. (The only love triangle that didn’t make me want to tear my hair off if I am being honest)
⦁ Eleanor and Park: If you are not a fan of murder mysteries, fantasy, or even sci-fi (*screams* ‘what are you doing ??? those are the best!! ‘) then perhaps you’d like a more grounded book? This one is a love story, between Eleanor and Park (obviously). It is a slow, and easy read, it is beautiful to read this story, it is easy to see them slowly fall for each other. It is everything you are looking for in a love story.
⦁ Simon and the homo-sapien agenda: There’s a movie based on this book -‘Love Simon’. It’s a beautiful coming of age story of Simon a teenager who harbors a secret. The themes of friendship, growth, and coming out are so beautifully explored in this book. I loved the book, a wholesome contemporary read. (Also loved the movie, it was so well done.)
⦁ The Harry Potter Series: How can I make this list and not include Harry Potter? It’s almost blasphemous. This is the series that got me into reading fantasy. This is the book that I crave to read when I feel so blue for no reason. How can I explain it? When nothing else works this series does its magic (pun intended). When I have read a lot of other books and want to just clear my head or when I can’t read any of the new books, I find myself reading one of these. It’s like coming home after a long day. Perhaps you grew up reading this series as I did, then you know what I am talking about. After all, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.
If you still can’t read anything, I have one last idea for you, watch a really bad book to movie adaptation. Percy Jackson fans go watch Percy Jackson and the lightning thief or Sea of Monsters. It will work like a charm in getting you back to the books and preferably away from the monstrosity that the Percy Jackson movies were. Yes I hated those movies, and yes I will die mad about it.
PS: This one’s for all those who are struggling with reading, but mostly for Gayathri who had initially inspired me to put it into words