Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

A Mixture Of Rant And Discussion: The Reading Slump Cycle

A photo of bored puma

This photograph was taken by Tambako The Jaguar.

This post is brought to you by a cycle of reading slumps. A cycle that has lasted a long time, or at least a long time by book blogging standards. I have had short bursts of interest; I’m having to force myself to read (I know, the advice is to wait it out, but I tried that).

I’ve come to the conclusion that I, we, everyone, can bring reading slumps on by reading lots to make up for a previous slump. It’s understandable that once we’ve got over a slump we’re going to want to try to make up for lost time, and the passion for reading returns. But if too much of a good thing can cause a slump, then it surely applies to the recovery period, too.

Which is really annoying.

The thing is, it’s difficult to achieve a balance when, post-slump, all you want to do is read. Everything is vying for your attention. You don’t necessarily start trying to cram in every book but it suddenly becomes a lot easier to move on to another book after a chapter or two than it is normally. You aren’t abandoning these books, per se, you’re enjoying them – but oh there’s that book I would’ve read if not for the slump and it looks awesome… oh and even if it wouldn’t usually phase me I wasn’t keen on that sentence just then and that’s good enough reason to add another book and…

I suppose I worry that trying to adhere to balance, which is technically forced reading which is exactly what prolongs a slump and is thus best avoided, is actually what would help. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Of course guilt comes into this, the thought that you should have been reading, or that you should have read such and such, ARC or not. And I know we shouldn’t feel guilty but somewhere there’s going to be at least a little regret.

I have two questions for you to answer and a request for you to fulfil if you can and wish to:

Questions: Do you ever suffer from continual slumps? Have you worked out a way to combat them?

My request is for a book or list of books that you reckon would push a reader past a slump. A very good book that has broad appeal, thus the answer to many different people’s slumps. If you could share this post (so there are more suggestions) I’d be very grateful!



September 10, 2014, 2:52 am

In a slump I either crave something new and exciting but with comfortingly familiar elements, or completely challenging and different. Along the former lines, recently loved Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See – beautifully written and enchanting elements (puzzle boxes and museums and charming French seaside settings) but with wartime occupation and resistance that feel a bit like a movie. Hugo Cabret for grow ups, maybe.

Christine @Buckling Bookshelves

September 10, 2014, 3:27 am

I do often have more than one book going at a time, but if I kept wanting to start something else after only a chapter or two and was bouncing around a lot, I’d still (personally) consider myself in a slump. For me there are three kinds of slumps — the “I don’t want to read at all” kind (which thankfully happens infrequently), the “I am too busy to read anything even though I desperately want to” kind, and the “I want to read, but I can’t find anything that is really grabbing me” kind of slump. They all suck in their own ways, of course.

I don’t think I can help much in terms of a universal slump-busting book, but in general I would say try re-reading an absolute favorite, whatever that happens to be for you. For me, I find that often reminds me why I love reading so much and I fall in love with favorite story & characters all over again.


September 10, 2014, 4:03 am

The three books that come to mind, because they’ve taken me out of my slumps over the last few years are The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series and most recently Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones.

Laurie C

September 10, 2014, 12:01 pm

I don’t get in reading slumps very often, just reviewing slumps, but I suggest An Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett because it’s funny, short, and meaningful, and it’s about reading!


September 10, 2014, 4:56 pm

Luckily my reading slumps tend to be short and not that often. You certainly shouldn’t let yourself feel guilty about not reading ARCs. It is just like when you have to have time off work to get better. You need a break from ARCs when in a slump. My best remedy is to re-read well loved favourites that perhaps you haven’t picked up in a while.

Fiona McGier

September 10, 2014, 5:31 pm

I broke my most recent reading slump with Parasite by Mira Grant. It’s an eerie kind of book, obviously the first in a series because it ends abruptly. But the premise is intriguing and the story moves along well.


September 10, 2014, 9:10 pm

Serious slumps no. I think I am saved from those cos I try to read lots of genres

Jenny @ Reading the End

September 11, 2014, 1:43 am

My cure for slumps is usually rereading old favorites. Or if that doesn’t work, then rereading books I liked a lot the first time but have never revisited. It’s the right mix of novelty and comfort, and it’ll usually tide me over until I feel like reading new stuff again.


September 11, 2014, 1:21 pm

Jenny’s suggestion of rereading favorites is great. I know Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings have pulled me out of slumps in the past.

I also like to go with fun, easy reads when I’m in a slump. Here’s a few suggestions, depending on what you are looking for:

Sabriel by Garth Nix
The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (though everything she’s written is good)
Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Hope you find something to get you out of the slump!


September 11, 2014, 4:13 pm

Really interesting topic Charlie, I’m in a slump myself.

“Of course guilt comes into this, the thought that you should have been reading, or that you should have read such and such, ARC or not.”
So true, I completely agree with you.

I suffer from slumps too, although they tend to be seasonal. I read more pro-actively in the colder months, but this year my need to read lasted until around June, I’m still slumping from then. I’m still reading – I’m making myself read, but I’m so far away from wanting to come home and read. I think maybe it’s a bit of summer sadness (I don’t like summer) and when I’m sad I don’t like to read.

I think The Secret History would bring me out of a reading slump (had I not read it before). Or something short and sweet like Franny and Zooey by Salinger.


September 13, 2014, 8:10 am

I’m sorry you’re in a slump, Charlie. If I can’t read it’s usually because there’s something going on in my life that’s causing me stress. Mostly, I get interested again when I’m feeling better about life in general.

Some of the books that have helped me to get out of my frequent reading slumps:

I Capture the Castle
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Cold Comfort Farm
Anything by Barbara Pym and Beryl Bainbridge.

Good luck with finding THE book for you. xo

Literary Feline

September 16, 2014, 12:46 am

I wish I had a suggestion for you. I hope you are able to pull out of the slump soon.

When I feel a slump coming on, I often will turn to other interests for awhile until my interest in reading comes back. Sometimes it’s just a matter of moving on to another book though.

I am not a big re-reader and so re-reading an old favorite isn’t something that appeals to me. I may try reading something new by a favorite author though, depending on my mood.

Like someone else said, I don’t often fall into slumps that last a noticeable amount of time. I make a habit of mixing up the types of books I read and I think that helps.



Comments closed