I have been an avid reader ever since I first learned my ABCs. On Saturdays, my mother would take my brothers and I to our local library and allow us to check out all the books we wanted to read that week…which, for me, was as many children’s books as my tiny arms could carry.
I was a voracious reader as a child and am even more ravenous as an adult. But even the most passionate lifelong reader can lose steam from time to time. For me, it usually happens after I finish a truly exceptional novel and can’t bring myself to start another because I’m unmotivated to move on. This feeling usually goes away after a week or so but every now and then, the feeling lingers. When I am unable to start a new book after several weeks, I officially consider myself to be in a reading slump. Oh, the turmoil!
In recent years I’ve learned how to pull myself out of these slumps. The following tips have helped me regain focus and recharge my love of reading. I hope they can be helpful to other readers experiencing the same:
1) Switch Genres. If you typically read sci-fi, switch to historical fiction. If your reading queu is filled with literary fiction, try a romance novel. If lengthy world literature is your modus operandi, explore a collection of short stories. Whatever you do, shake things up! For me, short stories are are great for getting out of a book slump because they allow exploration of new authors without committing to reading an entire novel.
2) Leave it to fate. In other words, allow someone else or something else to choose what you read next. That could mean picking up a title completely at random, joining a book club, or simply taking a friend up on her most recent reading recommendation. Removing the need to make a decision is a great way to get back into the swing of things. Sometimes having no choice gives you the freedom to read without bias. Having little to no expectations for a book opens up the opportunity to be surprised and appreciate something you may not have read on your own.
3) Choose a different medium of expression. There are many ways to tell a story – theater, music, film. Different artistic forms of expression can inspire creativity and unique perspective. In fact, Somali-British poet Warsan Shire is responsible for bringing me out of my most recent book slump and inspiring me to read a novel in my book queu written by another East African author. This tactic may inspire you to read an old favorite with new eyes or to explore and appreciate a lesser known author or avant-garde writing style.
If the above tips don’t work, simply taking a break from reading for a while. Great books have a magical way of finding you when you aren’t looking!