For those of us who are publicly avid readers, burning through books can begin to feel a bit like a competitive sport. One book a week! One book a day! Books and books and stacks of books and wow, it's crazy, we bleed literature, baby! We pride ourselves on reading like champions. But what happens when we just... can't... get.... to the end of a book? What happens when we hit a wall? Here's how to tackle reading slumps, according to the bookish users of Reddit.
In a world of growing digital literacy, reading tangible books has become an increasingly rare pastime. In a 2016 study, Iris Reading found that the average American read 12 books a year, though that figure was inflated by those of us who are a bit more, uh, voracious. The most reported figure was four books. The year before, in 2015, Pew Research Center found just 72 percent of Americans had read A Book - either part or whole, in any format.
But for those of us who are boosting that reading average, the thought of, like, not reading? It's a bit distressing.
"In several book-related social media and apps, there is a term which readers find utterly horrifying: Reading Slump. It basically means that a reader wants to be able to read and enjoy a book - but, can't," wrote FanofMerricat2018. "How do you handle those phases when no book would speak to you or you notice, you simply can't enjoy books, knowing that it is not the books' fault. In such a situation, do you give up on the book & pick it up again at a later time?"
Redditors have been filing in to share their own tips and tricks for working through whatever block is keeping you from crushing the book game. Check it out, and share your own favorite ways of bustin' up that slump. We can get out of this book-less hole together, my literary pals.
Switch Up The Length
"If I've read something long and dry or just plain bad then whatever I read next is going to be very short," suggested s00perball. "If it's short and good I feel better, and if it's short and bad then at least I have the satisfaction of finishing two books in a short span of time."
...Or Switch Up The Genre
If you've been on a True Crime kick, for example, and you're not just feelin' it, try hopping to historical romance, contemporary fiction or even - gasp! - poetry. "I jump to light, fun reads," wrote idontknowstufforwhat. "I find I get into the slump if I am on a real bender of a certain genre or author, so I try and switch it up."
Or The Format
jonathanownbey suggests switching not just the genre, but the format itself. "...I use audiobooks sometimes if what I have been reading hasn't been hitting the spot," they wrote.
Return To An Old Favorite
Favorite books are like security blankets. They give us courage and comfort. It's not difficult to read through passages we know by heart. So which books should you try turning to? "Lord of the rings (but I just start with the fellowship and before I finish I'm already reading something else)," said jujubee_1.
Or Try Logging Off The 'Bookstagram'
"A common maladie, well-known amongst any modern book fan: To talk about books constantly, instead of spending the time actually: reading," wrote FanofMerricat18. And if that isn't something we can't all relate to in some way - living our lives too vividly online - I don't know what is. "I took a break from IG/BG (Bookstagram) and reading itself, for about 2 months & it did me good."
And If You're Still Stuck, Try Changing 'Slump' to 'Break'
As is true with any activity that we feel is irreplaceable when it comes to personal identity, it's always a good idea to, every so often, take a li'l break, to recalibrate and to understand our relationships with our hobbies better. Just because you're not speeding through a book a day doesn't mean you're not a reader, or a book-lover.