I have a confession to make: I am going through the biggest reading slump I have had in years. So much so, that my Goodreads account keeps signing me out from lack of use. I am currently 4 books behind schedule to complete my goal of 50 books. I have been setting myself this goal every year since 2016 and only completed it once, so I am not too bummed if I won’t make it. However, until September I was well ahead of my goal, only to fall behind spectacularly last October. So what happened?
My Reading Slump // How I am Going to Get Back to Reading Books?
Let’s start off by saying that I still enjoy reading: that is not why I got into the slump. The reason why I got into the slump is also very obvious on the surface. If I ask myself what happened, then all I can answer is Netflix happened. In October I binged all of Peaky Blinder until I went to New York. After I came back I indulged myself with watching all Downton Abbey seasons. Since I am someone who can only do one thing at the time, I knew this would take away from my reading time.
A rather less obvious reason for the slump has been less time to read in general. After summer, I upped my job to now be full time rather than part time and so that means I have one fewer day in the week where I can snuggle up with a book. And where before I had oodles of time at night, I have been more committed to dance classes and a workout routine than I had in the past two years. So that has also taken its toll.
However, these are not the only reasons why I haven’t been reading much. In fact, in the month of October and so far November, I didn’t finish a single book. I have only managed to read the odd 50 pages here and there. On the one hand due to lack of time and energy (I had a cold at the start of October and that NYC jetlag aftermath was serious business too), but I also felt uninspired by the books that I was in the midst of.
In September I read a book in Dutch for the first time and that was a good thing. I really liked it and I also got stuck in The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken. A good note to start things off with. However, I didn’t want to continue with the trilogy as it is very clearly YA and there is only so much I can take of that genre in one go. So I switched to an adult book that I am actually really enjoying, but that is a bit of a silly story too that is very easy to slip in and out of.
I feel I am not truly invested in the characters and that the story isn’t super in-depth or challenging. I got stuck in it for real when I was traveling to NYC and read a whooping 150 pages before touch down, so I know I am enjoying this book. I just finished at a point that felt a bit of a letdown after a few action packed scenes halfway through the book. It just didn’t motivate me to pick it back up in between the drama of Downton.
Secondly, 2019 is the year of the audiobook for me. I have been listening to lots and found that I like listening to different books than the kinds I like to read myself. I like simpler books, non-fiction, autobiographies and other works that don’t require too much of an investment of your attention. After having finished a few autobiographies I decided to start Eddie Izzard’s biography: one of my favorite comedians.
The book was an absolute bore though. I lost track of the story as the story is told by Izzard in his typical fashion of straying off track and then coming back to the point of the story, in the end. In his comedy this works marvelously. But as an audiobook on his life, it made for distraction upon distraction causing me to lose track of the story altogether. In the end I was so frustrated with it that I DNF’ed, which is something I do not do often. I DNF’ed just a few books in my life time and this is one of them.
5 Tips to Get Over a Reading Slump
So I knew I wanted to pull myself out of it. I knew that once I’d finish Downton Abbey I would be able to free up my Saturday and Sunday afternoons (and nights) for reading again. So I already continued my book the other day and that was a good instigator. I also selected a new audiobook to listen to in the mornings which I have listened to a few times now. So that has also gotten a kickstart. So I figured I could share with you my 5 tips for getting out of a reading slump. This is what I will definitely be doing in the next few weeks to hopefully not only catch up on my Goodreads goal, but to even make it in the end.
Tip 1: Finish the book you are reading
I am someone who doesn’t like to leave things hanging. I feel weird moving on from a book if I haven’t completed it. So that is why I want to keep reading the book I am now on (The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde) till it is finished. I want to try to read 50 pages every day this weekend, which should have me finish it by Sunday.
Tip 2: Allocate reading time
One of the reasons why I am reading less is because my schedule has changed. I have taken up other activities that have eaten away at my reading time. I just need to work out my schedule and allocate an hour each day where I know I can read. I won’t be able to do this every day perhaps, but on Monday’s and Wednesday’s this should definitely be a workable option for me after I get home from the gym (but especially if I end up not going). On weekends I can definitely do more reading too. Perhaps I should tell myself to read in the afternoons and watch something in the evenings instead of only doing one or the other.
Tip 3: Pick a short book
After I finish this book I am definitely thinking of picking up some shorter books. I bought some graphic novels earlier in the year that I haven’t gotten round to yet so that is an easy way to amp up the number of books read. Another purchase I made this year is for some of my old childhood favorites. Those are all short books too, so I should be able to managable and easy to do. The only question I have is whether I will enjoy them enough to keep reading.
Tip 4: Make a TBR
I am someone who is anti-TBR. I don’t see the point of lining up books you wish to read, only to be disappointed at the end of the month that you didn’t get around to them. But when I am in a slump I think it is good to know what you will want to get to next. That way it gives you something to look forward to if a book is a bit of a drag. I won’t be making that TBR huge though, but since we only have less than 8 weeks left in the year, I think I should just pick 3 – 4 books that I really want to get to before the year is out.
Tip 5: Reorganize your shelves
This may seem a weird tip, but I sometimes find my bookshelves overwhelming. What did I read? What haven’t I read yet? What do I want to continue with next? At this moment I feel I have lost overview a bit: a feeling I had last year around this time too. This just means it is time to declutter and organize my bookshelves again. I won’t have time to do this properly until Christmas break, but I am already looking forward to executing the plans I have. Clear shelves is a clear mind = mind space for reading more books!