Between the bookshelves in my house and the bookshelves in my classroom–not to mention my mother’s bookshelves and the five public libraries I frequent–I have access to plenty of books I want to read. Thousands.
But somehow I can’t find anything to read. Or rather, I can’t find anything I want to keep reading. The stacks of books I’ve started and abandoned pile up near my office chair, beside the bed, by my desk, in tote bags ready to return to the library.
I’m Goldilocks in the book stacks right now, rejecting book after book. Too long, too short; too lush, too bare; too impenetrable, too facile; too bleak, too light.
My usual cures for a reading slump–rereading an old favorite or reading a graphic novel-haven’t worked. I’ve tried at least a dozen old favorites before giving up and putting them back on the shelves. I even stalled out halfway through both graphic novels I’ve started.
I’ve switched my usual genres to try poetry and essays, switched my usual formats to try audiobooks and ebooks. Nothing works.
I finished only one book in February (in January, I finished nine): T. Kingfisher’s Nettle & Bone, simply marvelous from first page to last. I finished a book and loved it–which sounds like the perfect cure for a reading slump. But instead, Nettle & Bone produced a related reading problem: the book hangover. My reading slump simply became more focused as I started and abandoned one T. Kingfisher novel after another and one fantasy readalike after another.
Can I call it a reading slump if I’m still reading? If I counted up all the pages I’ve read in the books I’ve abandoned, I’m sure I read the equivalent of six or seven books in February. It’s more a slump in feeling and fervor than in action and routine.
And I know it will end. Of course it will end, because slumps always do. Eventually I’ll start that just right book that keeps me turning the pages all the way to the end. And then I’ll read another good book through to the end, and another. I’ll congratulate myself on ending the slump and convince myself, as I always do, that I’ve found the cure once and for all. No more reading slumps for me!
Until the cycle begins again.
Do you experience reading slumps? What’s your go-to cure?
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