**Note, I apologize for the technical state of my blog. It’s experiencing some aesthetic crises, and I’ve only been able to remedy some of them. Please overlook the asymmetry and other eye-twitching misalignment**
I thought I’d share a small confession with you all…
I haven’t been reading.
I know, I know. I feel like I should ask Gutenberg for forgiveness.
I feel like this girl…
So let’s talk book slump.
[boo k – sluhmp] n. 1. The inability to start or complete a book. 2. A condition or state in which a person is unable to focus or retain interest in reading or books.
Symptoms of book slump include:
- Inattention, lack of focus while reading.
- Reading without retention or understanding of text.
- Thinking of things you’d rather be doing; watching a movie, going out with friends, doing dishes, etc.
Book slump is not an official condition, as far as Oxford or Webster is concerned. Among readers, though, it’s a valid problem. It happens to most of us at one time or another. It’s happening to me right now. I usually complete 1-2 books per week, but in the last 3 weeks I’ve only finished 1. I can’t seem to get into a book, and my mind is frequently otherwise occupied.
Got book slump, too? There’s no need to bitterly pull out that bookmark. There is hope!
Even though book slump may not appear in a WebMD ™ search anytime soon, I do have some suggestions for treatment.
Read about books: Reading about reading. It sounds boring, but there are sources that have perfected this. Bookmarks Magazine and New York Times Book Review are among my favorite. Both sources are engaging and provide honest reviews of new and upcoming books. While New York Times leans on the political side, Bookmarks is noted for their nearly all genre style. Both of these sources can be found in print and digital format.
Audiobooks: Audiobooks count as reading, I promise. Whether you’re absorbing the words with your eyes or your ears, it still is reading. Audiobooks can effectively break up your reading routine. I’m currently listening to One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. This is a short memoir about a man surviving a Russian Gulag prison in 1944. Interesting, so far.
Poetry: You don’t have to be poetry professional to enjoy poetry (not that I know what those are, anyway). There are all different kinds, just like with books. Radio personality Garrison Keillor has a short poetry podcast that I’m quite fond of called, “The Writer’s Almanac”. Each segment is only 5 minutes long; a great way to revive your love of the written word in small doses.
Graphic novels: I’ve discussed my love of graphic novels before, but I can’t leave it out of this list. Graphic Novels have grown in popularity, and the market has responded. There are many different publishers and styles – Image Comics, First Second, and GRAPHIX among them. Graphic Novels break up the monotony of all-text books, and provide visual stimulation. There are plenty of graphic novels that have been created from an original book, too. My favorite one is “WOOL”, based on the titled sci-fi book by Hugh Howey.
Switch it up. If you struggled to finish book 40 of a 68-book series, and can’t imagine getting to the end – It’s time for a change. Sometimes branching out can be hard. Speaking as a former sci-fi addict, I can attest to that. But there’s a plethora of sources that can help; Goodreads and BookRiot are among my favorite websites. Goodreads is an electronic recommendation source. A digital librarian, if you will. The more books you rate, the better the recommendations. BookRiot is run by a group of book enthusiasts, and is intended to provide a similar service as Goodreads – just with more human interaction. They post videos and polls – you can even get surprise books in the mail! It’s hard not to get back into the groove after visiting their site.
Ask any local bookstore employee: At almost any bookstore, you’ll find at least one or two employees who are both knowledgeable and passionate about books. They’re happy to assist, and love a good challenge. Explain to them what you love, what you don’t love, and they’re usually quite good and putting a couple (or seven) books in your hands that will cure your book slump.
And then, sometimes, you just have to be like Sheldon…
Take a break: We all get oversaturated at some point. Don’t force it. Put the book down, and do something else altogether. Let the reading desire come back to you on it’s own.
That’s it! What do you do during your book slumps? Leave your comments below!
As always, happy [temporarily not] reading.