The New Year is impending and so are resolutions. We all want to read more but the last few years have been full of stress, extra responsibilities, and never enough time. In order to help, we’ve put together some tried and true methods to break out of a reading slump and get back into the habit:
Join a Book Club!
Book clubs are a great way to get back into a reading habit because there is a social aspect that motivates as well as a structure to choosing interesting titles. It can really be enjoyable to talk about favorite parts of the book, characters, and subplots that made an impression. Some of us work better with a deadline and that’s ok! WNPL offers FOUR book discussion groups every month including Fiction, Non-Fiction, Evening, and Senior groups. You can also check out book club kits from WNPL to start your own book club! We have 100+ book club kits available in fiction and non-fiction for you to reserve!
Ask for Recommendations!
Sometimes you need an outside perspective to break your reading slump. Your peers might think of a perfect book based on what they know about you. Additionally, you’ll have the motivation of wanting to follow through on a recommendation from someone you respect! Read your favorite author or celebrity’s favorite book. Read your childhood hero’s favorite book. You could also reach out for book recommendations on social media. You’ll be surprised how many responses you’ll get from people who are dying to recommend your next great read. You also can request a book bundle and get tailored recommendations from your librarians at WNPL!
Try a Different Genre!
You might be in a reading slump because you are unsatisfied with a particular genre. It doesn’t mean you won’t go back to that genre when you break your slump, but a tried-and-true book category just may not hold the same interest it once did, at least for now. Something new may just hold your attention better than something familiar! Here are a few genres you can find at WNPL:
- Graphic Novels
- Historical Fiction
- Narrative Nonfiction
- Science Fiction
- Short Stories
- Urban Lit
- And many more!
You can also blend your genres! Love mystery? Try a different sub-genre like cozy, hard-boiled, noir, procedural… etc. Want to get into Sci-fi but you normally read romance? Read a romance/sci fi like Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon. Mix it up and you might just break your dry spell!
Read a Few Pages of a Bunch of Different Books
Come to the library and pull a bunch of books that look interesting from the stacks and reading three or four pages from each of them. It’s fun to get creative juices flowing by speculating on what happens during the other parts of the story. If you read a few pages out of every book you pick up, you’ll eventually find one or two that you’ll want to keep reading! This is a fun activity to do with a friend so you can laugh together about your false starts and celebrate your wins. Also, if you do this while browsing our new section in the middle of the library, it also scratched the itch of retail therapy without having to spend any money!
Read a Short Book
A lot of times a reading slump is based on frustration with a lack of accomplishment rather than a total disinterest in reading. We feel bad because we’ve had a bunch of false starts or low energy attempts to read that amounted to nothing. It’s often easier to feel that sense of accomplishment when they can zip through a shorter book.
There are many great reasons to read a shorter book! For one thing, it’s not as torturous to finish a novella if you don’t like it but need that sense of completion. Shorter books are easier to discuss with friends and peers. Shorter books are easier to carry around with you to places where you might have more time and less distractions than work or home. Short books are usually more concise in their dialogue or narrative. There are some awesome short books available at WNPL like A Spindle Splintered by Alix Harrow, Galatea by Madeline Miller, Foster by Claire Keegan, The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman, and many more!
Change Up the Reading Environment
If you’re accustomed to a specific spot at home, perhaps in a favorite chair in the living room or in bed at night but you’re in a bad reading slump, maybe it’s time for a change. Lack of variability in the physical environment can dull the senses, including the visual and mental abilities needed for attention and reading comprehension. By the same token, something might have changed in the environment that causes some rather jarring distractions. For example, does your home have too many distracting chores to think about? Does reading in bed make you fall asleep too fast? Maybe it’s time to look for a new place to read. You’re always welcome at WNPL. Try a private study room! The fireplace in the Quiet Reading Room is very inviting. Some of the lounge chairs in adult fiction are also comfy if you prefer more ambient noise. Try something new and see if it keeps your attention better. One of our librarians recommends bringing a book with you wherever you
Explore Different Reading Formats
21st-century technology offers many ways to break those frustrating reading slumps. Newspaper and magazine articles (that you can access through our subscription to PressReader) are easy to obtain and can allow exposure to many different subjects. Listening to audiobooks can help if you simply can’t find the time or patience to sit down and devote undivided attention to traditional print books. Audiobooks, as a more passive activity, can also be used as a stepping stone to the more active mental demands of a printed or digital book. And no, Audiobooks are NOT cheating. Check out our many CD Audiobooks as well as eAudiobooks on Libby and Hoopla!
You can also try a graphic novel! A growing body of research is emphasizing the many benefits of graphic novels. First, depth and complexity are added to the reader’s understanding because the text is needed to understand the pictures, as well as vice versa, allowing the reader to learn how to synthesize information and make inferences. Visual information also helps with social/emotional stimuli and the elements of storytelling. Graphic novels have a lot of visual diversity and you can tell quickly if the style peaks your interest. Check out graphic novels for adults, teens, and kids in our catalog and also on hoopla.
Don’t get mad at yourself for not reading!
Don’t force it or get discouraged if you just can’t seem to break the slump. That may sound like blasphemy coming from a librarian, but if not reading is causing you stress, and that stress is causing you not to read, you’re only going to keep doubling down and making it worse for yourself. Take a week off and know that you’ll get back to reading once you’ve relieved some of the pressure off yourself. Watch a movie. Play a board game. Listen to an audio drama. Anything that stimulates your need for stories, information, characters, or narrative will be a gateway to getting back to reading in the long run.
Happy reading and Happy New Year from your friends at the Warren-Newport Public Library.