Let’s Get Lit-erary: How to tackle a reading slump 

Pictured is a book placed on the grass with flowers surrounding it. While enjoying reading is a big positive, a big negative that can come from it is not being able to look at any other book. Some tips can always help you get out of that dreaded reading slump. Photo credit to Rikka Ameboshi

Have you ever had an obsession with reading that turned into dread at the thought of picking up another book? Reading slumps happen to the best of us. Sometimes they’re set off by an atrocious read, other times life just gets in the way. When you’re busy or stressed, reading can feel like a chore instead of a haven.  

So how exactly do you tackle a reading slump? Here are some suggestions that may help rekindle your love for reading:  

Switch up your environment 

If you associate a location with stress, then maybe it’s not the best spot to unwind with a book. Find a spot conducive to relaxation. Perhaps bring a book to a park or the beach.  

Stuck at home? Enjoy a book while you take a steaming hot bath. Light a candle and make yourself some tea; if you make reading an experience, you’re more likely to get excited about it again. If you have the means, build a reading nook or buy yourself a hammock. Find a comfortable spot, and reading will come that much easier.  

Go back to basics 

Try reading something you know will be entertaining. After a particularly heavy series, I usually shoot for a potato-chip-read — something fun and lighthearted. Most often, this is a cheesy romance or something short and sweet. It may not necessarily be quality literature, but that’ll keep you from feeling the need to overanalyze. Alternatively, pick up an old favorite! Rereading is sure to evoke fond memories and will potentially motivate you to search for a new favorite.  

Try a new genre or form 

If you normally go for fiction, maybe try a memoir. If you’re a die-hard mystery lover, try some horror. There’s no need to read a genre you detest but if there’s anything you haven’t yet explored, give it a shot!  

Another option is to switch up the form of content you’re consuming. Someone used to reading dense texts, for example, should explore graphic novels or even webtoons. Maybe listen to an audiobook on your commute; that way you can mix up form and simultaneously save time.  

Be wary of screen time 

Reading slumps can often stem from the misconception that there’s not enough time. If you have a heavy workload, maybe there truly isn’t enough time. But if you’ve turned to watching YouTube or scrolling through social media, you might want to rethink. Something to try is swapping your screen time for reading time. You don’t have to keep up with this or eliminate screen time entirely, but it can give you some perspective on what should and shouldn’t be prioritized.  

Let yourself take a break 

Reading can be exhausting. Especially when you’re bombarded with required reading for classes. As an English major, it’s helpful to cut myself some slack when it comes to my independent reading endeavors. If your body is telling you it is sick of consuming content, listen to it. The key is to avoid overwhelming yourself. Of course, if it has been a while and you feel the need to dive back in, that’s okay. Just know that there’s no rush; all the books you’ve been meaning to read will still be there when you emerge from your slump. 

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