Every reader hits a slump from time to time. Sometimes it’s a change in life circumstances. Other times it’s boredom. COVID has changed a lot of readers’ habits this year. I’ve heard several people admit to being in a slump or having a hard time reading with so much chaos going on in our world right now.
I’ve hit my own slumps in the past. Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to help get back into a good reading routine and find joy in books again. Here are some things that have worked for me.
1. Change genres.
When my boys were young, I’d just started finding time to read more when I decided to go back to school. After I graduated in 2013, I was excited to finally have a chance to read again, but I found myself in a reading slump. Nothing appealed to me. I found myself bored with the type of books I’d read before kids and college. Months went by, and I was barely reading. I needed a change.
The movie Mockingjay was set to release in late 2014, and that summer everyone was buzzing about the books. After several friends recommended the series, I finally picked up The Hunger Games from our library’s reading app. I hadn’t read dystopian fiction since I read Fahrenheit 451 in junior high, so it was a new genre for me. With the first book, my reading slump was broken. I was hooked. I read the entire series in a few days. Changing genres led me to lots of new books and new authors, and my slump was broken.
2. Reread a favorite.
This has been an unusual reading year for me. I usually don’t reread many books. There are so many great stories out there that I’m always looking for something new. But this year I’ve revisited so many old favorites. I’ve reread the Chronicles of Narnia and The Hunger Games trilogy. I’m reading Tuck Everlasting, a book I loved as a child, for the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge – it’s a book published in the decade I was born. Closer to Christmas, I plan to reread Little Women, the book that has shaped my life more than any other. Sometimes revisiting an old friend reminds you of why you fell in love with reading in the first place.
3. Switch formats.
Life circumstances can change your reading habits a lot. When we moved to Oklahoma last year, I found work in a nearby town. The drive meant that I spent 35 to 45 minutes driving to work. Suddenly I was spending as much as an hour and a half commuting every day. With a full time job, family, home, church, and other commitments, that didn’t leave me with much time to read. Audiobooks became my main reading method. Thanks to the Hoopla app and my library card, I got tons of reading done on that commute.
Recently I accepted a job right in the town where we live. My commute is now five minutes. I still listen to audiobooks when I’m crocheting or working around the house, but I find myself reading ebooks and physical books a lot more. I’m so glad for all the options readers have now!
4. Read a YA or middle grade book.
C. S. Lewis said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” He was right. As an adult, I’ve found that I love my childhood favorite books as much or more than I did as a child. The Chronicles of Narnia, Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet, and classics like L. M. Montgomery’s Anne series often take on a new, deeper meaning when read as an adult. I’ve even read a few classic books that I missed when I was younger. The Giver became an immediate favorite when I read it a few years ago.
5. Read with a theme.
Have you heard of a “book flight”? Anne Bogel explains this concept in a Modern Mrs. Darcy post. It’s basically a grouping of books that pair well together. Emily C. Gardner has some great examples on her blog. Here’s a sisters book flight and a Jane Eyre book flight that look great! Choose a few books about a topic that fascinates you and read them together. It could be books set in a city you love, books about food, or books about an event in history. Do a little research and dive in.
What have your reading habits been like this year? Have you hit a reading slump this year or in the past? If you’ve been through one, what helped you break out?