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How to Break Your Book Slump

by Beth Cranford

There are few words as fearsome to a romance reader as “book slump.” I have nothing whatsoever to back up that assertation, but man, if you go into any reader group or talk to a book friend, and tell them that you’re broken and can’t read, you can practically feel the mood change. A pall falls over the conversation. Hands fly to necks and hearts in horror. “Poor thing,” they whisper to one another, “they’re in a *lowers voice* book slump.” If you weren’t already engaged in a long-distance online friendship, they’d probably be backing away slowly, hoping you won’t pass along your reading woes, trying to placate you as they do.

Okay, okay, so that’s a (very) slightly exaggerated version of what really happens, but you can’t deny that being unable to read is painful. Readers read, y’all. If you can’t read, are you even a reader?

OF COURSE YOU ARE.

This is all dramatics and tongue-in-cheek ridiculousness because I’ve had too much cake and coffee today. But that doesn’t change the fact that when reading isn’t working for you, you need something to break to slump — or something to do until it comes to its natural conclusion. I decided to take it upon myself to find out the myriad ways my friends have found to do exactly that, and after adding them to my own methods, have come up with a list of suggestions that not being able to read might just drive you to try.

Godspeed!

It’s hard to find a picture that accurately conveys rereading, so here’s a quote instead.

THE CLASSIC METHOD

Reread a favorite book or series. Something you know you can rely on to entertain you, to keep you turning pages, to give you a reason to stay up way, way past your bedtime reading. Every single one of my friends — and I mean, Every. Single. One — mentioned rereading an old fave as a tried-and-true method of breaking the slump. I know I do it. Constantly. I mean, I have read some books so many times, I could probably quote them word-for-word, just like my sister used to do with the movie Phar Lap. “He wasn’t just a horse. He was the best.”


But hey, if you’ve tried it to no avail, never fear, because you can always try . . .

This is not the cake that resulted in *gestures vaguely* all this, but it looks yum, so 🤷🏻‍♀️

THE STREAMING SOLUTION

Binge-watching a television series was a popular suggestion. For some, it’s a show that they love — so, basically employing the classic method but, like, the “Adapted for the Small Screen” version. For others, it’s finding a new show and going nuts watching all the episodes in as little time as possible. Now, as I have never binge-watched a show, I can’t speak to the effectiveness of this particular slump-breaking tool, but I do like anything that gives me leave to re-watch The Great British Bake-Off (sorry, The Great British Baking Show) for the 70th time. Sheer perfection.

But maybe that’s not for you, which is why I think perhaps you should make . . .

I really wanted to put a picture of Poppy and Filbert here but I was worried about being sued.

A GAMING GAMBIT

You gotta give gaming a chance, my friends, if you haven’t already. This is my personal go-to after the classic method, because as my bio below will tell you, I am kind of obsessed with Animal Crossing (and now Stardew Valley) on the Nintendo Switch. (Side note: if this color had been available when I was buying my Switch, I’d have snagged it.) I love these games because they’re low stakes but engaging, fun but don’t have any pressure to finish levels or shoot your way out of somewhere, and, in the case of Animal Crossing, cute as hell. (Shoutout to my sweet angel Poppy and my cute but dumb pal Filbert.)

Of course, not everyone has the means to build themselves an adorable island getaway or rescue their grandfather’s farm from failure, so that’s why I’m also including . . .

He’s wearing a mask, knitting, and (I assume) there’s a book nearby off-camera. #DreamGuy

A CREATIVE PURSUIT

Knitting! Yes, I said knitting, and I said it with gusto! A friend of mine actually combines knitting with The Streaming Solution, and the result is usually a good one. Grab some wool, a pattern, some knitting needles, and flick on the TV — you have a beanie to make and a series that needs to be watched in 24 hours or less. (For legal purposes, that timeline is inaccurate and a joke. You can totally take more than 24 hours.) If knitting isn’t for you, maybe embroidery is more your style, or drawing, writing, painting, and so on. This method isn’t limited solely to knitting — anything that uses your brain creatively works.

Unless it doesn’t work, in which case, it might just be time to employ the . . .

Using a picture of myself eating was out of the question, so you get a “cheerful white woman.”

THE THIS-IS-TOTALLY-A-METHOD METHOD

Do it. We both know you’ve been thinking about it. Eat your feelings. Admittedly this one is less of a method and more of a way of life for some of us, but whatever. If it works, it works. I just hope for your sake that your feelings are satisfied by lettuce or green beans or quinoa, because eating well (and getting a good amount of sleep) is probably a much better solution. It’s not as fun as eating your way through an entire bag of salt and vinegar chips and regretting it immediately because your mouth is a dried-up husk, sadly.

At least it won’t make you feel like you have to get. . .

Look, it worked! She didn’t even get her skates off before she started reading again! A miracle!

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR

Get outside and get some fresh air, exercise optional (advised post-chips though). I can personally attest to the exhilaration and terror of rollerblading in your late thirties. I decided I wanted to give it a go for the first time in 20 years last summer and it was super fun. Will it cure your book slump? I have no idea. My higher education is limited to a Bachelor of Arts, so I am in no way qualified to give you any kind of real advice, but I will say that being outside and finding a form of exercise that I could do with my kids — and still smile about — helped me deal with some issues arising from my mental illness, so ending a book slump shouldn’t be too hard. Should it? And look, even if you don’t want to exercise, getting outside is better than sitting inside staring at your Kindle or phone or paperback and cursing it for betraying you, so it’s worth a shot. Isn’t it?

And there you have it. Six tried-and-maybe-true ways of saying goodbye to your e-reader dysfunction and hello to a new book or ten. Let me know if you’ve tried (successfully or otherwise) any of these suggestions, or if you have a different one that we all need to know about!

Oh, and if you know how to make the cake pictured above, I’d like to know. For . . . research.

About Beth

Beth Cranford was born and raised in Australia, but followed her heart (and her husband) to the United States in her late 20s. As the mother of two kids, she’s learned that you can turn anything into a song and that slime does not belong in carpeted areas (or polite society). You can most often find her with her Kindle in hand, listening to Taylor Swift on repeat, or spending way too many hours playing Animal Crossing.

Follow her @BethCranford on B+M Bites.

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2 Replies to “How to Break Your Book Slump”

LJO says:

I am slooooooowly coming out of my slump and can attest to the re-read method. Will let you know about the baked goods bc now I need a slab o’cake.

Beth Cranford says:

I’m glad you’re putting in your rearview. They are the worst! (And definitely let me know about the baked goods. I can always come visit… LOL).

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