The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Are you a self-proclaimed reader or book-lover struggling to finish books these days? Do you often find yourself reminiscing wistfully on moments from your childhood when you could read a book in a day and then beat yourself up for no longer being able to do that as an adult? Do you pick up a book, read a couple of pages and then swap it out for some mindless scrolling on your phone? If you answered yes to these questions, you may be experiencing a reading slump.
Reading slumps can be discouraging, but there are many ways to overcome them. Here are a few tips to help get you back into the swing of reading:
Pick up an old favourite.
Rereading your favourite books from childhood or books that you’ve enjoyed in the past can be the gateway back into reading consistently. If you already know and love the characters, plot or themes, then there’s less pressure to push your way through to the end because you actually want to spend time with the story. Middle-grade and young adult favourites are particularly great to reread as they tend to be less complex in their writing style and are easy to breeze through. Rereading something that you once loved can feel like putting on a cozy sweatshirt or eating some comfort food – it makes you feel good! If you’re struggling to finish the books you’re picking up, this may be a good place to start.
Let me tell you something from personal experience – the larger the book, the less likely you are to finish it if you already feel like you don’t have enough time or energy to read. Finishing a book can feel gratifying, and that sense of accomplishment will encourage you to keep going. Try starting with shorter books like novellas or even poetry collections. I find that short story collections can also be great for reading slumps because it’s easier to finish one complete narrative arc in a short amount of time, which provides that sense of accomplishment.
Switch up your reading format.
If you find that physical books are daunting or that it is difficult to focus on an actual page, you can always try audiobooks. Many libraries offer audio formats, and there are plenty of apps such as Libby or Hoopla that can connect you with books through your phone. Audiobooks are great if you are a commuter, a multitasker, or if you can’t concentrate when physically reading. If you struggle with small print, and the idea of listening to a book doesn’t sound appealing, you can also try e-books, which allow you to adjust the font size and brightness to suit your preferences.
Join or form a book club.
Accountability can help you stay motivated to read. Joining a book club will not only provide you with the necessary motivation but it also takes the element of choice away from you. Selecting a book can be half the battle, and that’s eliminated if other people, or a group, collectively pick the book for you. If you like engaging with the material you read, a book club is a fun yet structured way to delve back into reading, discover new favourites and meet new people. There are plenty of online book clubs that you can join, but I highly recommend starting one with some friends who also enjoy reading. I started a book club with a few of my friends in the summer of 2020 as a way to stay connected amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It was very successful; now we all read more because we want to show up and engage with each other about the content we are reading.
Try a graphic novel.
Graphic novels can be a great bridge between the world of TV and books. If you’re into the fast-paced nature of TV and want quick yet exciting reads, graphic novels will provide you with that kind of stimulation. There are graphic novels in most genres, so if you used to read a lot of fantasy or horror but have drifted away from regular books, a graphic novel may help pull you back in.
Don’t force yourself to make it to the end.
This seems intuitive but sometimes we need a reminder: You don’t have to finish books you aren’t enjoying! Life’s too short. Pushing through bad books, or books you only feel “meh” about will worsen your reading slump. Isn’t it more enjoyable to read one book over a few months that you really love than fly through 10 books you hate? Don’t just read for reading’s sake – you should be enjoying it!
Reading can be a daunting task, especially if you look at it like an activity you have to do. So, here’s one last *unofficial* tip: Don’t beat yourself up for not wanting to read. Life can get in the way of our hobbies sometimes, and it’s okay if you go a few months without reading. Hobbies stop becoming hobbies when we put too much pressure on ourselves to perform them. Reading should be a form of escapism, pleasure and relaxation, not another reason to stress out!