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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday Discussion: Slumpbusters; Breaking Reader's Block



We've all been there.  Novels, novels everywhere, and not a one to read. At some point, it happens to every reader, no matter how large their library or varied their tastes. There we are, happily turning pages or scrolling through our e-readers, not a care in the world, engulfed by a great romance novel, breathless with anticipation. Will our lovers beat the impossible odds? Well, of course, it's a romance, but still, the antagonist is a match for them, history may not be on their side, there's a war brewing, technology has run amok, there's an evil ex lurking in the wings or any one of a thousand other obstacles. Maybe the fate of an entire series rests in this one volume. Finally, finally, we get to the end, give a happy sigh or triumphant fistpump at the lovers reaching their HEA at last, but then it's time to pick a new book, and nothing seems right. 



There's no worse feeling for an avid reader than staring at an empty bookshelf, except a towering TBR of much-anticipated reads that now seem as appetizing as wet cardboard. Sure, we wanted these books when we bought, downloaded, or checked them out, and we still want to read them...someday. Not today, though, and there's the problem. It's an itch we can't scratch, that restless, edgy feeling.

This is different from merely not knowing what to read next, and sometimes, we're spoiled for choice. This is the restless pacing of a caged tiger, wanting to tear into another great book, only nothing appeals? Contemporary? Nah, live that every day. Historical? Too old-timey. Paranormal? Too outlandish. Category? Too short. Romantic suspense? Too scary. We sort through our keeper stacks, setting aside favorite after favorite with a resounding "meh." The dread creeps in. Have we lost that loving feeling? Is the love affair with romance gone for good? That wouldn't be good at all, so what's a reader to do?

Some readers turn to old favorites, knowing that will rekindle the flame. Sometimes, a reading slump means it's time to turn to magazines for a bit, focus perhaps on pictures rather than words. For some, a break from reading is in order.  Watch TV, go to the movies, take a walk, take some pictures, try a craft, play with kids or pets, spend time with significant other. The urge to read will come back as suddenly as it left, and there's no sense rushing it. For others, this challenge becomes personal. There is something interesting in that stack, and these determined readers are going to find it, no matter how long it takes. Some take to the Internet to get recommendations or accept readers' challenges. Others jump ship for a bit and happily devour another genre until the next tempting romance comes along. Some brave souls may even try to reboot their reading mojo by reading a book they know they'll hate, because after that, anything is going to look good. 

So, dear readers, here's your chance to share your slump stories. How did your slump come about, and how did you get out of it? Who knows, the comment you leave may be a lifeline to a reader in a slump of their own. 


13 comments:

  1. When I have those times, that's when I turn to my graphic novels. Since the story supplies the visuals, it's a different reading experience and somehow relaxes my brain enough to go with the flow. I'll also read magazine articles, particularly from magazines like Vanity Fair which has some meaty stuff, and non-fiction books. I figure I'm just not in the mood for regular fiction at that point.

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  2. I'm actually in a slump right now. The few books I've picked up are left unfinished, the books that I want to read are left unread and the books that I want to review are left unreviewed. It seems like listening to audiobooks is the only way for me to finish a book!


    So for right now, I'll try to eat, watch a movie, and sleep. Maybe binge watch Game of Thrones or Walking Dead? LOL

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  3. Anna Carrasco BowlingJune 28, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    Zeee. slumps are the worst. That's exactly what happens, and it's maddening. Audiobooks are a great way to sneak around reader's block. There's something soothing about having someone read a story to me that can cut through the meh.

    Movies are always good, and a binge TV watch is a wonderful pleasure. Doing that with Mad Men right now. A binge watch of Walking Dead could count as practice for next weekend's marathon. :)

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  4. Anna Carrasco BowlingJune 28, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    I agree on graphic novels. I've been known to comfort-read The Walking Dead.

    Sometimes magazines or nonfiction are exactly what the brain needs for a while, and the TBR pile will always be there.

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  5. I've been in a reading slump for a few weeks. Even reading some books from my favorite authors isn't working :-( So I have decided to forgo reading for a month. Maybe then my desire to read will come back.

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  6. Anna Carrasco BowlingJune 28, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Carol, I'm sorry to hear of your slump. If even favorite rereads aren't working, sometimes the best cure is exactly what you've planned. A short break can do wonders to bring back that book-loving feeling. Hope you're immersed in a great book when the time is right.

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  7. Whenever I reach a romance slump, I return to the genre I used to read before historical romance entered my life. I read a crime novel preferably a Michael Connelly book or I watch a Poirot or Miss Marple DVD.

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  8. Anna Carrasco BowlingJune 28, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    Carol, turning to another beloved genre is a great idea, in books or film. Poirot and Miss Marple are classics.

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  9. I hit the public domain sites and Study Something. Then I talk it to death, either at my children or the fish, neither minds. When my voice gives out, I'm ready to read again.

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  10. Anna Carrasco BowlingJune 29, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    Katie, that's perfect. I love blabbering about the latest subject of interest, and excitement breeds excitement. Great plan.

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  11. I had a couple of DNF historical romance books, one by an author I usually love & 1 that had been recommended by a few blogs. I just wasn't in the mood for historical, so I switched to contemporary. I find that short books with little conflict work - Janet Evanovich and Jennifer Crusie have some older, non-series books that are romantic and funny. You get them read fast & get a sense of accomplishment without getting too deep.

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  12. Whoops~ I missed Saturday's post. LOL

    As for me I'm still jumping in and out of the slump monster! OMG I have all these print books and I got nothing! Absolutely nothing! It all started last August, 2013 ---or was it July of that year? No!! It was December of 2012!--- Ugh, that when I started sloping downward. I was graduating college Spring of 2013 and had to hold back my readings so that's what got me so backed up! And you know I was up to date with new books and finishing them on time so when I had to stop reading it was a disaster! I still had to buy all the new releases as they came out. The horror when they started piling up! I wanted to get in the know with the new books so even if I knew I won't have time to read them but hoping to sneak some reading time whenever I could, which never happened... argh, I bought them. Like crazy! And then I got a job in August.....Ugh all the reading time wasted at work! So yeah, I'm still in the stoop and it's not getting any better. I have moved from Historical romances and into Erotics, BDSM, Menages, and NAs~ I know, so far from Historicals but they're interesting..... ;) But it's getting back to me slowly, very slowly. I haven't even touched a great Historical in forever it seems! Dang~ But I'm hoping to get back to the Historicals this fall so wish me luck!

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  13. I am in such a fix too! Every book I read these days, I end up finding numerous faults. It is frustrating! As if, I have finished reading all the good books and now, there are none.
    Or maybe everything has just become formulaic for me.

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