When I was younger, you could barely catch me without a book in my hand. Visiting a relative? I needed something to read while all the adults talked, of course. Long car journey? A book was essential to pass the time. Going to a restaurant? Waiting for food food was perfect reading time. I could finish books in a matter of hours, even less sometimes.
So what has changed?
I still love reading; being able to escape from reality into an entirely new world is amazing, conjuring up characters and landscapes purely through words. However, though I did have books to read for university, my focus turned to writing. Once finishing university, I carried on with my novel, and now I’m developing my illustration, as well as running this blog! Any spare time I have, I turn to gaming or watching Netflix, because they require less effort than reading.
But reading shouldn’t be a chore, especially when I know how much I love it! It’s not just my other interests which have distracted me from reading, but I think my choice of books. Earlier this year, I read Good Omens, and because I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, I struggled through it for months. I didn’t pick up anything else until I finished it; I read both One of Us is Lying and The Hate U Give swiftly, before moving onto Beren and Luthien by Tolkien…which I still haven’t finished!
I think because this book is quite heavy material, a lot of backstory from Christopher Tolkien, with alternating passages or stories, and pages of songs, it’s a struggle to read when I want to relax. Even though I’m enjoying it, it’s intense for someone trying to get back into reading!
That’s why I want to set myself some goals, as well as give you some advice on how to get out of a reading slump if you’re in the same position as me!
Re-read a favourite book
Returning to a book that you’ve read so many times, that’s familiar and comforting, is something that I hope will ease me back into reading again. The story isn’t new to you and therefore you don’t have to be quite as switched on as reading a new book, though I do love that excitement. I’m thinking something like Prisoner of Azkaban, which is one of my favourite books in the Harry Potter series. It will be a reminder of why you love reading and the fun of it, rather than feeling like it’s a task, not a hobby. It’ll be helpful if it’s not a long book either, which leads me to my next point.
Read a book that’s short but sweet
As mentioned, I’ve been reading Beren and Luthien, which is a mixture of various writing from Tolkien, rather than a complete novel. This disrupts the flow of reading for me as there are non-fiction parts as well as the different stories. I also have the third book in the Game of Thrones series on the go, and the size of it is overwhelming and I really want to be in the right space of mind to take it all in!
This is why I think reading a shorter book, that’s not full of heavy fantasy which you need to concentrate for, may be how I can challenge this reading slump. I have many books on my book shelf, some that I haven’t read or perhaps read once a long time ago. I’m thinking of reading one of these, to have a book I can finish in a couple of days and just enjoy, rather than trying to keep up with characters.
Don’t be afraid to DNF
The thought of not finishing a book I’m reading always makes me feel so guilty, which is why with Good Omens, I was determined to finish it. I’m glad I did because I did like the overall story, but it took me so long that all other books were forgotten about. I think the right thing to do if you’re not enjoying a book is to put it down and read something else, returning to it when you’ve had a break.
However, there is no shame in stopping it completely if it’s really not the book for you. Reading is definitely going to feel like a task if you’re not enjoying and it wastes time when you could be discovering a book that you love! I’ve been guilty of not reading because the books I have on the go are heavy, but reading a light-hearted book will hopefully mean I can return to the bigger books eager to finish them. This doesn’t mean I dislike the books and want to DNF them, I just need to get back into reading them before tackling them!
Allocate time for reading
In the evening, I have so many games to play that I make time to play those, alongside any TV shows I have to watch. So why don’t I make time for my other passion, reading? I tend to scroll on my phone right before bed, so I’d like to swap this half an hour for reading instead. This is much better use of my time and will encourage me to get into a routine, as well as resting my eyes from screens for I sleep.
However, you shouldn’t feel pressured to stick to this time every day. If you feel like reading in the morning instead, go for it, or if you want to skip one night, that’s okay too. I’m going to set a reminder on my phone each night but if I don’t feel like it, I’m not going to force myself into it. I feel like this is going to help me dedicate my time to books though, and allow me to really enjoy it again!
I hope this will help anyone who is in their own reading slump, and encourage me to get out of mine! Have you got any tips for getting back into reading? Let me know down in the comments and thank you for reading!