One thing I’ve learned by struggling to motivate myself to do even things I typically love is that sometimes strategies and plans have to change. In most cases you come up with a new plan and attack it with some reward at the end, but what if it’s something you love, but you’re busy or just drained from the other parts of your life? That changes things, and most times makes it really difficult to do much about it. These picks are for those times where you just need to rethink what/how you read to work with what’s going on in your life. These have helped in the midst of 2020, and in the current slump I’ve experienced, so hopefully they might help you too in your reading time of need.
- Manga / Graphic Novels
- This isn’t a diss on manga or graphic novels, which are two separate types of visual story telling, but a recommendation based on the fact that sometimes mixing up the type of storytelling in your reading can well, help you read. I’ve gotten obsessed with web comics/toons, so picking up a physical copy of a manga helped get me off my phone and reading a book that could contribute to my reading challenge. My latest read was Orange by Ichigo Takano, and don’t let the idea of manga steer you to believe it’s solely about ninjas/action (Shonen), or cutesy characters going to school, Orange in particular is centered around the concept of a student who the main lead goes to class with dying young, and her efforts to change that from happening. It’s a sad premise for a book, but just in the first book I’ve loved how it’s tackled, and all of the characters involved. Manga and Graphic Novels provide a wide range of stories and genres, but offer a different format if you find picking up a standard novel just isn’t what you need at the moment.
- Audio Books
- This is one way of reading that I personally have not done as well with, mainly because I actually tend to enjoy the act of sitting down and immersing myself in a book. Audiobooks typically are what I reach for on the occasion where I’m just completely unable to sit myself down and focus on a book. The last one I listened to was actually a book I wouldn’t have been able to read myself since it was a history book with over 1,000 pages. I am a solely fiction reader when it comes to my free time reading, so having someone read it to me was the only way I would ever have been able to read that. With this grouping, I’d say narrator is key. We all remember the audiobooks we had to listen to in class, and how you were more likely to be put to sleep than be completely enthralled by the story. Audiobooks have come a long way from that in most cases, and at the very least, most sellers provide samples so you know whether you are borrowing/buying a dry narrator, or an amazing one.
- Reread a Book/Series you love
- I feel like when in doubt, picking up a book you already love, and are obsessed with gives you a good way to jump back into your reading without the hassle of closely following the story/story world, or whether you like it. This was my big trick in 2020 to get myself reading, I ended up rereading the Folk of the Air series, and the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Both just gave me an easy way back in, and a chance to re-enjoy some characters I’ve loved for so long. I’m not typically a re-reader, but in both cases it had been long enough since the initial reading, and both have romances that I really enjoyed.
- Get a highly anticipated release
- If it’s your current selection giving you the blues, then the one solution that usually has helped is to go to the bookstore and pick up a book you’ve been really excited to get, or have been holding off on. Sometimes working on what you already have can be a great motivator to clear up your tbr, but at some points it helps to buy/borrow a book and immediately sit down and read it.
- Pick up an Easier Read
- I feel like calling a book an easier read will make someone mad, but this is the easy way to say that genre you get because it doesn’t necessarily challenge you. If I’ve been struggling to read, the worst thing I could possibly do is pick up that dense Fantasy novel, or take a stab at a hard to read classic. In that case, I go for a Romance if that’s what I’m feeling, or a YA novel in whatever genre I’m feeling at the time. Both of those book groups typically jump into their storytelling, or at least present some type of storytelling method that hooks me from the beginning versus the slow buildup in the standard Fantasy, or the difficult styling of a classic.
I feel like we’ve all hit a reading slump at one point in our lives, or definitely did during 2020. With the added stress in our lives, or complicated to do lists that seem to pile up, reading isn’t always an easy thing to do. What solutions have you found to combat your reading slumps? Let me know in the comments below!
Graphic novels and reading easier material are definitely great ways to get into things, especially when the reading process seems to feel like a drag. Those help reduce friction for me. Great pointers here. Thanks for sharing!