Saturday, December 10, 2016

10 Tips to Get Over the Reading Slump

As a librarian, I get asked all the time, “I can’t find anything to read” or “I don’t like anything I read lately.” If you’re one of those thinking those very things right now, you’re not alone. Everyone at one point or another hits what I call the “reluctant reader” stage, even if they’ve been an avid reader. Even I have hit that slump on occasion. Here are some tips that I use with reluctant readers that will help you get back on your reading game.

1.    Make a Short List of Your Interests Besides Reading. Then, Try Searching For Books Related to Them

Most books are not a “one size fits all” type of read. Everyone has things they like to do, watch, talk about, or want to learn about. These are often what we as librarian call built-in appeal factors. They can be a great starting place to help you find your next read. By simply searching on Amazon, Goodreads, or even through your local library’s database/catalog, you may find your next “good book” to read.

2.   Now For Something Completely Different

Maybe you’re not finding what you want to read, because you’re looking in the wrong place. If you know you like fantasy or mystery, think about what you like about those. Is it the action? The plot? Characters? More importantly, what do you like that it doesn’t have (ex. Romance, irrelevant characters). Many of those traits can be found or not found in other genres, so try something that’s outside of your comfort zone. A local librarian, reviews on book sites, or this YouTube channel would be a great tool at this stage. With but a few books you’ve liked and/or appeal factors, librarians are fellow book geeks, frequently are on these sites, and are masterminds at finding something you might enjoy.

3.    Try an Audiobook

There are some books out that may not appeal to you in print form, but you may love as an audiobook. Audiobooks are like a movie in your mind. They go for literary as well as entertainment value. There’s a reason actors often make good narrators. A good narrator will use different voices, good pacing, and a bit of dramatic flare to draw you into the book they’re narrating. If you love their narration, you’re more likely to pick up another of their books, so this can lead to a new “reading binge” for you. Some of my favorite narrators who do all ages of books include Jim Dale, Barbara Rosenblat, Lorelei King, Graham Holstead, and Tavia Gilbert. You may even recognize a few. Also, the Audie Awards and Odyssey Award are great resources. These are audiobook-specific awards, so they’re solely rated on how well the narrator brings the story to life.

4.    Read a Book That a Movie Was Based Off Of

Have a favorite movie? Was it a book first? There’s a reason so many books have lately been made into movies. They not only lend themselves to being “movies in your mind,” but they add the extra fun of watching it on the big screen later. (Please Note: It’s always better to read the book before watching the movie).  To be a movie, books have to have entertainment value, so they can appeal to readers as well as non-reader audience watchers. This is why they are more likely to get you out of a reading slump. If you don’t have any in mind right off hand, try an internet search for “Books Made Into Movies.”  Watch their trailers. Chances are if the movie trailer appealed to you, the book will too.

5.    Check if Some of Your Favorite Authors Have New Books Out

Authors frequently have new books out or coming out. They may even write under pseudonyms or have novellas they’ve posted in e-book format. If they have one coming out soon, it never hurts to go back and re-read a series to refresh your memory on where the author left off.

    6.   Check What’s Popular or Ask a Friend
Book sites everywhere have a “Top 10” or Top 100” list. These books are popular for a reason. Check them out, read the descriptions, read a page or two in the middle of a book sample (to see if you like it). New York Times puts out a weekly bestseller list as well for non-fiction, fiction, paperback, and Children’s books. If you want something a little more personal, suggestions from someone who knows you, ask a friend who loves to read. Some of the best books I’ve read came from a friend or family member's suggestion.

7.    Check Good Reads, Library Thing, or Other Book-Friendly Social Media Sites

Both Good Reads and Library Thing have lists that people have created/tagged. By simply searching their lists for “fantasy,” “popular debut novels,” or anything else that interests you, you can find a multitude of possible books to read. Most titles, you’ll find, have reviews, descriptions, and links to where you can find the books. Other sites I like include Pinterest, Read Brightly (for Children’s and YA reads), and Book Riot. . People post all sorts of book-related content to enjoy. Jokes or read alike are but a few things you’ll find.

8.   Find out What Your Favorite Author Recommends/Blogs About

Most authors have an online presence. This may be an official Facebook, Twitter, or Website. Within those sites they’ll keep their readers coming back by blogging about what they’re reading or what they recommend, because these are FAQs they get. If anything, you’re still reading and it might get you by until you find a new book to read.

9.    Join a Reading Challenge

Every New Year, various sites will post a “reading challenge” for the year. You can find these pretty easily through internet searches, Social Media posts, and Pinterest. Even if you don’t necessarily like what you read for the challenge, it gives you self-motivation to achieve your goal of continuing to read and finishing the challenge.  Also, people will pin, tweet, Facebook, post, etc. what they’re reading for the challenge, which might spark your interest.

10.    Try Your Old Stand-Bys

Even I have to admit that when push comes to shove, I’ll return to old favorites when I’m stumped for a book to read or listen to. There’s a reason they’re your favorites. They’re that way, because they hit all the right notes when you read them the first time, they have a nostalgic factor for you, and will most likely remind you why you loved reading in the first place. Another way to accomplish this is to read to someone else. Not only does it create a bond between you two, but it give you the chance to feed off someone else’s reading enjoyment.

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