How to get out of a reading slump

When you read when you’re sad, but you’re too sad to read

Once upon a time I could read several books a week, and that doesn’t include class readings. Now, I can barely muster up enough energy to read for class. This isn’t the first time I’ve hit a reading slump, but it’s definitely the most prolonged. For any of you out there experiencing the same thing, these are the tips and tricks I use to get out of a reading slump.

My first tip, and arguably my most controversial, is don’t finish a book if you don’t like it. I used to be determined to finish books that I didn’t jive with. That is, until I realized nobody was forcing me to besides myself. I say this tip is controversial because I know some people who really don’t believe in not finishing what you start. And, hey, that’s okay too. I, however, just can’t justify sitting through a book I don’t like. 

If you pick up a book you’re not sure you will like, try borrowing it from the library or a friend. That way, you won’t be spending money on a book you potentially won’t finish. If you do end up buying a book you don’t like, you can always re-sell it on Facebook marketplace, donate it, or find a local bookstore that buys back books in exchange for in-store credit. 

My next tip is to try an audiobook; that way, you can multitask. Listen to your book while cooking dinner, doing laundry, or at the gym (this one might seem a little weird, but trust me). Many audiobooks are available on YouTube and Spotify for free; you don’t need to have a premium account to access them. You can also try Libby, the library app. Just download the app and log in with your library card.

If audiobooks aren’t for you, try reading short stories or novellas. These take less time to read and can often be read in one short sitting. You may even be surprised by the number of authors that have published short stories, and you might stumble upon some of your favorites. Popular authors like Sally Rooney have short stories you can find with a simple Google search. I recommend reading Rooney’s short story “Mr Salary.” If you’re a fan of Taylor Jenkins Reid, whose book Daisy Jones and The Six was recently adapted to screen, try her short story “Evidence of the Affair.”

Another option is reading something light and fun. Reading doesn’t have to be serious and academic all the time. Try picking up a rom-com, a thriller, or even some young adult fiction. Maybe try re-reading the books you loved in middle school, like Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games or John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. 

Last, but not least, be patient with yourself. There is no need to pressure yourself into reading. If you’re like me and you just don’t have the energy right now, that’s okay too. The best part about books is that they are there whenever you are ready to read them.

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