The Dreaded Reading Slump (and a brief January retrospective)
Today, I updated my books read page with my February list. Although we’re almost halfway through the month, it went quite quickly: I’ve only finished four books, and that includes my bedtime audiobook (as opposed to my regular audiobook, I only listen to this one to help me fall asleep and it has to fit strict ‘no nightmare inducing’ criteria; lately Georgette Heyer has been fitting the bill but now I’ve discovered some Trollope audiobooks and plan to reread the Barsetshire Chronicles). Considering I usually read twenty to thirty books a month, I think it’s official: I’ve been in a reading slump.
On Monday, I was feeling a bit despondent, for no apparent reason. And then I realised I’d barely been opening books at all, and that I couldn’t point to much else I’ve been doing instead, other than trip planning and some knitting. But certainly nothing solid enough to account for only reading four books over almost two weeks! No wonder I felt a bit lost and disconnected.
I have no idea what causes reading slumps: they can certainly be related to my health, as during flare-ups my brain finds it more difficult to read and I can’t always physically hold a book. But I tend to realise this nowadays and opt for lighter or more engaging books during those times, and my ereader fixes the second problem. This time, I just seemed to feel antsy whenever I sat down to read, and found myself reaching for my phone and some internet browsing instead, in between the little daily tasks of living, and then suddenly my day had disappeared.
So I did the only logical thing on Monday night: I went to my bookcase and picked up Dorothy Dunnett’s Niccolo Rising. I only fit in fifty pages before bed, but I woke up on Tuesday wanting nothing more than to get back to the book. I finished it yesterday (leading to a later than usual evening walk for Thistle), and I believe it’s broken my slump and helped turn around my mood. I can’t get back the potential of the lost days of early February, but I hope to read as much as possible during the rest of the month! This experience has reminded me to check in with myself; hopefully in the future I’ll notice more quickly when a reading slump has begun, so that I can reach for a trusted author to break me out of it. After all, what’s a reader without books? In my case, a dissatisfied, restless, touchy sort of creature who focuses on improving everything in sight, thus overlooking the quiet richness of her life. Thank goodness the remedy is so simple.
Do reading slumps affect your moods, or vice versa? I genuinely seem to become a sadder person if I go without at least an hour or two of reading a day.
To end on a more cheerful note, do all of you WordPress bloggers know about the ‘gallery’ feature? I’m using it on my books read page this year, and it’s so fun (and easy) to see a collage of covers representing each month! Here’s a pictorial representation of January:
It was an interesting month for me, with a mix of new authors and old favourites, but definitely heavily weighted towards fiction. I realise I didn’t blog about many of these books, so this is your chance to ask me questions about any that might catch your eye!