|My brain in a reading rut|
I feel like there are two definitions of a reading rut: either you're stuck in one genre (help! I'm stuck in a genre and I can't get out!), or you're just stuck in general. You've tried a million different books, but they're just not clicking for you. You've stopped and started a million times, and while usually you're gobbling down books like they're potatoes chips, for some reason things have slooooowed dowwwwwn.
This post is about the second type: the reading brain block. Otherwise known as the book blogger's most deadly affliction.
Some of you are probably looking at
Picture the scene: the humble book blogger sits in her room, gazing sadly at the ceiling. Books overflow from her shelves, piled into stacks three feet high, spilling over the floor. She thumbs through her e-reader and sees over a hundred unread books. Heaps of reviews are due. The people expect them, and the publishers expect them, but there's just one problem. SHE'S GOT NOTHING TO READ! Every book she picks up might as well be written in a foreign language, because something just isn't working.
|Gillian will stop talking about herself in the third person now.|
This is how I was two weeks ago. Things just weren't grabbing me. I wasn't in the right headspace or something, and it was devastating. My favorite feeling in the world is falling so deeply into a book that it just swallows me whole, and I forget I'm even on planet earth and that I'm more than just a pair of eyeballs blazing across pages. But you can't force that to happen, sadly.
But in the end, I managed to break out of my reading rut (huzzah!), and it ended up being very educational. Now I shall share with you a few of the tips I picked up for busting free.
Get thee to a library! When I buy books from bookstores or online, I always feel enormous pressure to read it, even if it's not grabbing me, because I paid good money. I owe it to my wallet and the good meal I gave up in exchange for purchasing the book to read the darn thing and read it now. But often when you feel pressured to read a certain book, those are the times where it just ain't happenin'. So the library is a perfect place to grab something for free. If you don't find the time or impetus to get into the borrowed book, then no worries! It either goes back to the library and you get something new, or you try taking it out another week. No consequences.
Read a sequel you are positively salivating for. You're already eager for it. You already know and love the characters, so there won't be that awkward first-date period where you're wary and you're brow is furrowed and you're withholding judgment.
|Harry is doubtful.|
My rut basically ended the day I got Unravel Me, and it sparked the magic. I got it at about three in the afternoon and finished it around eleven. AND I went out to dinner that night like an actual socializing person (which I am not. I mean, I'm still a PERSON, but I tend to not be the best with situations that are social. I didn't even want to GO to dinner, but I was forced by people who have no patience for bookish shut-ins).
Choose a genre you really, unapologetically love. One you're predisposed to enjoy, and hits you where you're hittable. Love books with ghosts? Try horror. Love magic? Pick up a fantasy.
I recommend, though, that you try contemporary. Unless you're one of those people who just can't STAND it, of course, but I think it's the best way to ease yourself back into the rhythm of reading. And while I run into a lot of contemporaries that just don't work for me, a really fun and funny contemp read is the perfect thing to pull me out of a reading brain block. For one, there's no tricky worldbuilding. It requires much less tax on your brain, because it's about the world you live in, and you already understand all the rules. You don't have to concentrate the first fifty pages or so. If I'm in a rut, my brain is overtaxed and unable to focus, which means I'm less likely to absorb crucial information.
Try setting aside a specific time for reading. Before bed, during lunch, whenever. When that time comes around, your brain will know it's time for booking (yes it's a verb), and you'll be more likely to get into your book.
Read a book that's getting a LOT of great buzz... or don't. Yeah, that one's contradictory, because it can go both ways. Either you're guaranteed a fab read, or you'll be disappointed and feel like the one dense person on the planet who just doesn't get it. Tread with caution here.
Read something that's unapologetically trashy/fluffy/funny. These are NOT BAD THINGS. They are awesome things. Find your personal guilty pleasure kryptonite, like a romance so cheesy you just know you'll roll your eyes but inside you just might be squealing. Something that won't challenge your brain cells but will engage your heart.
|My brain FINALLY GETTING BACK INTO THE SWING OF THINGS|
Read with a friend! You'll feel more motivated, plus you'll have someone to share the experience with. You can fangirl or complain together.
REREAD. Reread reread reread. Go back and revisit a book you know you love, one that is guaranteed to suck you in. It's like visiting an old friend when you need a pick me up. Preferably choose a book that you adore but perhaps haven't read in a little while. This always does the trick for me. It's like warming up before starting the big race of reading something new.
So! How do you haul yourself out of the dreaded reading rut? Are you one of those lucky people who is NEVER burnt out reading-wise? Tell us where you live, so we can throw things at you in a jealous rage (don't actually tell us where you live). Which of my tips do you think could or couldn't work for you?