Find us on Facebook
I am one of the lucky few who get to call themselves “professional readers.” Between running half a library and joining the That’s Normal book team, I am part of this special group of people that get to ask publishers for Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) and am quite often approved. I think the most hurtful thing I’ve ever said to my mom was that no, she is not a professional reader though she reads almost as much as I do.
I shouldn’t complain. But I am so good at it.
I just finished reading book 100 for the year. And I am burnt out.
I know exactly how this happened. I didn’t follow my own rule, to read diversely. I have even made myself a spreadsheet to ensure that I read across genres.
I will never not use the Hey Girl meme. Source
But then I made the mistake of catching up on my Need-to-Read pile (the real difference between the Pros and everyone who reads for entertainment is that the Pros all have a pile of books that they need to read before they get to the pile they want to read, though if you are lucky they will overlap some).
So, there I was, with the time to read what I wanted!
What happened next was what I call Buffet Eyes–you know, “your eyes are bigger than your stomach.”
By the time I finished “browsing,” I had requested nearly 60 books, almost exclusively Romance, my Genre-of-Choice. I told myself that there was no way I’d get approved for all of them. I sat there watching the approvals pour in, begging the declined number to go up. What. Did. I. Do?!
Including the two I am currently in the middle of, I have read 23 romance novels in the last month. No wonder I found myself rolling my eyes so much at the last few.
So what now? Obviously, this is not the first time I’ve done this to myself, thus the spreadsheet. So, if you are in a bit of a reading slump, or feel one coming on, like myself, here are a few things I’ve done in the past (and doing now) to fix it.
No matter how much you love your job, you need to take a break. What’s the old saying, once you start getting paid to do something, you’ll stop loving it. DON’T let this happen. I forced myself to take 24 hours without touching a book. This may sound easy to you, but I have an audiobook in my car, one on my phone to listen to while I’m doing menial tasks like dishes and cooking, and eBooks on my phone that I can pull out during commercials or hockey games (hey, I try to pay attention but rarely last longer than the first period. I simply can’t keep track of that little puck). There’s a reason I can hit more than 150 books in a year; I am always reading.
You can give yourself a week or two (I just can’t even do that, have already listened to both audiobooks today before I got to work), but no longer. Because it can quickly spiral into two, three years. This sounds unbelievable, but I know more librarians than you would believe who haven’t read in years.
Use Goodreads; Pinterest has a bizzilion genre lists and is one of my favorite book suggestion sources; ask a friend who reads differently than you; go to the library or bookstore (we love recommending books, it’s why we got into the profession); look at the bestseller lists; find reader groups on Facebook. Just pick something in a genre you rarely or never read. I am going for a thriller. Maybe after that I’ll do a memoir.
I admit it, I can’t quit books. I am a teensy bit better than I used to be, but thanks to books like Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein–who’s I’m-so-glad-I-stuck-with-this-book moment happened on page 100 (my give up point, btw)–I have a hard time giving up on books. But, now is not the time to suffer through a book. Set yourself a limit. The magic rule in library land is 69 pages (go ahead, I’m giggling, too), but there are people who only give a book 20 pages. If you find yourself picking up the book begrudgingly or avoiding it completely, quit it. If you really want to put it back to the bottom of the TBR pile, that is up to you, but I’ve never gone back to something I quit.
You don’t have to keep a spreadsheet like I do–though I do love how beautiful my Bullet Journal book pages are–but my biggest burnout trigger is reading too many of the same genre or style in a row. I also really like to use Reading Challenges to help me read outside of my comfort zone. Popsugar’s is my favorite, but there are sooo many out there. Find one you are comfortable with. You don’t want to make it a burden. Another way to read outside your normal areas is to join a book club. If you can’t find one, start one. Meet at a bar; boozey book clubs are always more fun.
There you have it, ways I get myself out of a reading slump when I’m burnt out.
What are some of your tips?