Reading Slumps, Favourite Authors & Other Reading Questions

Every time I write another post about reading habits, I feel certain I’ve tapped the end of interesting questions related to said topic. But then another assortment of questions crosses my radar. This just goes to show there are many unique ways to enjoy the reading process!

How do you handle reading slumps? And a note on seasonal fluctuations

Last week Suzanne asked how I handle reading slumps. I had to mull over this for a bit. April and May were hit-and-miss in the book department. I abandoned multiple books and finished others that could be best described as mediocre. Sometimes a consecutive run of uninspiring books turns me off from reading anything – even old favourites – for a while, but this is mostly buffered by the fact I have a natural break factored into my reading routine: summer.

June through August is peak reading season for many bibliophiles; books are the perfect complement to a day at the beach or a long airplane journey. But I have always prioritized reading during colder months when, at least in rural Canada, there isn’t much else to do with leisure time.

I don’t consider this summer break a “slump” – I genuinely look forward to time away from books. Some of this is the longer days and nice weather. Get outside and look up at all the beautiful wonder around you – my mind subconsciously screams. The kids are off school and bedtimes creep later, so there is also functionally less time in my day for reading. And, since I get most books from my local library in hardcopy, it is more of a hassle to juggle returns when we’re away on vacation.

Goodreads tells me I’ve read 47 books so far in 2022 and there’s a good chance I’ll read 47 more, but those will be concentrated between September to December. The last few weeks have been a nice reading reprieve, but I already have a list of holds deferred for the end of August and I’m excited to resume regular book consumption at that point.

*I do read some over the summer, but I’ll average 1-2 books/month instead of 8-10.

do you prefer to finish – or start – a great book?

Hmmm. So tough. I think I prefer to finish a great book. It leaves me sad when something wonderful is over, but there is a unique satisfaction that comes from completing a great book.

do you REcommend books to others?

I don’t recommend books very often and, if I do, it’s almost only to close friends. I’ve read too many books that others have raved about only to be disappointed, so I tend to mention what I’m reading relatively casually and let others take the lead if they want to know more. In short: I don’t want to be the one who recommended a book someone else hates.

Do you belong to a book club?

I have never formally joined a book club and don’t have much interest in doing so. I also don’t go out of my way to discuss books with people – generalizations will usually suffice.

If I’m reading a non-fiction book on a topic that feels applicable to a conversation (say a discussion about parenting when I’m in the middle of reading Hunt, Gather, Parent), I might mention something relevant.

Reading books with the main purpose of discussing them in a group sounds…tedious. Especially if I didn’t like the book in question. I’ve gotten better about abandoning books and think the sense of obligation I would feel to persevere for the sake of a book club would frustrate me. But what do I know – maybe I’d actually love the experience?

Do you have a favourite author?

I don’t. I’ve loved many books by many authors, but I can’t easily identify a front-running favourite.

do you seek out movie versions of books (or vice versa)?

I don’t. I’ve watched lots of movies that have been based on books. I think Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lord of the Rings trilogy was spectacular, and Meghan Follows hits it out of the park as Anne of Green Gables. I actually like The Hobbit movies more than the book. But, in general, movies based on books tend to be a letdown.

I’m trying to remember a single movie I’ve watched that has spurred me on to check out the book. I did watch Unbroken first, but didn’t actively seek out the book because of the movie (that said, Unbroken is one of my all-time favourite books).

*I’ve posted a list of YA books that have accompanying movies – this made for a fun reading adventure with the kids.

fiction or nonfiction?

If you were tasked with writing a specific genre of book (let’s assume – for the purposes of this exercise – it would be bestselling either way), would you rather have your name on a work of fiction or nonfiction?

While I gravitate toward nonfiction, with a special spot reserved for memoirs, I’m not sure about this one. I feel like my natural inclinations lend themselves far more to nonfiction, but for this particular hypothetical – guaranteed to be a bestseller – I think I’d opt for fiction?

Your turn. How do you handle reading slumps? Do you maintain a full reading schedule over the summer? Do you prefer to start – or finish – a great book?

Header photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash

20 thoughts on “Reading Slumps, Favourite Authors & Other Reading Questions”

  1. Oh, Elisabeth, I am here for ALL of the book related posts!! Keep them coming! There is no part of your reading life that I don’t want to know all about šŸ™‚

    Very intrigued by your seasonal reading and how it changes over summer. I’m pretty consistent month to month, I guess mainly because I read when I go to bed and I like being in bed early all year around!

    1. I don’t think my reading life is very exciting (though the fact my Dad reads the ends of books and that I skim basically everything I read did raise a few eyebrows)…but these are some of my favourite posts to write up!
      I haven’t been reading at night since I got back from vacation and it has been a nice break…but I’ve been watching a documentary show instead which, while fun, has me staying up FAR too late. That’s over now, so I think I’ll read some tried-and-true favourites before bed for a while before jumping back in with both feet in late August.

  2. How do you handle reading slumps? I’ve been in a reading slump since March of 2020. At this point I’ve given myself permission to read many fewer books than I used to and when I crave writing I read blogs. I know I’ll get back to books again, later.

    Do you maintain a full reading schedule over the summer? If you mean do I read any books over the summer, yes I do. Light ones. Silly ones.

    Do you prefer to start ā€“ or finish ā€“ a great book? I prefer to end a great book, then I can reflect back over the story, the characters, the writing. Musing, I like musing best!

    1. That’s the great thing about books – they wait until we’re ready to read them!
      I like to reflect on good books, too. It’s almost like a fun vacation – you can enjoy the moment while you’re in it but, sometimes, it’s just a pleasant to relieve the experience in memory as well.

  3. My reading slumps tend to occur more in November-December, when things get really busy around the holidays. Whenever my reading drops off, I eventually miss it and start up again naturally.
    I’ve decided J.K. Rowling is officially my favorite author. It’s not just because of Harry Potter- I’ve read all her other books, and her writing has this incredible way of drawing me into whatever world she’s created. On that note, I cried when I finished rereading the Harry Potter books this last time, because I was so sad it was over. So, no- I don’t like finishing a great book!

    1. Interesting! I think I read the most from mid-September to mid-January.
      Like you, I find my reading “slumps” tend to self-correct when I start really craving a good book and then slowly ease back into the routine of relatively steady consumption. I don’t set a goal of a certain number of books each year, but it tends to be in the ~80/year range. I have sometimes had goals for certain authors: I re-read all the Harry Potter books a few years ago, 2021 was Dickens, 2022 was all the Anne of Green Gables books. I really enjoyed that literary adventure and it takes some of the guesswork out of what to read next!
      It is always such a bummer to finish that last book in the HP series. It gets me every time…but it also feels like a huge accomplishment to finish, too! And then I can look ahead to restarting the series in another few years!

  4. I very very very rarely find myself in a reading slump. I think the fact that I am not a mood reader helps. So having a number of books that I am excited to read and abandoning books that aren’t working seem to keep me out of slumps! As far as summer reading, the biggest change is that I get ideas of what to read from a number of summer reading guides, but since I exclusively read the library, I often don’t read what they suggest for months unless there happens to be a short wait at the library! And my pace of reading doesn’t seem to change throughout the year. In general, I tend to read around 6-8 books/month. I always carve out time at the end of the day no matter what is going on in my life – I try to read from 8:30-9:30 every day. And I prefer to start a great book! I love the feeling of starting a book that I know will be such a hit for me!

    1. Abandoning books is definitely key. I don’t really classify my summer lull as a slump, but I do find myself getting pickier in April/May as I think I naturally am getting tired of so much reading. I also read almost exclusively non-fiction, so it can start to feel like a lot of information that I want to retain as well. It’s nice to have a break from “learning” for a while.
      What a great way to end each day. I do the same for the darker months, but in the summer seem to be up later in the evenings or will watch an episode of something on Netflix for example, and just don’t gravitate toward books in the same way.
      But all this talk about books today is making me a bit restless to get started on a good read sooner rather than later!

  5. I just let the slump runs its course. reading is a hobby, a calming ritual, I don’t want to turn it into a to-do list. Usually after a while, I get back to it slowly but surely.
    I like a mix of fiction and nonfiction, usually I have a mix within the month. I’m also a moody reader, I shift from topics to topics reflecting my mood of the period.

    1. So true – reading should be fun and pleasurable and sometimes it can feel like work.
      Whenever I do go through a “slump” I eventually slow down reading for a while and then when I’m ready, start back up again. I never feel too worried about it. Sometimes I just need a break from it all (a bit like exercise – sometimes you just know when our body needs some concentrated time off and then, after a while, it starts craving more intense exercise again).
      I am DEFINITELY a mood reader; that’s one of the reasons I like to have a stack of books on my bedside table – lots of options!

  6. I don’t really get reading slumps. My “to read” list is generally whatever holds have come in at the library, and for whatever reason I have had a whole bunch of memoirs come in. That’s usually fine, but seemingly they are all about someone who has died/ had cancer/ something sad. So I think I’m going to go into my library “for later” shelf and put a whole bunch of light books on hold, because I don’t think I can take any more right now.

    1. I’ve had a string of memoirs like that before (I read like 5 in a row about FLDS a few years ago and got burned out by the end. The first 3 were fascinating but after that point, it started to feel really, really heavy).

  7. I read less at the beginning of summer, over winter break, and during the first month of school. Transitions are rough for me!

    1. Now that you mention it – there are other times of the year where my reading declines (right around Christmas, for example, I tend to read a lot less)but summer is by far my “biggest” and longest break.

  8. Reading slumps are so hard! I feel like I’m in one now. Everything I’m reading I just feel so apathetic about. I think it’s just due to having Covid. Hopefully I’ll get my mojo back. I love reading an old favorite romance to kick me out of a reading slump. And sometimes a good popcorn thriller can do that, too.

    I do love to recommend books to others! One of my friends who is a teacher reaches out to me every May for a long list of recommendations that she can read over the summer and it’s my favorite thing to put that list together for her! We have very similar reading tastes and it helps that she’s able to vet books for me that I’m interested in but haven’t yet read!

    My book club is probably one of my favorite things in the world! It was my way of actually finding friends as an adult, which is super hard for me as I have social anxiety. It took me two years to get the courage to even attend this book club! But I am so glad I did because the woman in this club are my favorite people. We don’t even spend that much time talking about the book. Book club is more about us coming together and talking about our lives. But I also really love talking about the books I’ve loved/loathed and my reading life with other people, so that helps.

    I don’t really have a favorite author but there are authors I get very excited about when they’re releasing a new book: Louise Penny, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Christina Lauren, and Sarah MacLean, to name a few. They’re the authors who I know I’ll read what they’re releasing next as soon as possible!

    I don’t always seek out the adaptation of a book I’ve read. But I’m very particular about how I go about watching an adaptation. First, I want there to be enough space between reading the book and watching the adaptation so that I’m not spending the whole time whining about how different it is from the book. Second, I do not EXPECT it to be like the book. These are two very different mediums and I know they will need to change things around. I think a lot of people expect a book adaptation to just be the book in movie/TV form and that’s just not how it works.

    These are so fun! I hope you keep coming up with questions. šŸ™‚

    1. Wait. You had COVID? I missed this. Ugh. So very, very sorry.

      What a fun activity for you + your friend with the annual summer reading list. A great tradition that sounds like you both enjoy.
      A great point about book clubs – the provide a point of connection (over books), but of course that connection can become about SO much more than just books. I hadn’t really been considering this perspective, so thanks for sharing that.

      As for adpatations, you hit the nail on the head: it’s all about expectations!!

  9. What do you consider a slump? šŸ™‚
    I think I am on book 4 (?) for this year (although in my defense, these are very big books with hundreds of pages and it just takes longer to get through them)… but in a slump, I don’t read at all…. for weeks. I usually need to be in a good state of mind to read (meaning, not be “mentally” stressed with a gazillion other things.. although I’d argue that books can also be a nice way to escape for a moment)…. I usually don’t stress, but just wait it out until I naturally gravitate towards books again.

    1. Hmmm. I guess I also consider it not reading for weeks? Or not spending time on things related to reading (for example, I spend a chunk of time each week during the fall/winter, managing my holds list/visiting the library).
      I haven’t finished a book in about a month and I’ve only read 3-4 chapters out of a light-reading book I already own over the last few weeks. This is SUCH a slow period for me over the summer, but I’m okay with it. I know when fall comes, I’ll be back to reading lots again.

  10. Ohhh, so much fun to read about reading! and to see all the responses (since I’m so late to the party…) and the substantial variability! Obviously, we are all unique snowflakes, particularly when it comes to reading. šŸ™‚
    How do you handle reading slumps? Well, honestly? I slow down but I rarely stop. The last time I did so was … hm. In my early working years? I’ve almost always read *something* all the time. Right now it’s super-slow because, well, work and also less energy (See: fracture + surgery)
    Do you maintain a full reading schedule over the summer? Yes? I think? Since I don’t really have a schedule, I just kind of keep on keepin’ on. šŸ™‚
    Do you prefer to start ā€“ or finish ā€“ a great book? Dude, this is really hard. I think I like finishing more. Why? Because a) that’s when I identify it as great, and b) I know that I can go back and reread. Right now I am postponing reading House on the Cerulean Sea, despite owning it for *nearly a year* based on all of your predictions (“your” being the vast majority of those who replied here…). Why? Because I am afraid I won’t like it as much as I think/hope I will. šŸ™‚ The greats, though – they get reread (albeit not right now, because, well, limited bandwidth…)
    Bring on more fun book posts! I am here for them! Late, but I’m here!

    1. Slowing down vs. stopping sounds like a much better approach. It’s kinda bumming me out this week to not have a good book on the go, but I’m lacking motivation to go get a good book!
      I think I like to finish, too and like you say, that’s really the only point when I can declare I LOVE a book. Sometimes books start off so well, and end badly and that is such a bummer. A few times I’ve been convinced I’ll love a book, but it turns out only the first 1/3 was any good. So there is real satisfaction from getting through a whole book and enjoying it all.

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