How I…Am Working My Way Out of a Reading Slump (revisited)

Wow, I’ve been a book reviewer for more than 2 years now! It started with the split second decision to join Netgalley, and then it turned into creating a review request page, and now I’ve received more books than I care to count through Netgalley, from publicists, and from authors. I have so many I don’t even have time to read other books I’ve had on my shelves for a while. Guess I should schedule those in one day.

Originally posted September 7, 2018


At the beginning of the year, I had a lofty goal of reading a book a week. I was doing quite well until mid-February when an absolutely annoying book dragged on for about 3 weeks. I just lost interest in reading. I read here and there, but am definitely not reading a book a week this year. Two years later I’m averaging at least 2 books a week. Sometimes 3. I’m beginning to think my review schedule is a little too robust.

For months, I was consumed instead by just being a mom. But last month was emotionally rough (2 deaths in my family) and I did what I always did when life got hard: I turned to books.

But, while I was interested, I lacked the will. I have more books on my Kindle than I care to count, but none of them were screaming at me. I have books that have been sitting since at least 2011 (whoops). I have books from the now ended Kindle Scout program (which was a great way to get free books, but, as it turns out, I’ve almost hated most of the books from them that I have actually read, and have quite enjoyed some of the books that were not selected for publication). I have books that have been written by many authors that I follow (I promise I’ll get to them and will post reviews!).

I have many options. There are fantasy and sci-fi books, mysteries and thrillers, literary fiction novels, the odd romance, and an historical or two. You’d think there would be something that would pique my interest. Really, there are many books that I would love to read, but…well, I can’t always motivate myself to even look at them. Despite the fact that I love books.

In high school and college, I always had a book with me. People I didn’t know knew me because I was always toting around a book. And they weren’t slim little novels everyone was raving about. No, they were thick, heavy epic fantasies. There were a couple I could have used as weapons. I read every day. I read every night. At one point, I couldn’t even fall asleep without spending at least 15 minutes reading!

Becoming a mom only slightly slowed me down. Naptimes were prime reading time, especially with a baby slumbering on me. Nighttime wakings were also fantastic times. And my son still won’t go to sleep unless we read to him. Still true 2 years later, though it’s now Dad who reads to him. My daughter is another story, but at least she’s currently obsessed with a germs book that’s teaching her good hygiene. And considering she’s 16 months and loves eating off the floor, this is a good book for her. She still loves that book. We read 3 picture books and then I tuck her in and read my current read for about 15 minutes, or until my asthma starts kicking me.

But that book I read in February just killed me. For the first time in a long time I had no desire to read. I had even started a much more interesting book after I managed to finish it, but I had just completely run out of steam. For 5 months.

So, what did I do to finally get out of my slump?

Well, it took a few steps.

  1. Don’t judge a book by its cover, but, in this case, just do it. As I scrolled through my library, I picked the first book I came to that was visually interesting. And I stopped scrolling. It didn’t matter what the book was about. I was going to start reading.
  2. 5, 10, 15, 20. I wasn’t invested in reading yet, and possibly had no real interest in this book that was visually appealing. So, I started with reading just 5 minutes for the day. After a day or two, I increased my daily reading time to 10 minutes, then 15, and so on. Usually I found myself reading longer, so I was satisfied. And whenever I think I don’t feel like reading, I start over with just 5 minutes.
  3. My 25% rule. I have so many books that I’m probably not actually interested in anymore. But goodness knows which ones those are! Instead, I set a 25% rule. If I enjoy the story by the time I reach the 25% mark, I’ll finish the book. If I hate the book by the time I get there, it automatically goes into my abandoned pile and I start back at step 1. Otherwise I finish, review, and return to step 1.
  4. Join NetGalley. I follow many book blogs and noticed many of them were getting free books in exchange for honest reviews. The Lily Cafe is a lifestyle blog, but I have a history of writing book reviews since books are life to me, so I thought why not? I had to at least try and getting one book would be worth it. Turns out I was approved for 4 in less than a week, so now I have some deadlines. Nothing like a deadline for someone who always meets them to get me reading. Which reminds me I need to get reading! Let’s not count up how many Netgalley books I’ve read so far. Let’s also not think about the 8 I have on my shelf right now, most of them due to be published in the next couple of months.

And that’s how I got out of a reading slump and 4 free books. How do you do it?

9 Comments

  • BriN

    It’s quite ironical that sometimes we yearn for books and have nothing to read and then there are times that we have loads to read and weirdly enter into this reading slump that nobody thought would ever happen!!
    I’m currently experiencing this too though not so much as you I suppose😅 But its timely that I came across your post! Xx😁💕

  • FairytaleFeminista

    I believe in the 25% rule, too. For too long I felt guilty not finishing someone’s hard work, but now I’m honest with myself and realize my time is too put upon to waste on something that’s supposed to be fun and yet feels like a chore.

    I also engage in rereads when nothing is catching my eye. Sometimes I just need a little security reboot to get back in the swing of trying something new.

    • kat

      I agree. There are simply too many books and not enough time. It also helps to remember not every book is for every reader.

      Rereads are so helpful! I love how there are always some books a reader can go back to over and over and never get tired of it. It’s so comforting!

  • Autumn

    I’ve been in a reading slump for this entire year (so far). There’s one book in particular that I’m kicking myself over, because while I think it’s wonderfully fun and well written, I can never seem to focus enough to actually process the words.

    Then again, with how intense everything has been, I’m kind of impressed that I’m still managing to write.

    • kat

      I’m impressed you’re managing to write, too. But also glad because I really like Alice and the Warden.

      I like to think some books just require a certain point in life before it can be really read and enjoyed. At least, that’s what I’ve been saying to The Name of the Wind for about a year and a half while being perpetually less than halfway finished with it.

    • kat

      Haha, it actually scares me! I started keeping track of how long it actually takes to read a book a few months ago and it’s turned out to be quite an eye opening experience.

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