How To

6 More Ways To Beat A Reading Slump

Susie Rodarme

Staff Writer

Susie Rodarme is obsessed with small press literary fiction and tea. Other notable skills: chainmaille weaving, using Photoshop semi-correctly, and drinking gin.

While we at the Riot take some time off to rest and catch up on our reading, we’re re-running some of our favorite posts from the last several months. Enjoy our highlight reel, and we’ll be back with new stuff on Tuesday, January 3rd.

This post originally ran August 21, 2016.

We’ve covered long-term reading slumps. We’ve covered how you can start reading again or reading more. The lovely Rioter Alice has seven tips for getting out of a slump. But hey, maybe your reading slump is intense and none of that stuff worked; just for you, I dug into my brain and found a few more things you could try if you just can’t get your reading groove back.

1. Unplug. I find that the internet (gulp) is one of my main culprits for a lack of reading. Being online presents one with endless stimuli and I find that it can dampen that itch of needing to read something. (Maybe also because a lot of interacting with the internet is actually reading-based.) Either that, or I get caught up binge-watching shows and I can’t do both that and read at the same time. Cutting off that constant stimulus sometimes brings back my reading appetite.


2. Groove on some nonfiction topic that interests you. Nonfiction might not be your thing, and that’s cool. I have a few pet topics that I’m highly interested in (neurology/psychology and food politics, mostly) and even when I don’t feel like reading a novel, I can usually find a book on an interesting topic to dive into. Nonfiction is a different kind of reading for me so it isn’t necessarily subject to the same reader’s block.


3. Surf Goodreads or some listicles for new titles and ideas. Sometimes, sitting around looking at the same TBR pile is not at all inspiring. Those books totally did look good at the time and I’m sure they’ll come back around one day, but you’re in a slump now and they’re doing nothing for you. Going back to the bookternet helps in the same way that browsing my cookbooks helps when I am bored with all of my regular meals. We have a bunch of must-read lists here at Book Riot that might have something to tickle your fancy.

4. Take a “me” day. You know what doesn’t make a good environment for reading? Being around other people. People being all “hey what do we have to eat in the house” and “can you help me with this thing” and “give me attention now, please.” (What is it with people assuming that reading = not busy, anyway?) I love my people, but sometimes I lock myself in my room or in the bathtub to get some uninterrupted reading time.


5. Make a pre-bed reading routine. It’s supposed to be beneficial to limit stimuli before bed; for me, reading is a great transition from a busy day into sleep. Sometimes reading puts me to sleep, and I can’t really complain about that, given my frequent bouts of insomnia. Artificial light from devices can interfere with melatonin, so that’s a win if you need an excuse to read paper books. (Or, you can try reading in decreased brightness with an app or a setting to decrease the blue light from your screen. I mostly read on my phone at night and have found this to be helpful.)

6. Keep picking up books from a stack until something hooks you. This sounds hyperbolic, but I have actually done this on multiple occasions. My favorite way to do this is to gather up a big ol’ stack from the library, flop down with it, and go through it book by book while (gently) tossing anything aside that doesn’t grab my interest. I keep going until I find something to read or I have a whole stack of discards. If I have the time, I do this at the library and then I don’t even have to make an extra trip to return all the books I didn’t want.


How do you unstick yourself from a reading slump?