7 Ways to Pull Yourself Out of a Reading Slump

While we at the Riot are taking this lovely summer week off to rest (translation: read by the pool/ocean/on our couches), 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 Wednesday, July 8th.

This post originally ran May 23, 2015.


We’ve all been there. It’s been two weeks. You haven’t read more than a page. Your books are looking at you reproachfully. And you can only rewatch those Buffy episodes so many times before you start to feel the unfortunate need to get into an online debate about Spike/Buffy, and you don’t want that. Nobody wants that.

So what do you do? I’ve gathered some options.

1. Wait it out. Oh, it’s the WORST, and you feel like a fraud of a reader. But sometimes your brain needs to just chillax. You’ll be pounding those Nelson DeMille novels again before you know it.

2. Make a LEGO diorama of your favorite literary scene in the faint hope it will bring you back to your love of the written word.

3. Read some fanfiction. When I can’t read books, I can still skim to the sexytime bits of fanfic. It’s like stepping into the sweet, sweet, shallow end of the reading commitment pool.

4. Imagine your favorite authors being each other’s roommates. My preferred pairing is Jane Austen/Charlotte Brontë, because they would have hated each other and it would’ve been hilarious.

5. Search “book art” on Etsy and feel yourself fill with righteous indignation over the desecration of so many – SO MANY BOOKS. That were probably things no one wanted to read anyway, but you savor that indignation. It will rekindle your book loyalty.

6. Spend some time with books you’ve already read and loved. And I don’t mean re-read them. No, no. That’s what normal, non-book people would do. I mean you go to those books and you stare at them. You stare hard. And you remember how much you love them. I could tell you the number of times I’ve hugged my copy of Bleak House, but then we’d all be sad. This trick works in much the same way that looking at old photos can make you want to call your mom. Only this is better because books don’t ask what your plans are for your life or try to set you up with your table’s waiter during brunch.

7. When in doubt, go to a bookstore and browse until you find something you’re excited about. Your love of books is still there. Sometimes it just needs a jumpstart.