Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme that was created and hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and then cohosted with Dani @ Literary Lion. It is currently hosted by Aria @ Book Nook Bits. The meme encourages participants to discuss a new topic each week and visit each other’s posts to keep the conversation going.
Prompt: There have been past LTB topics about ways to get out of reading slumps, but I was curious about why they happen in the first place. Do you fall into reading slumps often? What causes them? Are there patterns you notice with when you tend to read fewer books? What do you do to get out of a reading slump?
I have written a bit about this before, but I don’t really believe in reading slumps. I actually think reading slumps can be a good thing. While they may sometimes occur because life is difficult or readers do not have the right state of mind to feel like reading, reading slumps are also very often just a result of living. Time is finite. There are lots of things to do. Sometimes that means we focus on activities other than reading. And that’s okay!
Outside of the book blogosphere, I do not typically hear people even talking about the concept of the reading slump. And I think that is because avid readers can sometimes put the act of reading on a pedestal. And no wonder! We grow up learning about how important early literacy is, about how we must read 20 minutes a day to stay on grade level. Schools encourage students to feel competitive about reading by leveling books and comparing readers with their peers. Libraries host Summer Reading programs so students do not experience the dreaded “summer slide” if they neglect to read for three months. Students who read and who read “above grade level” are celebrated, often with a certificate or public recognition at an assembly. The message from society is that reading is Noble and Praiseworthy, a pursuit engaged in by the intellectual elite. So, not reading must be morally reprehensible, right?
Once we’re out of school, however, reading tends to be a hobby much like anything else. Most people who graduate school will have achieved the basic literacy that they need to function more or less seamlessly in society, so there’s arguably no longer anything particularly noble about reading rather than engaging in any other worthy hobby such gardening, sewing, painting, cheese making, yodeling, or running. Lots of activities can bring meaning and joy to our lives, expand our horizons, help us connect with others, and help us relax. In other words, they can have similar benefits to reading. So not reading for awhile and instead focusing on friends, family, or other activities? Perfectly normal and arguably healthy.
I don’t worry about reading slumps and I don’t really wonder where they come from because the answer is typically that I’ve been busy. It might be that I’ve been busy in a bad way, because of life’s stressors, but I know that reading slumps eventually come to an end. If I’m really struggling to engage with reading, I’ll just try a different book. But, in the end, I don’t think reading should be another source of stress in life. So I choose to go with the flow instead and enjoy another hobby, or even just relax and do nothing, in the meantime.
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