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Book Slump Anonymous

We here at Book Radar are, without a doubt, bibliophiles. The smell of the pages, the feel of the cover, the weight in your hand, the adventure yet to be had and friends to be made…. what’s more exciting than that? Well, we say, not much. In fact, on more than one occasion we have been accused of sneaking out of a social engagement just to finish that.last.chapter. (Everyone is innocent until proven guilty though, and I plead the 5th.) There is no end to our love of books, for it is prolific; a love affair for the ages; a never-ending bond that we alone share with those sweet words. True love lasts a lifetime.

We, on average, are reading 4.36 books at any given time. Another 2.84 books having been shuffled through over the last month and another 5.67 books being cycled through over a six month period. Then there is the roster of books that friends are telling us we “have to read!” And, of course, there is our “to-read” list which is longer than the Ellis Island Passenger Records. Needless to say, we are never without a line-up.

But, it has been brought to our attention that some of “you” may, occasionally, unfathomably, run into, what do you call it? A book slump? A lack of interest? A drain on your excitement? Now, of course, this would NEVER happen to any of us at Book Radar, but out of pity for the rest of you, we have decided to study this phenomenon in order to offer some help to our readers.

Since I cannot possibly be expected to comprehend such a conundrum, I have interviewed some apprenticing book-lovers. They were willing to speak with me, off the record, under strict anonymity for fear of losing their apprenticeships. Here are their tips – I hope you find them helpful.

 Interviewee #1:

A want-to-be book lover since age 12. Favorites are fiction and sci-fi. (Tarah says this is their problem entirely… fiction and sci-fi? No wonder you hit a rut.)

BR: “So, please help us understand the problem you face, and how often you face it.”

#1: “Well, don’t get me wrong. I love books. Or, I want to love books. I’ve even dreamed of writing my own some day. But, sometimes I just… get…. stuck.” 

BR: “Stuck? Please explain.”

#1: “Well, like when you are reading a book, and every page seems to get longer… and you can’t remember where you left off or what was happening the last time you picked it up… so it just doesn’t feel exciting enough to pick up again?” 

BR: “I have no idea what you are talking about. But it sounds dreadful. Go on.”

#1: “Well, that happens to me. I’m ashamed. But I find it helps to switch to something that seems really compelling! If I catch the scent of a new novel or a friend raves about their newest find, I just tell myself not to feel guilty putting down the McCullough and moving on to something more exciting! I’ll come back to it, hopefully, but I just don’t see a need to trudge through something if it’s painful. And sometimes, 800 page history books are painful.”

**The interview was abruptly ended as Tarah had to leave the room in order to maintain the friendship.**

Interviewee #2:

An avid reader of all things Young Adult, and learning to get into other genres. 

BR: “I have to tell you, right up front, that I don’t understand your problem here at all. I am simply looking for solutions for the OTHER people that may run into this strange phenomenon. Ok. Please tell us about how you get yourself out of the book drought.”

#2: “Wow. I wish I could say I didn’t hit book droughts. But I do. A lot. I try to finish books as quickly as I can and not stretch them out too long or I find I lose interest. Sometimes it helps for me to watch a movie adaptation of a book I love, like Hunger Games, and that can often inspire me to read some more. Other times I find re-reading an old favorite really helps. The wit and humor of Lemony Snicket can often inspire me.” 

**The rest of this interview has been edited out for your convenience, as Tarah and the interviewee spent over an hour discussing Hunger Games – the characters, fan theories, casting choices, etc. ** 

Interviewee #3:

A mom of three young children and wanting to read more so she can understand whatever it is that her friends are talking about. Seems to always be three books behind the group. Has mastered the nervous laugh and the “I sort of understand that” smile. 

BR: “Please, share with us what happens when you can’t find the motivation or time to read.”

#3: “Ha! Well, I wish I read more. I really do. All my friends love to read, and I try to read things along with them so that I can be involved in their conversations and inside jokes. The problem is, by the time I get to it, they have moved on to something else. I find the best way to break up the monotony, and make sure that I maintain any hope at all of keeping up with them, is to listen to audio books. I do this while cleaning the house, driving in the car, prepping dinner… wherever I can sneak it in. The kids and I have a few books we listen to together, as well, so that helps, too. If I just want that “hold-a-book-in-my-hands” experience, then I find keeping the book on the shorter side, less than 300 pages, seems to get my gears-a-crankin’.” 

Through much effort Tarah has remained friends with these three anonymous sources, and has agreed to keep their identities secret from the others at Book Radar. Friendship is important after all. Please, we are about love here at Book Radar, so no “book-slump” shaming will be tolerated. Even though they’re dummies.

If you, dear helpless and hopeless blog follower are in need of something to open the flood gates, start here:

  • Anne of Green Gables: Read it. Again. It will break any boredom you have with literature and warm your soul through to the toes.
  • Hunger Games: Listen. Put aside your allergy to Young Adult novels, and your distaste for Katniss. Focus on Peeta and Haymitch and enjoy the page-turning fun. It won’t add to your sophistication, but it might just break you out of your rut.
  • Alice through the Looking Glass: Ok, this one’s a bit strange. But I don’t think Lewis Carroll gets enough credit for his poetry. The man makes up words and then puts them in verse. How cool is that!? Really gets your creativity buzzing.
  • Sherlock Holmes: Don’t have time for an encyclopedic amount of the world’s favorite sleuth? It’s ok. You don’t have to read them all! Just read one. Any one. You probably feel smarter already, don’t you?
  • Agatha Christie: I have not personally read any of her library of titles. Yet. I am hoping this will change very soon, but from what I hear, they are easy and entertaining reads that you can get through quickly.

 

 

So put down the book that’s dragging you down. (Although be wary of putting it into the Bermuda Triangle, AKA, the book shelf… see previous post.) It’s ok. It will still be there later; books don’t walk away. You won’t get anything read at all if you are slogging through eight pages per session of a book you can’t remember and don’t like! Grab one of the titles above and get to reading.

For anyone interested, a “Book Slump Anonymous” group is being started for anyone in a book drought. It is, however, highly recommended that you keep your name a secret. We try not to bully, but cannot make any guarantees. More information to follow.

Tarah
Tarah
I’m a converted reader. If you read that with a tone of confession, you’d be hearing it exactly as I intended. I could count on one hand the number of books I read cover-to-cover after sixth grade. I had mastered the ability to score at least a B - a grade I was happy with - on exams and book reports without actually reading them. That is a statement that should raise the alarm of any parent/teacher hoping their students are absorbing all those precious words. But then I found a love for reading. Read more about me here