Archive of ‘My Reading Life’ category

Top 5 Ways to Fix a Reading Slump

I met up with a friend at a nearby store the other day, and she said, “I knew it was you because I saw you reading your book.” Guilty as charged.

Right now, I’m on a pretty good reading streak. I’m picking up one book after another, DNF-ing the ones I don’t want to read, and selecting titles that I already own instead of buying new ones. But there have been plenty of times that I’ve gotten in a bit of a slump. A slump is a bit like burnout for avid readers. We want to read but just can’t for any number of reasons – daily distractions, errands to run, or things like your day job. And then, when we sit down to read, we can’t relax and enjoy it. Instead, we lose our reading mojo and wonder if we will ever get it back.

Here are some things I do to spark my interest in reading again.

  1. Try a new genre – Sometimes, I need to change things up a bit by reading a completely different type of book. I switch from fiction to nonfiction. Or I sink my teeth into a juicy celebrity tell-all. (Brat-Pack movie star Andrew McCarthy just came out with a new one, and I can’t wait to buy it!) I will even try out a YA (young adult) novel. A brand new generation of YA writers has made a good impression on me, like Rainbow Rowell and Angie Thomas.
  2.  Go to the library or bookstore – Shopping online is perfect when I know what book (or, in my case, books 🙂 ) I want, but sometimes I need to put myself in the right atmosphere to select my next read. Next time you are in a slump, stroll through the aisles and look at the titles to see what jumps out at you. Ask the librarian or bookstore owner to make some recommendations too!
  3. Download a book on your phone – For a while, I was a HUGE book snob and considered listening to a book in my car, not really reading. But I was 100% wrong. I’ve discovered that it takes just as much concentration to listen to a story in my car as it does to sit down and read an actual book. And when a book is well-narrated, it can spark your imagination and entertain you in a whole new way.
  4. Read a short story – The last thing I want to do when I’m in a slump is pick up the latest 500-page novel and force myself to read it. I’d much rather prefer choosing some wonderful short story collections or essays. A few that come to mind are written by David Sedaris or Lisa Scottoline, but there are so many good ones out there. Take your pick!
  5. Don’t sweat the slump – Finally, maybe you just aren’t in the mood to read, and that’s completely fine too. Take some time off. Clean out a closet, binge-watch a show on Netflix or start a jigsaw puzzle. When you are ready to pick up a book again, you will do it with newfound enthusiasm.

What do you do when you are in a reading slump?

The April Book Report

I used to look forward to packing my weekends with people to see and places to go, but thanks to COVID, I’m delighted with quieter Saturdays and Sundays. After a busy week at work, all I want to do is curl up on the sofa with my favorite blanket and a good book. Luckily, I used my downtime wisely because April was another busy month of reading.

Today, I have three books to review – I thoroughly enjoyed one of them. I managed to finish another, but sadly one might land in the dreaded DNF (did not finish) pile. It is rare for me to add a book to the DNF list, but it is one of those books that I had high hopes for, but it just isn’t doing it for me. But let’s get to the good ones first!

As a side note, I do not receive any commission if you buy a book from these links. All I ask is that you consider buying the book from your local independent bookstore. Amazon has enough of our hard-earned money, don’t you think?

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

Writers and Lovers paperback bookIt was the opening scene that hooked me into this book right away. Casey’s landlord catches her outside and peppers her with intrusive questions about her book. And then, he has the nerve to say the most obnoxious thing that no writer wants to hear. “I just find it extraordinary that you think you have something to say.”  I wanted to slap him. Once I have someone to root for in a book, the story has my complete and undivided attention. Casey is a writer and a waitress who is dealing with the grief of losing her mother and juggling her feelings for two men – all while trying to get a book published. I loved the details of her writing process and her posse of supporters that have her back. I finished this book in less than a week. Whether you are a writer or not, this is one novel to add to your TBR pile.

The Power of Writing Things Down by Allison Fallon

I picked up this book because I enjoy receiving the author’s weekly emails on writing. She is a reliable source of excellent prompts when I can’t think of anything to write about in my blog. I also enjoyed her recent webinar on how to write a memoir. I thought her book would be equally brilliant. Honestly, I finished the book but can’t remember if I learned anything – which means I probably didn’t. Not because she isn’t a wonderful speaker and writing coach – but because I’ve read too many other books on writing, and she wasn’t saying anything I hadn’t heard before. This made me realize that maybe I need to stop buying so many books about writing and just sit my ass down and write! 🙂 If someone is a new writer, I think this book has a lot to offer and is a good place to start. But, if you are someone like me who has been doing this for a while and has read writing books from Anne Lamott, Stephen King, and others of that caliber – this might not be the right fit for you. But, her Monday Motivation emails are superb.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

When I buy a book, I’m pretty committed to reading it – maybe not right away – as noted by the size of my TBR pile. But I will get around to it. I was so excited about this book because I love libraries. If independent bookstores are my guilty pleasure, libraries are a safe haven to explore new genres and authors without buying the books. This particular book is a nonfiction account of the largest library fire in the United States. It happened in Los Angeles, and there are a lot of unanswered questions. But instead of drawing me into the big mystery, I’m reading more about the ins and outs of library systems and how they operate. Maybe the mystery is still in there somewhere – but after about 50 or so pages – I’ve lost interest, and I’m tired of waiting for the juicy part.  So, I’m going to put it aside for now and pick it up at another time.

No time to waste, my next new read is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I’ll review it in my May book report.

What book did you read in April? Have you ever DNF-ed a book? Which one and why?

Summer Reading Guides Are My Downfall

Springtime means three things to me – nice weather, allergy season, and summer reading guides. May is typically the month when these lists of new releases and paperbacks are splashed across every analog and digital platform known to man. The New York Times and Washington Post will have their lists ready to roll out any day now. Some magazines are already recommending their “best beach reads.” And for someone like me who loves buying books and recently quit cold turkey, these lists can be pure torture.

Reporters and insiders take books that they loved and add them to their summer reading lists. Not to mention all the bibliophiles out there who have platforms of their own – which I subscribe to that share their own suggestions. And why – you might ask – should I believe these total strangers? Well, they haven’t steered me wrong yet, and I have the books to prove it.

Last year, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid was everybody’s summer darling – and rightfully so. I know because I bought it, of course. 🙂 And if you haven’t read it yet, it recently came out in paperback.

Another favorite of mine from last year was The Midnight Library by Matthew Haig. I stumbled upon this book after listening to an interview with the author. Now, I recommend it to everyone.

But here is the real reason (or reasons) the 2021 summer book lists cannot suck me in. I want to get through last year’s recommendations first. I have 11 books from 2020 and 7 books from 2019 that I haven’t read yet. And I’m still reading books I purchased in 2018!

Pictured above is a small fraction of my TBR pile. A few weeks ago, I picked the books that I REALLY wanted to read, and I’m still making my way through the pile. I’ve already read three out of the five titles and just started the bottom book a few days ago. As I tackle the larger shelf of unread books, I find that building these smaller piles-  and keeping them in plain sight so I don’t get distracted – makes the task much more manageable.

I will say that my reading stats are improving. I have read 20 books in 2020 and six books so far this year. As these 2021 titles come out and scream, “BUY ME! BUY ME!” – I will put those new and shiny books on my list for later. Much later.

What are some of your favorite reads from the past few years? I promise I won’t go out and buy them – but I am wondering if I already have them. Maybe if you say they are good – I’ll bump them up on my reading list. And if you are a big reader like me, please follow me on Goodreads – where I am tracking and sometimes reviewing books.



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