August was not a great reading month for me. About half way through, I got stuck in a reading slump that I’m still not sure I’m entirely out of. While I technically read ten “books” according to my Goodreads account, only three of those were actual book-books.
I’m pretty tired of this happening (it’s been happening a lot for the last couple of years), but my reading slumps aren’t something I can easily fix thanks to them coming about in one of two ways:
- Depression Downswing ~ I always am dealing with low-grade depression, but sometimes, my mood can take a turn for the worse. This shifts can last anywhere from one week to a month. During those times, blogging is pretty much impossible and reading is nearly as difficult because I just can’t work up the energy to care about characters, stories, or books in general.
- Anxiety Attacks ~ Same as with my depression, my anxiety goes in cycles. When I’m having a period of lot of attacks, I can’t focus on reading and I panic about committing to any book I haven’t started yet. (It’s not fun having a panic attack every time you look at your pile of library books.)
Since my reading slumps are induced by mental illness, it’s not like I can work my way out of them. I have to wait for the slump to pass, along with the anxiety/depression. These periods aren’t fun though because I love reading, and when I can read, I feel much better mentally.
I’ve found some ways to cope, however, during the slumps.
First, I’ve started reading book series again. For years, I stuck mostly with stand-alones because I had trouble finishing series. Last year and this year, I’ve been seeking out series because I know they can help when I’m feeling bad. I’ve found that, if I’ve already started a series, I am usually able to pick up the next book during a slump. This basically takes away the “What the frak do I read next?!?!?” component to my attacks. This Spring, I binge-read the Grisha Trilogy and the two books in the Winner’s Trilogy when I was having a particularly bad anxiety episode.
Second, I binge read comics and graphic novels. This is how I got through the first eight volumes of Morning Glories and why seven out of the ten books I read in August were DC and Marvel graphic novels. The visual element of comics makes it easier for me to focus since I don’t often have the energy to be very imaginative when I’m stressing out or feeling very low. They are also quick reads—which helps combat the commitment-phobic aspect of my book-related anxiety.
Third, I read Georgette Heyer novels. Technically, most Romance/Chick Lit works, but Georgette Heyer is my go-to author when I’m not doing great. Her books are quick reads with lots of humor and a familiar setting (at least for this Austen addict). Since I know I like her writing, it’s easier for me to choose one of her novels as my next read—at least, easier than it would be for me to choose a book by a new-to-me author. I pick up her books now whenever I see them on clearance at a bookstore or at a library sale because I know it’s good for me to have ones I haven’t read on hand for when my next downswing occurs.
So far, these are the three main ways I’ve found to combat my mental illness-induced reading slumps. I wish I had a surefire cure, but I’m doing the best I can to keep myself from not reading at all for now.
Are there any ways you deal with reading slumps? Or any books/authors you turn to when you’re not feeling great?
Image Source: Movie Screencaps