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The Slump Buster

Mark Grace is attributed with coining the phrase “slumpbuster.” He was on the radio show, Jim Rome, when he described it as finding

fattest gnarliest chick you can uncover, and you lay the wood to her

Grace also refers to this as “jumping on a grenade for the boys”. Of course, this term need not be sexist no matter its origination. Arli$$ (an HBO show) featured Sandra Oh needing to get out of a slump and seeking out the male version of the slumpbuster.

In romance, though, I have given it a nicer meaning. A more romancelandia definition. To me, a slumpbuster is a book that breaks open the dammed up reading desire that was stagnating from a long run of boring, unimaginative meh reads. A slumpbuster is a book that makes me excited to be a reader. That transports me to another land. The slumpbuster is a book that embodies the spirit of Calgon-take-me-away slogan. It can be a new book (Naomi Novik’s Temeraire) or it could be an old book (Linda Howard’s Duncan’s Bride). What is your slumpbuster?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Jayne
    Jun 19, 2006 @ 03:11:12

    My last two slumpbusters have been “California Demon/Julie Kenner” combined with “Throne of Jade/Novik.”

  2. Tilly Greene
    Jun 19, 2006 @ 06:00:21

    We can only have 1? When the TBR is look staid and dull, I head over and pick a random new author, or new to me and try it. If the slump needs some serious repair then I reread “Heartbreaker/Linda Howard” or go through the Mackenzie books. If it’s really bad then I go in deeper and pick up “Ashes in the Wind” or “The Flame and the Flower” by Kathleen E Woodiwiss.

  3. jmc
    Jun 19, 2006 @ 07:22:22

    When I can’t find anything in Mt. TBR that looks interesting, I fall back on The Curse of Chalion, which usually cleanses my reading palate.

    My most recent reading slump was broken by Novik’s Temeraire series.

    Hmm, looks like I edge toward fantasy when I need a break from romance…but I wouldn’t call myself a huge F/SF reader.

  4. Jayne
    Jun 19, 2006 @ 08:07:48

    Do people tend to go more with a genre outside romance? If I’m in a true, multi book slump, I’ll generally head for a tried and true favorite rather than risk ruining a “new to me” author with my slump funk.

  5. Tara Marie
    Jun 19, 2006 @ 08:38:49

    Linda Howard, just about any one of her books will pull me out of a slump. Lately it’s Open Season, it sits on my nightstand waiting for a quick reread or partial reread. Love the scene when Daisy is buying the condoms.

  6. Jane
    Jun 21, 2006 @ 07:21:23

    I think you can have as many slump busters as you need, Tilly.

    JMC – Novik’s book was very invigorating for me, as a reader. I enjoyed the Almond/Baggott collaboration as well.

    Jayne – reading outside the genre can help break a reading slump but I wonder if it helps break the romance reading slump??

    TM – Linda Howard is a pretty amazing writer to have so many stories in her backlist be considered slump busters. I love that scene in Open Season too.

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