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Poll: What Do You Do When You Are in a Reading...

Do you like the beginning or ending of a book best (generally)

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Reading slumps are a bad, bad thing. You start thinking that the genre sucks or that maybe you’ve changed so that the genre no longer appeals to you. You pick up ten books in your to be read pile and they all look horrible. The mere mention of a bookstore makes your lip curl in disdain. Even talking with other readers becomes tiresome. What to do?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She 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

61 Comments

  1. medumb
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 08:16:16

    woohoo I got to be the first vote, love the time difference. (ok it is the small things that amuse small minds.)

    This is such a timely poll for me, I am just sliding into a massive romance slump at the moment, I am struggling to finish a romance, (except for a couple by old fav authors) so I have picked up a bunch of YA books and dug out my next couple of Dresden Files books and plan not to pick up a romance book for a couple of weeks.

    ed – don’t think dugg is a word?? I need some sleep.. sigh

  2. DonLinn
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 08:20:06

    I watch network television. It invariably sends me running back to books within a day or two.

  3. Lynz
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 08:20:49

    I switch genres, though I generally stay within romances. If I get sick of historicals, I head for paranormals. If I get sick of contemporaries, I grab a YA that may not revolve around romance, but certainly features it. Back in my manga days, whenever I got sick of shoujo/josei I’d pick up some seinen with romantic themes to it. So I guess there’s one genre I never really get sick of…

  4. KatiDancy
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 08:32:10

    I go back to a favorite keeper. And I keep picking up books and trying them. Sooner or later, something will catch my imagination. But I agree with switching between genres. Often that will trigger a new glom for me.

    But I have certain “slump busting” keepers that work for me. Usually if I go back to them, they can pull me out.

  5. maddie
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 08:40:17

    I reread my favorite books “the classics for me) old Harlequin Presents authors
    Carole Mortimer, Charlotte Lamb and Anne Mather does it for me.

    I still buy book skim through them and set them aside to read later on snows days, so this is the first time I’ve have had a To Be Read Pile.

    I read only Paranormal, Comp, Erotic, Romantic Suspense, so I switch between those and sometime just grab one authors books and read one after the other,

  6. Janicu
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 08:46:38

    I change genres too. Too much of the same thing sometimes means I need a mental reset.

  7. Pearl
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 08:51:01

    I already try to avoid reading slumps by not reading in the same subgenre back to back. I switch between historical, paranormal, contemporary, romantic suspense and erotic romance. I once got into a slump after reading paranormal exclusively for over a month and didn’t want that too happen again so I try to avoid it this way.

    I also try to switch between the emotionally heavy and the more light and breezy books. That helps too.

    And when I do get sucked into the dreaded slump I turn to my other addiction: TV shows, after a few days of not reading, the slump passes and I go back to my favorite thing to do…

  8. Sandy James
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 08:52:05

    @KatiDancy

    I go back to a favorite keeper.

    Ditto. I run straight to my bookshelf and pull out a Julie Garwood or Hannah Howell. Sometimes it takes more than one, but after a few of my favorites, I’m willing to try again with someone new. (Kind of sounds like dating, doesn’t it?)

  9. ms bookjunkie
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 08:54:10

    What’s a reading slump? Never experienced it.

  10. Mareena McGirr
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 08:58:31

    I go back to a favorite keeper.

    I pick a favorite that I haven’t read in a while, no matter what genre.

  11. Alyssa Day
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 09:04:30

    Change genres altogether. I’ve been reading Richard Russo and in awe of his gift with characters and depth of meaning. Also reading a lot of nonfiction.

  12. Jill Myles
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 09:05:56

    Re-reads! I re-read old favorites until I feel the love again. :)

  13. theo
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 09:09:14

    Me too. I go back to my two or three favorites and read through those. Usually gets my need to read fired up again.

  14. Moriah Jovan
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 09:18:47

    I embroider or cross stitch or sew or crochet for a while. One time it took me two years to go back to reading romance.

  15. Jill Sorenson
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 09:26:49

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a romance slump. An everything else slump, sure! : ) I have had times when it seems like every book I pick up is a DNF, and the selections in my TBR fail to entice. Then I spend a few weeks or months writing exclusively, and am soon slavering to get back to reading.

  16. Mad
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 09:38:26

    I tend to do several things….go back and reread/skim through keepers I have, watch shows I’ve had saved on my DVR or play games at Pogo until the slump is over and I’m ready to dive into a new book. With my oldest going off to college this month, I have only read 1 new book but have reread several keepers and have fully caught up on my Hell’s Kitchen and Leverage episodes and now I’m working on the episodes of The Cleaner that I have saved on the DVR.

  17. Robin L. Rotham
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 09:41:58

    A reading slump usually happens to me in the middle of a writing slump and is a signal from my muse that I need to get back to work whether I like it or not.

  18. Tessa K.
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 09:43:05

    I have to say – like several others have – I return to books that I know I love. Although, I have to agree with Don Linn, as well, network television inevitably causes me to return to reading with it’s epic fail in plot, character, or originality… though I am loving Castle and very excited for the new season – maybe because it is about an author?

    Anyway, I think for me, returning to stories I love reminds me that I love stories and renews my narrative greed – which in turn opens me back up to new authors and titles.

  19. rigmarole
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 10:02:18

    Fanfic, fanfic, fanfic. The crackier, the better.

  20. Melissa Blue
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 10:02:38

    Read a favorite on my keeper shelf. Give myself some blood and gore time i.e. change genres. I watch t.v. or movies like there is no tomorrow. But, I usually hit a reading slump after I’ve had a reading binge. So, technically I’m just taking a break.

  21. Melissa
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 10:08:46

    When I get in a slump I try something outside the bounds of romance –I pick up an old classic I’ve always wanted to read (Moby Dick or something, because it’s a break in pace and tone from romance and after reading LOTS more info about the whaling industry than I’ve ever wanted to know, I’m ready to appreciate rom again LOL).

    If that doesn’t do it, I’ll put the books down for a spell and tackle a large sewing project. One large quilt will usually do it for me. By the time I’m done cutting, piecing, assembling and quilting a Queen sized project, I’m ready for a break with a good book. Plus, the time I spend doing it is very mentally therapeutic –my DH calls it my Zen time…

    Good luck!

  22. Kathy
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 10:10:17

    I have experienced several slumps over the years. Usually what works best is to do a 180 from what I’ve been reading and move into another genre. This has always been effective.

    I try to avoid slumps by trying to read across several genres. I just read a straight up historical fiction (Jeri Westerson’s Veil of Lies) which was a great break and a great read (also highly recommended). I love straight up suspense and procedurals so I keep an eye on favorite authors from the past when I’ve ventured into a different genre and grab books for the TBR pile. I have several waiting for me to help avoid the next pending slump.

  23. Bonnie B
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 10:20:10

    I switch genres, or go back to my keepers for some comfort reads. I also enjoy various types of different crafting, so there’s always plenty to do when the reading isn’t cutting into my crafting time! Then there’s tv & all the dvd sets I’ve purchased but not yet gotten to, and of course there’s housework, or cleaning out my closets, or going for a walk, or taking coffee with some friends …

    Actually, when I look at it honestly, reading cuts into a *lot* of time I could be spent doing other things! SHOCK! ;p

  24. rebyj
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 10:20:51

    I am in a reading slump from about the 15th of every month when my book budget runs out.
    What do I do? Whine a lot and shoot evil looks at anyone who fusses about how big their TBR pile is! LOL

    Overall though, there are so many genres out there that if I get tired of one trope, I move on to something else. If I get sick of fiction, I will pick up a non-fiction on some subject I’m interested in at the time. There is a book in my hand every day of some kind or another, even if it’s a re-read.

  25. library addict
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 10:35:26

    I chose “Other” because it's a combination. I normally read a mix of genres, so when I am in a reading slump it means nothing is appealing to me. I usually stop reading for a while and then go back and reread an old favorite. Once or twice an eagerly anticipated new release has been what I needed to jumpstart my reading again.

    Reading slumps usually don't last too long thank goodness. The longest one I've had was actually earlier this year. I only read 10 books in two months. That was a major slump for me.

  26. may
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 10:58:20

    Slumps happen in many aspects of my life, and I find several things apply to my reading. A reading slump can be an indicator of something else going on in my world, maybe I read a great book then a stinker and am in funk – whatever! It happens but it’s really no big deal.

    – take a week or two off. Just. stop. reading. The passion comes back as absence makes heart grow fonder.

    – walk through bookstore and just browse. I never just browse, I’m always on a mission!

    – switch to magazines or a non-fiction read for a while.

    I do not ever have “go to a classic” success beyond enjoying reading that classic. I always think “yeah, this is great and all books now are CRAP” when I’m done… not helpful to me. That said – I think everyone deals differently and I would bet that most of us simply walk away for a bit or switch genres…

  27. Laura K Curtis
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 10:58:56

    I read non-fiction research books, or books I’ve been meaning to read for a while but haven’t gotten to for one reason or another.

  28. abc
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 11:01:55

    I took a long break from reading except for a couple favorites. Last year I re-read some of the books on my keeper shelf. Those got me interested in buying their new books. I have a laptop, so I started buying digital copies of their books.

    In fact, digital books played a large role in getting me hooked again. I discovered Linda Winfree’s “Hearts of the South” series from Samhain. That series drew me in and got me interested in finding other new authors.

    Now I have new favorites, backlists to hunt down, and a Sony reader with a TBR pile that keeps growing.

  29. Lou
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 11:30:57

    I was in a reading slump last week and it wasn’t pretty. After reading two new releases last weekend, Hunting Ground and Blood Promise (which are super fantastic!) the thought of picking up a new book filled me with dread.

    I had overloaded on the series I was reading and trying to keep up with, so I stopped for the entire week. This morning I picked up a book. Huzzah!

    I’m making a vow. No more new books until I have read the ones in my TBR pile!!

  30. Sharon
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 11:56:31

    Play World of Warcraft and read non-fiction.

  31. AnotherLori
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 11:57:23

    I’ve been in and out of a romance reading slump for awhile so I’m not reading romance right now. It’s the perfect time for some autobiographies, poetry and non-fiction.

    I think for myself I almost feel compelled to pick up every book that people here and on SB rave about and then feel overwhelmed by so many new authors and titles. So it’s good to take a break and remember to enjoy other things.

  32. Elise Logan
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 12:05:00

    Yep. I switch genres. If I find romance becoming stale, I’ll switch to non-fiction, mystery, or true crime for a while. Or maybe I move to straight-up fantasy or sci-fi. Usually sci-fi.

    There’s no way I could take a break from reading. I’d go insane. So I have to find something to read, even if it’s cookbooks.

  33. Marsha
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 12:14:48

    When I’m in a reading slump, I figure my eyes are just tired. (They don’t necessarily *feel* tired, I just know they are.) It doesn’t matter which genre it is, I just no longer feel like reading. I usually switch to audiobooks. My audio books seem to be the same genres/authors as my electronic (mostly) or print books, so I’m still getting the same-type stories. Typically a book-buying session will start me reading with my eyes again, when I buy a book that I want to read right then.

    Even though it’s outside my normal romance genre, my fall-back favorite is the audio version of the Harry Potter series, performed by Jim Dale. That never gets old.

  34. Caligi
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 13:22:25

    Haha! I also go play some WoW until the urge strikes me to go back to reading.

    I’ll also work through some comics (I buy them in trade formats) and maybe some Terry Pratchett.

  35. Christine Rimmer
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 13:34:43

    I switch to literary novels. Nothing makes me appreciate the various romance subgenres so much as a loooonnnng literary tome. I try to find something with a lot of people I can’t relate to doing either really boring or really dispicable things. Sends me racing right back to romance.

  36. Dear_Evette
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 13:39:20

    I switch genres. I’ll fead SF/Fant or Mysteries or police procedurals. I also like to listen to audiobooks. A good reader is almost like watching a performance.

  37. SonomaLass
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 13:42:08

    Switching genres usually works for me. I usually have a list of books I want to read in several genres, so that’s not difficult. Occasionally I find myself feeling very picky and somewhat restless as a reader, and nothing seems to be clicking for me. That’s a sign that I need to pull something off the keeper shelf and re-read something I know I will enjoy. When I’m out of my slump, I can often return to the books I wasn’t enjoying and say “that’s okay, honey, it was me, not you.”

    @Marsha — I don’t do many audiobooks, but the Harry Potter ones are like crack for me. However, much as I LOVE Jim Dale, I prefer the British versions, read by Stephen Fry.

  38. April
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 14:00:21

    I try things I’ve always shied away from. Shake things up. Look for something completely different (and, yes, I agree with other posters, reading general fiction or romance-less fiction always has me running back to what I love most).

    I’ve been in a slump recently. Every book I pick up irritates me. Too predictable. Too formulaic. Not meaty enough for me to care about the outcome.

    So, last night I picked up Butterfly Tattoo by Deirdre Knight, due to some excellent reviews here and on the SB website. I’ve shied away from anything involving gay romance, and I don’t know why. I suppose I assumed I wouldn’t be able to relate to it–and was being close-minded.

    Anyhow, I think the slump is over, because the writing is fabulous and the storyline was just what I needed to get over my “bored with the conventions” slump, as well as open my mind to a different sort of romance. I love it.

  39. Diana
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 14:08:56

    I’ve been through reading slumps where I feel like everything I pick up just doesn’t move me. It isn’t that I’ve been handling bad books, but I’ve been through slumps where I try a few books that don’t evoke a sense of wonder. I end up with a pile of books I don’t finish. And I work in a library.

    But then something amazing will be recommended to me or catch my eye and all is well again.

  40. Tabitha
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 14:18:36

    I either pick up an old favorite to do a re-read or switch to a different reading. If I was in a romantic suspense slump, I would either switch to historical or contemporary or paranormal. And if that still doesn’t work I’d glom one of my favorite tv shows.

  41. abc
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 14:22:16

    There's no way I could take a break from reading. I'd go insane. So I have to find something to read, even if it's cookbooks.

    The break I took was at a time I was working full time and going to school part-time. So it was really just a break from reading for enjoyment. I still had plenty of forced reading to do.

    Now that I no longer have to read all those textbooks, if I got into a slump again I’d probably take some online course or read some how-to books on programming. *sigh* It would probably be better career-wise if I did that anyway. Just not as much fun.

  42. Caty
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 14:44:48

    I switch genres: I usually only get into a reading slump when I’ve been reading lots of very similar books. But since I’m a bit promiscuous when it comes to genres – I often have at least one light fiction, something literary, two or three classics and two or three different kinds of non-fiction on the go at any one time – I find I don’t often get into slumps in the first place.

  43. Elise Logan
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 15:57:36

    @abc:

    *grin* hmm. Nope. Even working full time and going to school full time for my Masters I was reading 3-4 “fun” books per week. Fortunately for me, I don’t have to work while finishing my Ph.D., so I can do more like 10-20/week for fun now.

    You know, that sounds suspiciously like I need a 12 step program.

  44. Nadia
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 16:16:58

    I read my old favorites or just watch TV.

  45. Kendra
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 16:20:35

    I go back and read the old favorites. Then I end up in a new genre.

  46. Heather (errantdreams)
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 16:20:58

    I read something totally different for one or several books, or go watch a couple of movies, or catch up on TV shows on the DVR. The first of these is what I most do if I really want to revitalize my lust for books; the other two are just little breaks when I’m restless.

  47. lilitu93
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 16:53:45

    If it’s a genre slump, I start reading other genres. I got into romance via paranormals which I got into via urban fantasy, both old-school (Charles de Lint) and new-school (Kim Harrison). My first genre loves were SF and fantasy, with some horror, and I really didn’t get into romance until I was older.

    If I’m in an overall reading slump, I go back to one of my other hobbies: games (not WOW – I’m scared of it, mostly due to the time suck factor ;-) ), anime, TV (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Joss Whedon, etc.), crochet/knitting, playing music, etc. And then I do them until I’m so burned out I want to read again.

    Yeah, I get bored easily.

  48. Jessica Kennedy
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 18:21:15

    Great topic!

    Usually I will avoid reading the new book in a series that I just love for this very reason.

    Right now I have a Gena Showalter book I haven’t read because I’m saving it.

    I also saved the last J.R. Ward book for about a month or maybe it was two after the release day to read it. I love doing this!

    I’m also hording Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning from myself! It’s torture but I thank myself in the end.

  49. Gina
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 18:23:43

    I usually go back and read a book that really resonated with me. One that made me fall in love with the genre to begin with. If that doesn’t work I switch genres and try authors I’ve never read before. Usually reading new authors, that whole discovery thing, helps the most because I have something to get excited about again.

    If all else fails, a bowl of ice cream and some Food Network for a few days will kick me back into gear.

  50. Jane O
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 18:43:58

    Reading slump? What’s that?

  51. Melissa
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 19:37:10

    I always do rereads of all my fav authors~~Garwood, Howard, Sala, McNaught….usually will get me back in the mood for something. Sometimes I’ll watch alot of Law & Order~~I’m not too big on TV, so it’s a real break up for me to do this.

  52. Chicklet
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 21:05:17

    I usually read some books from other genres or start making my way through a TV series I’ve never seen (or haven’t seen in a long time). I’ve just started in on The Man from UNCLE.

  53. Joonigrrl
    Aug 24, 2009 @ 02:49:36

    Reading slump? ha! I know a thing or two about those. Although I think I’m technically out of my, er, 6 month reading slump, I’m hoping a certain sequel to Hunger Games solidifies that!

  54. NKKingston
    Aug 24, 2009 @ 04:08:59

    I don’t tend to get reading slumps, but that’s usually because I get too busy to read. I have work slumps instead!

    If I do get sick of reading it’s usually mid book. I don’t make myself finish it, but I have found I don’t tend to go back to books I abandon (I’m sorry, Gormenghast!) so I try and plow on a bit further if I can. I tend to switch to other hobbies and past times, or pick up a chewy bit of non-fiction. It’s nice to know from the other comments I’m not the only one!

  55. Sandy D.
    Aug 24, 2009 @ 09:51:43

    I read more magazines and/or blogs.

  56. ReacherFan
    Aug 24, 2009 @ 14:04:24

    I too go back to a favorite keeper. Maybe 2 or 3 and then I find, like talking with old friends, I’m in a better mood when I’m done. Then, if I still need some cheering up, I read another until I’m ready to tackle new books.

    I do go on genre binges. Perhaps the best example of this is Raymond Feist’s Magician. I bought it back in the early 80’s when it first came out – this huge paperback the size of a hardcover book. For the life of me I couldn’t get interested in Pug and Thomas. So I set it aside. A few months later I tried again, still couldn’t get into it. Third time was the charm. I started that book and read it it cover to cover than every thing else he had out and bought many books in hardcover. Then I just stopped. I had read so much fantasy – David Eddings, Kathrine Kurtz, Anna McCaffery, Andre Norton – you name it, I got tired. The only one I followed was The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, but by book 7 I was exhausted by the story and the years between releases, so I gave up.

    Then I moved to Regency historical romance for a number of years – Amanda Quick, Julie Garwood, Julia Quinn, Cathrine Coulter, etc. Then I got fed up with that. But I kept reading a few authors – Loretta Chase and a few others, but not much romance at all for a number of years.

    Now I’m back and reading romance but with vampire, shifters, and what have you. I’m sure that will pass.

    What has stuck is romantic suspense, mysteries, action thrillers, and good historical fiction. My TBR pile makes me look like I have multiple personality disorder. Everything from grim PI/cop/mystery to assassin to action thrillers to Regency. And every so often I still feel the need of a ‘comfort book’. The one that I know I like and can relax and enjoy. Maybe just read my favorite parts – the funny stuff or where the bag guys gets blow up and the hero walks away. Where it’s Here Kitty, Kitty or Agnes and the Hitman or I feel the need for A Time to Hunt or Lullaby Town, I keep the favorites handy. They snap me out of the reading doldrums caused by too many ‘meh’ books.

  57. Leah Hultenschmidt
    Aug 24, 2009 @ 15:05:18

    I dole out Suzanne Brockmann books to myself like candy. A lot of times, even genre-jumping doesn’t do it me–nothing gets me hooked. So I turn to the Troubleshooters, and it usually works to get me psyched again. I know I’ll always be immediately engrossed. I’m just worried what happens when I catch up to her current books.

  58. Sherry Thomas
    Aug 24, 2009 @ 20:33:50

    Play computer games.

  59. anon
    Aug 24, 2009 @ 20:47:08

    I don’t think I’ve ever really been in a reading slump. There’s too much wonderful variety out there, all genres, fiction, non-fiction, to ever lack for something good to read.

  60. Noelle S
    Aug 25, 2009 @ 14:03:26

    I have only rarely had reading slumps. I have a very large collection of print books, over 1000 currently, so I can easily switch genres.

    If I get burned out on romance, I will pick up a sci-fi/fantasty book etc. I always run back to romance though. I think I am addicted.

    I will place various types of books around the house. Fantasy in the bathroom, suspense in the dining area etc and wherever I end up sitting I will read a couple chapters. Then when I go to bed at night, my favorite book follows me.

    My holdout solution is to pick a publisher I don’t usually buy from and starting from the front page, read all the excerpts for all the books in order. By the time I am done, I want to read an actual story again. :)

  61. Randi
    Aug 25, 2009 @ 15:11:14

    I do a combination of all of those: stop reading (although, this is for like, a day. Maybe two.), switch genres, watch TV/movies, do a puzzle (this is my newest reading slump alternative-I’m always amazed at how my brain gets all bagigity about the pieces and I come back the next day and I figure out where they go. Brains are cool.)

    And sometimes, if it’s been a few years since I’ve read a book/series, I’ll start all over again (I’m looking at you Steven Baxter and Julie Czerneda).

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