Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Reading Slumps--What do you do when you don't feel like reading?

Sassymonkey over at has a great post on "reader's slump." What do you do when you self-identify as a voracious reader, you have a pile of books to read, and yet, you don't feel like reading them?

I have felt this way at times, and for me the issue was if I felt like the reading was required in some way. In graduate school, I experienced slumps when I felt like all I was doing was reading, and the reading was someone else's idea, not mine. I got through it, but it was with mental temper tantrums.

Currently, I experience reading reluctance when it comes to student writing. If a paper or creative assignment is unbearably bad, for example, I just can't stop reading it the way I could put down an unengaging book or article. I have to finish it, and worse, think about it. I have to come up with at least one good thing to say, as well as carefully phrased criticisms that will help the student writer improve. This is more mentally exhausting than reading a well-written book about a difficult subject, such as the Teapot Dome scandal.

Also, and I hate to say this, since I started reading and reviewing books for my blog, I feel like it has transformed reading into a chore. When I pick out books for the library, the question behind my selections is usually, "Can I blog about this?" This transforms my style of reading. Normally, I am a very fast reader, but my retention is not always great. Now that I read with an eye to reviewing, I slow down my reading, so I can understand the book and come up with some sort of judgment about it. This takes time and effort, and thus reading starts to feel like a chore again.

If you blog about books, do you feel similiar? Does reading go from joy to chore, from escape to obligation?

There are times I say to myself, "I don't have to do this. I could quit blogging about books." But I won't quit, darn it! What does keep me going is the idea that someone reads my reviews. If you do read my reviews, please post and let me know what you think!


Liz said...

Hi - just wanted to say thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! I'm impressed that you reached your goal weight and became a WW leader. I stopped before I reached my goal, partly to save money and partly because I figured I could do the rest on my own - maybe I need to go back!

Callista said...

Hi there, found your blog through book blogs. Anyways, I don't often go through complete reading slumps but I'm having the problem now of not wanting to read the ARC/review books I have waiting on my shelf but just wanting to read what I want from the library. I haven't figured out a good way of dealing with this yet.

enlightenmentgirl said...

I've been dealing with a writing slump. For example, I haven't posted anything about the latest Mad Men episode "The Jet Set" partly because of time, partly because of some problems with my eyesight, and partly orneriness. Callista,why not review some of the books you've been reading from the library? This could work if they are recent publications, or you could do an "oldie but goodie" post for older works.