The Dry

Thoughts on… Reading Slumps

I like routines especially when it comes to my blog. On Monday’s I post a film review and on Thursday’s I post a book review and if there’s something else I want to write about it’ll go live on any other day – that’s how I’ve done it for years now. I’m pretty consistent when it comes to that “schedule” but it’s tough to keep up with it when you’re in a reading slump.

I’ve read two books this month and I’m currently in the middle of two more; The Dry by Jane Harper on audio and I’m reading a physical copy of Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi. It’s not unusual for me to be reading one book on audio and another in physical format at the same time, but what is unusual is that it’s two and a half weeks since I started the physical book and it’s less than 300 pages long.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a reading slump.

I think this one has been brought about by life being a bit more busy than usual. I’ve started a new job, I did a movie marathon for charity, and I have family-related things I’m perhaps I’m subconsciously worrying about. I say subconsciously as I’m very much a person who doesn’t think they get stressed, until my body gives up in some shape or form and I realise I wasn’t feeling that great. Time to read and being in the right headspace to read is definitely the main factor. And while I do find the premise of Frankenstein in Baghdad interesting and I like how it has a large cast of characters, I never feel compelled to pick it up even though when I am reading it, I enjoy it. It’s a weird situation to be in.

This long weekend I plan to either finish Frankenstein in Baghdad or consciously put it aside and pick up something else. I can always go back to Frankenstein in Baghdad when I’m more in the mood for it. Because that’s something I’ve learnt about myself over the many years I’ve been reading – I am a mood reader.

That’s why my TBR’s are often pointless as I might read one or two books from them but the rest of that week/month/whatever I’ll read completely different things. With my Read the World Project I do think I put pressure on myself to read certain books and quickly. The plan with that project was to read a book from every country in the world before I turn 30 which is in less than two and a half years now and I have about 100 countries still left to read. While I enjoy reading books from different people in different places, and I’ve certainly found some favourites that I would never have heard of if it wasn’t for this challenge, there’s sometimes an underlying sense of guilt if I’m reading books that don’t fit for the challenge.

I think really for me, reading slumps are something that happens when I’m drained, can’t focus on the physical act of reading, and can’t find a book that suits my mood. To get myself out of reading slumps I tend to go to graphic novels as they are so much shorter and quicker to read than a novel. If I read a couple of graphic novels, I feel like I’ve achieved something and can then attempt to read a novel next.

I’m still learning to tell myself that putting aside a book to try it again at a later date, or just admitting that it’s not for me and DNF-ing it, is absolutely fine. I haven’t “wasted time” on that book and it’s totally OK to just have a break from reading if my mind is not up to it – blogging schedule be damned!

I hope this all makes sense. I was trying to write through how my feelings on reading and how that relates to blogging. I also have a clearer idea of how I’m going to think about my current read, my reading slump, and what kind of book(s) I want to read next. Have you ever had a reading slump? And if you have, how have you gotten yourself out of it? It’s always good to hear other people’s tips and tricks.

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Choose 4 Words Book Date from The Book Matchmaker

This week I decided to treat myself after I heard about The Book Matchmaker on The Owl on the Bookshelf‘s gift guide for bookworms. The Book Matchmaker is a company that offers customers a mystery or blind date with a book. The way they do this is wrapping their books and only giving you a couple of clues before you decide to make a purchase. The clues can either be four words that are to do with the book, or is just the books genre. I thought this was a great way to find a book I may not normally pick up.

So, the date I decided to go for a Choose 4 Words Book Date. There’s lots of different books to choose from but the one I went for was the one with the words; Australia, Community, Secrets and Crime. My thoughts were that it must be a crime story and possibly either by an Australian author or set in Australia. I do like crime fiction but don’t read it regularly in case it becomes a bit repetitive, so I thought there was a good chance I wouldn’t have read it and if it turned out to be by an Australian author it could go towards my Read the World Project.

I was very impressed with how quick my Book Blind Date arrived, it dropped through my letter box just three days after I ordered it. I was also impressed with how it was wrapped – it looked lovely and very professional.

My book date turned out to be The Dry by Jane Harper. It’s a book I hadn’t heard about before but having read the blurb it’s definitely a book I’m looking forward to reading. The book also came with some hot chocolate! That’s another nice thing about this service, it lets you choose between tea, coffee, herbal tea and hot chocolate so you can have a hot drink as you enjoy your book date.

 As well as the 4 Words and Genre Book Dates, where you receive just the book and a hot drink, they also have Book Date Gift Boxes which include a book, mug, hot drink, an edible treat and a bookmark.

I think The Book Matchmaker is a great way to take a risk with what you read. I’m looking forward to reading The Dry and I will probably be making a purchase through The Book Matchmaker when I want a surprise book again.

Have you used The Book Matchmaker before? If so, what was your surprise book?