Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bad Reading Spot

by Dave White

I'm in a bad way.

I can't find anything to hold my attention. Everything I pick up to read feels familiar. I think I've read it before. And if it feels brand new, I get bored with it. I can't explain it precisely, but I just can't find something to read.

Even when I find something I enjoy and do finish, it takes me forever. I'm stuck reading a chapter at a time. Three pages here. A page there. It took me 3 weeks to finish a book that should have taken me 3 days.


I think I'm distracted. I've got a wedding coming up, short stories and a novel to work on, and it's the end of the school year. But it's disappointing. I want to read. It's a passion of mine.

Reading is what got me into writing.

And instead, I'm sitting around reloading sports message boards and watching baseball.

Though, at the same time, I've discovered BREAKING BAD. And that's a good thing.

Do you go through reading slumps? How do you get out of them?


David Cranmer said...

Once or twice a year and when it happens I either find a genre that I wouldn't normally peruse or else read a writer's bio. Audio books can put you back on track also.

pattinase (abbott) said...

It happens to me all the time. The main distraction for me is right here--the Internet. Sometimes it helps as David said to try a different sort of book. How about a humorous book? I just picked up and put down four books I had on reserve at the library. They all seemed too smug for my tastes.

Ellen Clair Lamb said...

Audiobooks sometimes help — especially an audiobook of a classic, something you always meant to read but never got around to. Dickens is good for that.

Bryon Quertermous said...

I do get them and they suck. I was in one for a while before I just got out and it was what David said. I read a comedy/horror/fantasy and now I'm reading Koryta's new supernatural one and it's great and I'm excited about two or three more books I have on deck.

No Joyce though.

Chuck said...

I read stuff outside my wheelhouse. Stuff that's funny really helps.

What really changed, though, was moving from predominantly fiction to predominantly non-fiction.

-- c.

Unknown said...

I'm going through the exact same thing right now. I literally have a mile high to be read stack (I'm not kidding when I say this.)and every book I've been pulling out of it has been making me say meh even though I want to read it.

What I've done before (and what I'm doing right now.) is I pick up a book from a long time favorite author (one of the good old favorites from my teens.) and read through a couple of their books to get my brain working

Scott D. Parker said...

I concur with other folks here. Audiobooks is my #1 go to when I'm in a reading funk. I've been in one, too, and with a character I like. Book clubs are another nice way to do something different. I'm in a SFF one and we read stuff I'd have never selected. You can always go the other way, too: read really crappy books on purpose (ones you get to throw down) and then return to the ones you really like. Helps with writing, too.

There is always this concept to consider, too: the novel you're writing *is* your favorite book right now. Nothing compares to it.

Jen Forbus said...

I regularly listen to audio books and mix up the types of books I read...even within the genre. I finished a very dark book and am now reading a quick, light silly one. I think that helps me stay interested.

However, I'm not writing at the same time. I found it very interesting when Michael Koryta said he had trouble reading detective fiction while he was writing it. Now that he's kind of shifted, he loves reading it again. Could that be what you're encountering?

Ron Earl Phillips said...

I set a 52 book goal for myself this year, but I've been in a funk myself. Probably brought on my staying in genre the last couple months. After I finish KILLER I'm going to pick up the latest A Lee Martinez and have a romping funny time.

Graham Powell said...

I was in a reading drought for quite a while, and a writing drought as well. I recently started writing regularly again and I haven't been able to read enough.

Nights typically end with me looking at the clock, calculating how much sleep I'll get if I turn off the light right now, then deciding, "One more story."

Darren G. Miller said...

I have gone through some seriously bad reading blocks in the past 3 years. I have a bit of ADD, which gets much worse when I'm under stress. When I went through PTSD 3 years ago, I couldn't read anything for almost a year. I started reading again with short stories and non-fiction essays, then worked my way back up to novels and non-fiction books.

Melissa Tidwell said...

Dave, thanks for asking because I am coming to your aid with a new blog I just launched yesterday,

The idea is that folks in distress such as yourself who need something to read but can't quite decide what they have a taste for send me a short message with some description of the things they crave and I will suggest one or more good books. Right now I plan to post twice a week, maybe more later.

The site is still going up, but give me a visit and help me get it rolling, will you?

Mike Dennis said...

I have developed the habit of reading every night after I get into bed, but before I go to sleep. It works.