EVERYONE Has Read This but Me - The Catch-Up Book Club discussion

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[ARCHIVES] FOR FUN > what is a book slump?

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message 1: by NancyJ (last edited May 09, 2018 02:39PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) I've heard people say they're in a book slump or a reading slump. What does that mean? And what do you do about it?

Here are my guesses re what is means:

*You've read a lot of mediocre books without a real hit? (poor batting average)
*You can't find something you really want to read?
*Reading has become a chore or an obligation, not fun?
*You're burned out or can't concentrate?
*You keep starting books and not finishing them?

I'm starting to feel like reading is a chore, especially when I feel rushed reading for book clubs. (I'm in too many book clubs.)

I just finished a book that is associated with so many little irrirations, I can't even decide if I liked it or not. I had to wait two months to get it from the library, I was ambivalent about the author to begin with, I put off better books to read it, and now I really want to discuss it, but it's too late. Everyone has moved on to the May books. The only reason I read it is because it looked like it would be interesting to discuss. (Little Fires Everywhere - if you want to discuss it let me know!)

After a concussion (car accident) I couldn't concentrate enough to read my mail. Now I'm grateful that I can read again, even if I may have gone overboard.

What does it mean for you, and what do you do about it?


message 2: by Ella (last edited May 09, 2018 03:02PM) (new)

Ella (ellamc) Well - I am about to go pick up my copy from the library (of Little Fires Everywhere) in an hour, so I will happily discuss this one with you if you want to wait just a little longer. (Usually the threads stay active for a long time. If you post, you may not see thousands of responses, but someone will reply, or at least read your posts.)

I've had all of the types of book slump you mention above. I found myself feeling very stressed last month, and while I was able to read, I wasn't liking any of the reading I was doing. It all felt very average and bland, and that did mess with my concentration, so I stopped reading as much and forced myself to watch movies that have been on my list for ages. (In a couple cases, I let myself off the hook and watched the movies rather than reading the books, but 2 of those only served to make me want to read the book more.) I often leap from reading to listening. I find it just as easy to get overloaded from listening as reading too. I used to think of listening as sort of a vacation, but that's just not really true.

Lately I've been sick, and that means I don't want to read anything too hard. I just want easy books. Or at least easy to read books (even if the subject matter is difficult.) When everything seems unappealing, I go to one of the books I adore and reread it. I love Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Richard Russo's Straight Man for funny de-slumping (you need to find your own though) and when I need more than one book to overcome, I read my favorite spy novels (the Bernard Sampson series by Len Deighton When I was a kid, I read Catcher in the Rye like 100 times, and I learned that reading a book I know and love is like having a good talk with a friend.)

I try to switch up the types of books I'm reading (I never get through more than a couple from one author in a row, usually, even when I fully plan on reading more. I find myself less appreciative if I read too much of one thing.) If it's really bad, I let myself off the hook completely.

Book clubs: I'm behind for all but my in person book clubs, and I'm OK with that. I read a lot, but especially when I'm in a slump, I need to read books I'm excited to read. There are way too many books I really do want to read for me to read something I have no interest in just because a group is reading it. (I belong to one book club where I had to admit I just hated their book choices, but I loved the ladies, so I go and never ever read the books. It made me feel good once I just admitted that to myself and then to them.)

Good luck with your slump.


message 3: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Thanks Ella! I look forward to discussing it with you.

I switch between reading and listening too. I've been listening to Hillbilly Elegy in the car, and I'll have to finish it tonight. It's an easy mix of personal memoir stories with some interesting academic insights.

I have one book club that really energizes me, so I always go even if I didn't read the book.

FYI There is research on the benefits of re-watching favorite movies. They found that if someone is trying to create or change a habit, it is easier to do if you re-watch a favorite movie rather than watch a new one. (I don't recall if there was a control group of people who didn't watch a movie at all.)

If I can't shut off my mind enough to go to sleep, I'll put on an old favorite movie or audio book (low volume). It gives my mind something different to think about, but I don't have to focus enough to keep up with the dialogue, because I already know what comes next. Downton Abbey was my bedtime go-to for a long time because it was all dialogue.

It just occurred to me that this is the time of year (right after grading finals) when I always read a funny guilty pleasure book (or series). I need to find a new one. (Sookie Stackhouse was my first choice for several years.)


message 4: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline Hey Nancy I went through a 20 year reading slump 😁 I rediscovered books last October and I am really enjoying reading again. I still have little slumps though. I usually read a cozy mystery or something fun. And relatively short. And then a second one if I still don’t feel like reading anything else. Sookie would be good. I’ve been meaning to start reading those. I watch Aurora Teagarden by the same author on Hallmark Mysteries and I love the movies.

I’m only a member of a few Goodreads bookclubs and no actual irl bookclubs and I hardly ever read the books I’m supposed to when I’m supposed to read them. I did read Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows the same month Reece Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Club read it. I do follow that on Instagram and get around to her books eventually.

I haven’t read Little Fires Everywhere yet. Another Reece book btw. I do have it here though when I get the urge. There is probably a thread for it here. Post your thoughts and maybe someone will answer. It’s been the monthly book on a couple of my online bookclubs but I was too busy reading whatever took my fancy. I’m more a mood reader. Trying to keep up with a lot of bookclubs sounds like something that I wouldn’t find fun. I’d burn out too easily.

Maybe you should take stock of the bookclubs you are a member of and drop any that have become a chore. Reading isn’t supposed to be a chore. It’s supposed to be fun.


message 5: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline And it seems you have found the thread :)


message 6: by Kerri (last edited May 09, 2018 05:05PM) (new)

Kerri | 702 comments I am also unsure of how I felt about Little Fires Everywhere, though I tend more toward the positive and feel it was powerful, but there are some things I just can't seem to sort out and I can't quite put my finger on them to ask about it clearly yet. If you comment on the Little Fires Everywhere thread, I am still reading it and would love to hear your take!
EDIT: I don't always pay attention to who is saying what where, so I did read your comments :) I just haven't replied yet, though I should. Sometimes I overthink and never talk, and other times I talk without thinking; I'm not good at balancing the two.

As for reading slumps, yes to all the things you mentioned! I've done them all except the last (I have only just recently started telling myself it's ok to not finish books, haha!) as a result of a "slump" and have felt in one a little bit lately actually. I am enjoying what I have been reading (except for one I didn't finish), I think I am just physically and mentally tired from my job and it is easier to turn to a mindless game instead of investing in a book. For example, I am reading 1Q84 and am finding it fascinating, but I can't concentrate on it for long stretches of a time, which is unusual for me. Normally, I can get lost in books for hours and not even notice.

When I find myself in a slump, I will pick up something I have been really excited about reading previously, find a book by one of my favorite authors, or turn to something simple and quick, depending on my mood and what I am feeling drawn to. If I don't feel drawn to anything, I will usually hit something that has been recommended to me really strongly that I haven't gotten to.

And speaking of not being able to sleep, I get that too sometimes. I used to watch Bob Ross on Netflix because his voice is so soothing and it doesn't take much thought to watch him paint pretty pictures, but he got taken off and now I watch whatever random thing catches my eye. It doesn't seem to matter what I watch, it all helps my brain slow down enough to sleep, but I stick to TV shows generally because I can't actually fall asleep while it is playing. So one short episode of something and back to bed.


message 7: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Ella wrote: "Well - I am about to go pick up my copy from the library (of Little Fires Everywhere) in an hour, so I will happily discuss this one with you if you want to wait just a little longer. (Usually the ..."

Thanks for the reminder about Straight Man. I think I had it on an old to-read list (pre-goodreads). I like Russo and I think I'll appreciate the setting.


message 8: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Jacqueline wrote: "Hey Nancy I went through a 20 year reading slump 😁 I rediscovered books last October and I am really enjoying reading again. I still have little slumps though. I usually read a cozy mystery or some..."

I stopped reading for fun for a decade or so too. I saw a lot of great movies then. My new couch isn't comfortable for long (I think it's designed for someone taller), so it's easy to limit TV time. It's funny how little things can shape your behavior.

I feel "at home" when I read the Gamache series by Louise Penny. They're sort of cozy, but a little edgier.

Yes, I do need to take stock of my group reads. It helps that summers are lighter in real life groups. I tried quite a few groups this year, trying to take advantage of this time to read. It might not last long. I ruled out a few fairly quickly (e.g. fictionistas!) and I'm still exploring groups that are reading books I really want to read. In a real-life group, people notice if you miss a month. I need to remind myself that no one will notice if I skip a month in an online group.


message 9: by NancyJ (last edited May 09, 2018 07:14PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Kerri wrote: "I am also unsure of how I felt about Little Fires Everywhere, though I tend more toward the positive and feel it was powerful, but there are some things I just can't seem to sort out and I can't qu..."

Yes, this book does give you a lot to think about and sort through. There were a lot of things that were unsettling, and exciting too. I've read the author before, so I also find myself thinking about the way she writes. I really like it when a book makes me think. If you like to overthink. go for it! I think we all need to do that sometimes. The beauty of an online group is that you can just skim the surface, or dive deep, without worrying that you're taking too much of the group's time. Writing helps me to clarify my ideas, so I tend to get wordy when I'm working through some new thoughts. So this format works for me. If someone doesn't want to read a long post, they can skip over it and no one's feelings are hurt.

I'll see you over there!


message 10: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 1059 comments I too have all those slumps. Generally I just reread my childhood favorites and other easy ones from my to-read lists.

I definitely do not feel obligated to read the BotM for these GoodReads discussion groups (not even the one I host, if it's hard to find a copy). I also definitely do not feel a need to finish a book (but then I will write a review explaining why I didn't, and I will almost never rate those DNFs).


message 11: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline I usually can’t find a copy anyway. Sometimes I do later and it sits there waiting for me to feel like reading it. Currently reading the Night Circus. It was from last November I think. Going to have to finish it today though. I went to the library on the way to get some milk just then. Yeahhhh came home with 5 books. Before We Were Yours (could be interesting to see if I finish it as I am adopted and I have trouble sometimes with it), A Thousand Splendid Suns, Burial Rites, Assassins Blade, and Leviathan Wakes. Nice mix anyway. And I only got around half of the books. Normally I go in there and scour all the shelves and don’t come home with any.


message 12: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline Hmm The Night Circus was last November for one bookclub on here but it was last month for this one. Wow...only a few weeks out lol


message 13: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Jacqueline wrote: "I usually can’t find a copy anyway. Sometimes I do later and it sits there waiting for me to feel like reading it. Currently reading the Night Circus. It was from last November I think. Going to ha..."

I read the night circus late too, at the end of March I think. People are still commenting on it on this board. Look at the the section on modern classics.

What a fruitful trip! Before We Were Yours has a lot of waitlists here. I've been waiting to read it for a long time.* My local bookclub votes on the next 6 books today, so I hope they'll pick it. If it helps, I believe it's about an illegal adoption ring, and it was long ago, but I understand it could bring up a lot of emotions.

A thousand Splendid Suns is one of the best books I ever read. It's very powerful. And it will make you very grateful for the freedoms you have in your life. It's tough reading sometimes, but very worth it. I have the audible too, which really helped when my eyes were tired.

My waitlist trick:
*I requested this book from the library and it was on my hold list. I suspended the hold, while my waitlist number got smaller and smaller. Now it's at #1, and when I'm ready, I'll lift the suspension, and I'll be first in line for the next one that is returned.


message 14: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Cheryl wrote: "I too have all those slumps. Generally I just reread my childhood favorites and other easy ones from my to-read lists.

I definitely do not feel obligated to read the BotM for these GoodReads discu..."


Cheryl, That's a great attitude. I don't have any children's books anymore. (I hope my kids have them!) But I do have some Pixar movies that do the trick. Inside Out is wonderful.


message 15: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (catjackson) There are times when I'm in a slump and either don't want to read or don't find any books that seem to grab my attention. When this happens I'll just find other things to do instead of read.

Something else I find happening right now is what I'm calling "shiny object syndrome". I've started a bunch of good books and want to finish them, but then find another good book to start. It's like a magpie collecting things for a nest! What I need to do is just settle down and finish the books, one after another and not pick up another book until I've finished the others. I've got 5 on the go and given the small amount of time in the day I have to read, that's way too many to have started.


message 16: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Catherine wrote: "There are times when I'm in a slump and either don't want to read or don't find any books that seem to grab my attention. When this happens I'll just find other things to do instead of read.

Somet..."


I do that too! "Shiny things!" is a common refrain with some of our friends. We say it whenever someone gets distracted by something new and interesting. I always have little piles of books around. I don't always start them, but I like to have a nice variety of books handy. I'm not a very materialistic person, but I do like to acquire books. I frequently hit my library's lending limit because I'm researching something new along with reading for fun. I try to focus on one in the car, and one on my nightstand, but I often also have a non-fiction book on the dining room table to browse over coffee.


message 17: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 542 comments I haven't read Little fires everywhere yet because I had a lot of other books queued in my TBR list and wanted to finish them first. Since I joined this bookclub (the only I belong to) I wanted to hit every book of the list and I'm doing a great job with it, except now with the Japanese books that I won't read (I don't like Murakami and I am a cat is too down for me now). That's what motivates me to go on, I don't see it as a chore but as a challenge, and as I am very curious of knowing what's on this books, I just keep reading.

Except for two months ago, when I took a treatment to get pregnant and started to sleep a lot. When I'm not sleeping I'm feeling queasy and have headaches, so lately I've associated books with feeling crappy. Even so, I don't stop, and try to squeeze at least 10 pages a day.


message 18: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Mariana wrote: "I haven't read Little fires everywhere yet because I had a lot of other books queued in my TBR list and wanted to finish them first. Since I joined this bookclub (the only I belong to) I wanted to ..."

It's hard to read when you feel sick! An audio book might be easier, as long as you like the voice. Good luck getting pregnant! Little Fires might be particularly interesting to you right now. I'll be interested to hear what you think. I skipped IQ84 too. It didn't appeal to me at all. I chose to read All the Light you cannot See instead. I started it today.


message 19: by Renee (new)

Renee (elenarenee) Nancy is right. I do a lot of audio books when my Lupus is flaring. I get the distraction of a story along with the comfort of hearing a story. I think its a little throwback to bed time stories,


message 20: by Candice (new)

Candice (mothsandmammothfigures) | 11 comments Often, I find myself wanting to read, but also not wanting to read. It feels like it takes so much more effort than mindlessly browsing the internet, and so when I'm really tired, especially after a particularly mentally taxing day, I turn to Youtube or Tumblr instead of to a good book! I own so many that I haven't even read yet, and keep getting more and not reading them, too! That's what a reading slump is to me: just for some reason not reading when I could and want to.


message 21: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Candice wrote: "Often, I find myself wanting to read, but also not wanting to read. It feels like it takes so much more effort than mindlessly browsing the internet, and so when I'm really tired, especially after ..."

Yes, that makes sense. Your brain can only tolerate so much cognitive work before it needs a rest. I'd be better off closing my eyes when I feel that way, but Pet Rescue is my brainless drug of choice. I kick myself afterwards though because it would be just as easy to listen to a TV show or audiobook while I play the mindless game.

My husband has been nagging me about devices at night due to blue lights and insomnia, so I figure if I'm too tired to read, I should just sleep. Sometimes that works.

I sometimes listen to an audio book at night, but the last one had an upbeat Australian voice that's a bit annoying at bedtime.


message 22: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Ann wrote: "Wishing everyone a good weekend, hopefully without any reading slump blues."

You too. Looking forward to a good night's sleep.


message 23: by Candice (new)

Candice (mothsandmammothfigures) | 11 comments NancyJ wrote: "Candice wrote: "Often, I find myself wanting to read, but also not wanting to read. It feels like it takes so much more effort than mindlessly browsing the internet, and so when I'm really tired, e..."

That's a good idea! I don't know why I didn't think of just listening to an audiobook. That seems like it would take so much less effort for some reason than actually reading.


message 24: by Karen (new)

Karen | 127 comments Candice wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Candice wrote: "Often, I find myself wanting to read, but also not wanting to read. It feels like it takes so much more effort than mindlessly browsing the internet, and so when I'm ..."

Audio books are a life (or at least my sanity) saver! Not only for my daily commute to work (which took me 90 minutes yesterday morning due to wet roads and 3 bad accidents), but also for sleepless nights and while doing chores around the house. For years, I depended on Playaway devices (like having a book inside a matchbox) that my library offered. Now, I can't imagine not having Overdrive! So many wonderful titles are offered. Right now, I'm listening to an amazing story called 'Educated, a Memior' and next in line is 'Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine'. Candice, you really should try this. Most narrators have appealing voices and very talented! Go back and look at the thread focusing on audiobooks. There are many recommendations listed.


message 25: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Karen wrote: "Candice wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Candice wrote: "Often, I find myself wanting to read, but also not wanting to read. It feels like it takes so much more effort than mindlessly browsing the internet, ..."

I agree! I wasn't crazy about the voice for Eleanor Oliphant right away, but then I realized it really did fit the character.

My library allow only 7 days for electronic books, so I initially transferred overdrive files to my ipod, but for some reason it doesn't work anymore (I think the problem is with my computer). I can get CDs for longer.

I also recommend audible.com. If you don't like a book you can swap it for something else. It's easy to transfer to any device.


message 26: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 542 comments NancyJ wrote: "Mariana wrote: "I haven't read Little fires everywhere yet because I had a lot of other books queued in my TBR list and wanted to finish them first. Since I joined this bookclub (the only I belong ..."

Thank you Nancy, I'm 11 weeks right now and tomorrow we'll get the important sonogram to see their status. I'll start Little fires and all the light we can not see as soon as I finish Pride and Prejudice (a year with Jane and I abandoned her on the first two months). Let you know what I think!


message 27: by Mariana (new)

Mariana | 542 comments Renee wrote: "Nancy is right. I do a lot of audio books when my Lupus is flaring. I get the distraction of a story along with the comfort of hearing a story. I think its a little throwback to bed time stories,"

BTW I started listening Throne of glass in the car but I don't know if it was the voice or my crappy feeling that made me avoid it. When I'm home I'm mostly sleeping like a bear in winter, so I just leave a good sitcom as background and be gone for 3 hours.
Now that I'm feeling better I'll start Throne of glass again.


message 28: by Renee (new)

Renee (elenarenee) I tend to find myself in a book slump when I am reading similar books. Last year everything i picked up seemed to have an unreliable narrraotor. Once I stopper reading anything that was compared to Gone Girl or Girl on the Train my lump was over

NancyJ wrote: "Candice wrote: "Often, I find myself wanting to read, but also not wanting to read. It feels like it takes so much more effort than mindlessly browsing the internet, and so when I'm really tired, e..."


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