Sunday, July 9, 2017

Bookworm Problems: Book Slumps

So far my July reading looks like this...

"#bookwormproblems: when you've read a book so amazing you get into a book slump when you try to read something else. #amreading"

Basically, I'll find one book that I breeze through and really like then when I finish it and want to move on to the next book on my TBR shelf I encounter a problem. 

Either: 
a)  I can't get into the book at all, not even past the first page.
or
b) I get maybe 40-50 pages in and the book isn't as good as it was expecting it to be so I don't see myself enjoying it enough to finish so I DNF it.

Skimming through the book doesn't help, reading ahead doesn't help, damn - reading the ending doesn't even help. I've finished one book of the four I've started reading this month (but I plan to finish the one I'm reading now so the ratio is about even). So short of going crazy, how do I get past a book slump?

Confession: I really don't have a method to my madness. 

I finished up June reading:
Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco. I had won this ARC, but before I ever even entered for it I read an excerpt of the first chapter on, I believe, Entertainment Weekly's website and was immediately grabbed by the story. 

Then I started reading:
Which I ended up setting aside because I didn't like it as much as the first book. Thinking I would love this book as much as I did the first book, I didn't read an excerpt before requesting. My mistake. I might pick it back up, the book doesn't come out until December so I definitely have time, or I might read 50 or so pages a month until I finish. I got to about page 70 before I got stuck.

After setting that aside I grabbed:
Which I couldn't put down. I admit, the writing and story were a little strange but it kept my interest until the very end. I hadn't read an excerpt of this book, but I had liked another book by this writing duo and thankfully it paid off.

Feeling optimistic I grabbed:
For some reason, this book didn't even appeal to me. I couldn't even get past the second page. I'd bought it months ago at HPB and since I was rushed by my shopping companions I didn't get much of a chance to flip through it before I bought it. Mistake #2.

One of my bookstagram friends raves about this book, so I gave it a try...
I read maybe two-three chapters but I absolutely *hated* the writing. The story itself didn't make a lot of sense, so frustrated that I'd bought another book without reading an excerpt on Amazon's "look inside" feature I dropped it in the DNF pile.

Finally, feeling like I'd never find a book I liked again, I grabbed this book:
and broke my book slump (for now). I'm a little over 100 pages in and I'm loving the story so I think I'll stick with it. I'd read an excerpt of this book on Amazon before I ordered a signed copy from Book People (an Indie Bookstore in Texas which I highly recommend!) so I knew that I liked the beginning at least.

***

The moral of this confusing trip through my recent reading endeavors? If you're on the fence about buying and/or reading a book because you're not sure if you're going to like it and you want to avoid a book slump you should do one of the following:

- Read an excerpt of the book. Amazon has the "look inside" feature for books that are already on sale. Even if you don't buy from them you can still usually read the first chapter. You may also be able to find an excerpt on blogs, entertainment websites like Entertainment Weekly or Publisher's Weekly, or even on the author's website (or maybe on Wattpad). This will give you a feel for how you'll like the book.

- If you still are on the fence (you like the excerpt but are still unsure if you'll like the whole book) see if your local library has a copy. That way you can still read the book and if you don't like it you won't feel bad about spending your hard-earned cash on a book you turn out to hate. 

- Read reviews about the book. This doesn't always work for me because I tend to love books other people hate and hate books everyone raves about (see: The Raven Boys). If I decide to get a feel for the book by reading reviews about what people did or didn't like about a book, I usually go with the opposite of the consensus of people's opinions. If the majority of people loved it, I'll probably hate it so I don't waste my time. If the majority of people hated it, then I should probably grab a copy. (Like I said, this doesn't always work, but sometimes it helps when making a decision.)

***

So you've already bought a bunch of books and you're working your way through your TBR pile but nothing is appealing to you. How do you break out of your book slump?

- Switch up genres (Been reading a lot of one genre? Switch things up and read a book with a completely different genre. Example: getting sick of fantasy books letting you down? Switch to Sci-Fi or Contemporary.)

- Talk to a friend or loved one about what's not working for you with the book. They may be able to give you some insight into what might help you decide to keep reading or DNF the book. Just talking about it, in general, might help.

- Post about it on social media. Maybe send out a tweet that says: #bookwormproblems: is anyone else not feeling the relationship between x & y in "this book"? (or whatever is holding you back) - see what other people say. Maybe they picked up on the same things you did. Or maybe they can tell you that your slow read picks up and gets better.

- Take a break from reading. Maybe you've just been reading too much. (I know, I know - there is no such thing!) But maybe, in this case, there is. Set the book down and hang out with friends or watch a movie, maybe listen to some music. Then when you feel like reading again give the book another go.

***

Sometimes I feel the pressure to read at least one book a week to keep up with my "What I'm Reading" Wednesday blogs and I feel like I'm not reading fast enough if it's Tuesday night and I'm still reading the same book I was reading the previous Wednesday so I force myself to keep on with a book I'm not loving. This has caused more problems for me this year because a lot of my TBR books were purchased because someone recommended them to me. I've learned recently that I have very eclectic taste in books and I need to stop buying a book because a bookstagrammer in Omaha (or wherever) says "oooh, you have to read this book because you're going to love it!" - That approach doesn't always work out for me. 

It's time to get back to buying books that look good to me, not someone else. 

***
Do you encounter any of these problems? How do you get through a book slump?

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