Stuck in a reading rut

I love reading. As a child I liked books better than people. The library was my favourite place. I did four years of courses where I could read fiction books for study and I loved it. I’m part of a book club, if you stacked up my TBR it is taller than me and 90% of the time I read every day.

But sometimes I just can’t read. I see this as getting stuck in a ‘reading rut’. Reading becomes a chore rather than for fun, I get book fatigue, or other things seem more appealing. Maybe I’m just busy and being sociable, or I have loads of things to stress about. Whatever the reason this reading rut is characterised by one thing: I stop reading.

If you have never experienced this then you are lucky, I am very used to this by now. Sometimes I would get put off reading for weeks when I was forced to read uninteresting things for study. Stress, heavy workloads, exams and moving house have all been triggers of this too. More recently I fell into a reading rut that has lasted just a few days – but I know that is what it is, rather than simply being between books, or taking a break.

Now that I can recognise it for what it is, I also have some handy tips for dealing with this bookish lethargy, because lets face it, if you are a bookworm, then you want to be reading right?

1. Take a break

Maybe you’ve been pushing yourself too hard, getting book fatigue, or are just a bit stressed out. Reading takes concentration which won’t work if you aren’t in the right headspace. Just put the book down for a bit rather than forcing it.

2. Watch some book related TV

You can still enjoy literary things without actually reading. Find your favourite adaptation, and indulge in some reading-free but still bookish time. If you want to get out and about try theatre shows, a literary walking tour, or visiting an author home/museum.

3. Don’t read anything that isn’t entertaining you

I am very guilty of struggling through books because I think I should read them, but the bottom line is that reading should be fun and if a book is so bad/hard/irritating/insert-negative-adjective that you are avoiding reading it, then you shouldn’t feel guilty about putting it down and saying it isn’t your cup of tea.

4. Mix it up – Maybe you are tired of reading the same thing?

Try something different and new, either a new genre, or even try your hand at plays or poetry. Switching up how you read could be good too, for example audiobooks or an app like Serial Reader where you get short installments of classic novels.

5. Don’t sweat it

If you don’t feel like reading it’s not something to worry about, you’ll soon get the bug again, absence makes the heart grow fonder after all.


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