The OTHER Reading Slump

books Do you ever hit those points in your reading where you just don’t know where to start? Usually, at this time of the year, I’m brimming over with reading ideas and books that I cannot wait to dive into. I’ve actually read some VERY good books this year (One Was a Soldier, The Bride Finder, Unveiled and a few more), but for some reason I feel like I’m hitting a wall. I have plenty of books in my TBR, but I just can’t decide where to start.

I would distinguish this from a regular reading slump because my problem isn’t that I just can’t find anything that grabs me. My dilemma is more about being spoiled for choice. I’ve got books on my Kindle that sound fantastic, I’ve been getting fun-sounding review books and my print TBR hasn’t exactly shrunk all that much. I look at my books and feel myself being pulled into way too many directions. I always have a review book to read, but it’s what to read on the side that gets me.

I’ve been reading some interesting nonfiction off and on, I just bought the new Julia Quinn and want to dive into that, there are a few paranormal series I want to catch up on, I have my TBR Challenge book to read for June, I have eleventy gazillion Harlequins and Carinas that I want to try, and…you get the picture. The reading options don’t strike me as bleak at all. However, at this rate, I will never actually finish anything!

Since I need to review, I can discipline myself to prioritize and get through those books. I set a pace for myself and unless my job goes crazy to the point that I can’t read anything at all(like it did this spring), I use that as a minimum amount of reading. If a book is really good, I’ll likely fly through it faster and if I’m mired in a D/F read, I’ll still get through it within a reasonable time. However, with my other books, unless I’m strongly in the mood for something, I look at the shelf or the Kindle and think, “I could really enjoy that historical/paranormal/mystery/inspy/etc…” Not helpful.

Now what does one do? Just grab a random book? Flip a coin? Read the back and decide which hero/heroine sounds the coolest? No idea. And with RWA coming up at the end of the month, the choices will only increase. Still, when faced with the idea of this versus an actual apathetic reading slump, it’s not a bad dilemma to have!

So, what do you do when you have so many good-sounding books that you just don’t know where to start?

– Lynn Spencer

25 thoughts on “The OTHER Reading Slump

  1. I see I’m not alone :-) I need a 12 step program for book buying and my Kindle has only been feeling my habit. I have 63 books now showing on my Kindle. I am a book horder saving things I really want to read ‘for later’. I am presently reading the first book of The Lymond Chronicles (read years ago), The biography SEAL TEAM SIX; MEMOIRS OF AN ELITE NAVY SNIPER, Mary Kay Andrews SUMMER RENTAL and A Courtesan’s Guide to Getting Your Man which I really am not enjoying and I usually love Celeste Bradley. My ‘save for later’ books are Kiss of Snow and a Donna Leon Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery…………Leigh, I loved the first two Masie Dodds but gave up on the series! I also get a lot of recs from the reviews and the boards.

  2. Wow so many people like me ! I have issues when I cant decide on which audio book to listen to . Some times I have to read a review or read a theme that i like to get over it. Question do any of you start reading the 1st pages then stop and go to a different book ? I hate when i catch myself doing that . I will stop one book and start another b/c the set up didnt appeal to me. I need to stop doing that .

  3. Phew – another group of peeps like me! I finally figured out I had too much choice but that’s not going to change cause I already have a room of TBR books.

    When things are dire I pull about 20 books out of the pile that I have been meaning forever to read. I then will only pick books from the 20 until I’m at least on a roll again. After a while, even the 16 you have left aren’t looking to great and you move back to the giant pile.

    Cindys

  4. I’m almost embarrassed to write this here as it shows how hyper-organized I am about everything, including my leisure time. But I have found a satisfactory solution for myself to choosing and reading books, of which I have many in abundance. For me I divide my reading selections in categories: such as new releasese, older classics I’ve never gotten around to, gloms, TOP 100 list, recent contemporaries I’ve missed, etc.. Then each month I review my lists of books from each category (yes, I keep a list for each category), and choose at least one from each list. That way I make progress through each of my TBR lists and feel satisfied with my reading chooses. That way too I don’t allow myself just to read new releases because I would be ignoring older books I want to read and vice versa. Some months, such as upcoming in July, I’ll break my pattern a little and will probably read at least two or three new releases, but usually I stay with my method and feel satisfied.

  5. Usually I’m driven by some priority or other — have to return the book, have to write a review because I won it, it’s for a buddy read, etc. I spend so much time doing that my mind will rebel and say, “I want to read this right now and I don’t give a damn that it’s not a library book!” I usually really enjoy that book!

    I have also done the random method. I have my print TBR organized by genre, so it’s not completely random.

  6. I’m with the few of you who don’t have a TBR pile. The most I’ll have a time waiting are when two or more come in from my reserve list at the library at the same time. I will always choose to read the book I think I’ll like best. Never know what the morrow brings, so I may as well enjoy the best first.

  7. The words “maximizers” and “satisficers” are part of our family vocabulary now. On pages 77-78: “If you seek and accept only the best, you are a maximizer…The alternative to maximizing is to be a satisficer. To satisfice is to settle for something that is good enough and not worry about the possibility that there might be something better.” Maximizers tend to never be really happy with what they acquire because they feel they might have found something better if they’d taken just a little more time, etc. Satisficers set their requirements and then are happy when they find what they’re looking for.

    When we have too many choices, we tend to freeze up, unable to make a decision because of fear we might not choose “the best.” With books, we all know our time is limited and we have to choose; the more choices we have often the more paralyzed we can become. Instead of being “maximizers” we can try to be “satisficers.” Set up a minimal criteria: I’m in the mood for humor; or contemporary, or something short, or historical, or PNR, etc. Then, just grab one from that category (or categories, like short contemporary, or humorous historical).

    I never know for sure what I’ll be in the mood for until I finish the book I’m reading. My choices have to do with how the present book effects me and what’s going on in my life. When I decide what I’m in the mood for, I just grab one. ;-) It helps that I’m doing several reading challenges this year. It’s made me haul out books I’ve been meaning to read but putting off.

  8. Hey Leigh–
    Now there are at least three of us! I just nodded while reading your original comment–’she’s talking about me’ I thought. I got 6 books from the library today–that’s my TBR stack. Unlike Victoria, I don’t ship my books off to my sister(as she lives in Texas!). I usually put the unread books in the UBS bag or try to sell them on half.com.
    I know Maisie Dobbs has some fans, but I was not one of them. I read the first two and found her to be too cold. But it is an interesting time(post WWI).

  9. Carrie – I’ve actually seen that book! I’m a little afraid to add another book to my pile, though.

    And I’m kind of liking that idea that several of you have of just pulling a book at random. :)

  10. Ok Leigh, we must be “sisters from another mother”. I started Maisie Dobbs based on several rousing recommendatons, and ended up deleting it from my Kindle. I didn’t hate it, it just was not my cup of tea. I think I was expecting more along the lines of the “Girl Bachelor” books by Laura Lee Guhrke, and when it wasn’t I just couldn’t move on, so I neither finished it nor kept it.

    Carrie, I’m downloading a sample of “The Paradox of Choice” as we speak.

  11. Let me recommend another book: The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz. It will explain your dilemma. ;-)

  12. I have the same problem–being overwhelmed by too many choices! I’d use the “close your eyes and point” method more often but how do you do that with an ereader?

  13. Victoria, Thank goodness right back at you. I have been feeling like the only one! Now we know that there are at least two of us. I am not as disciplined as you, since I do read the one I am most anxious for first.

    Tee, The book that I have renewed three times is Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. I doubled check and it is not due back until the 17th. I didn’t get around to the library today, so maybe I will get it read before them. But I am not holding my breath.

  14. I usually just close my eyes and pull one off the shelf. And I make myself read whatever book I just picked up. That keeps me from putting back the ones I know I should be reading versus the ones that I really love. :)

  15. Leigh, thank goodness! I thought it was just me!!! I very rarely have a TBR pile, cause if I don’t read ‘em, they just don’t get read at all. I will usually loan the offending unread book(s) to my sister, and by the time she gives it back, I have renewed my interest in the book and go ahead and read it.( So really my TBR pile just goes to another house) :-) The only time I have even what can be remotely be called a TBR pile, is if two or more books I have ordered online come in the mail around the same time, and when that happens, I use the delayed gratification method. If there is a choice between books, I read them in descending order of eagerness. The one I was most looking forward to I read last. This method is thrown out the window with any books that comes in the mail with a C.S. Harris– St. Cyr book, a Deanna Raybourn–Lady Julia book, or any Loretta Chase book. I have ordered Loretta Chase’s “Silk is for Seduction” and Deanna Rayourn’s “The Dark Enquiry” online, since they are both due out at about the same time I will be interested to see what I do if they arrive at my door on the same day!!

    Cindy W–I have read “the Heir” by Grace Burrowes several times already ( I am an avid re-reader) and loved it. If you like it, you willl have to read “The Solldier” about his brother Devlin St. Just, and Val’s book “The Virtuoso” is coming out in Oct or Nov. Good luck with your surgery.

  16. It’s funny that you posted this today, as I am currently in a similar reading slump.

    I just finished “Kiss of Snow” 2 days ago & before that I read the entire Kate Daniels series. They were all great books… but now that I am finished them I don’t know what to read next. I have 6 really interesting new-to-me series on my Kindle, as well as the newest Pamela Clare book & I can’t seem to settle on anything. I keep starting a chapter or two before putting a book aside… Nothing seems to fit my mood. I alsways have a book on the go but I’m actually considering taking a break from reading all together for a week or so.

  17. You just described me perfectly! I am having major surgery next week. I have saved books for when I am home for 6 weeks… but right now, I can’t decide what I feel like reading. Most of the time, I don’t feel like reading… So I have picked up The Heir by Grace Burrowes in hopes that I can get into that book. I tried Summer at Seaside Cove by Jacquie D’Allesandro and When you Dare by Lori Foster, both I had to put aside! I wish there was a Get over your Reading Slump pill!

  18. With books it is almost like I have a form of attention deficit disorder. If I don’t get to a book within a certain length of time, I lose interest in it, and I am already focus on something new. That is the main reason I don’t have a TBR pile. Rikki talked about downloading all the free and low cost e-books. Well, I did that when I first purchased my kindle, and never went back and read them.

    So the easiest way for me not to get around to reading a book is to buy it, and have multipe books to chose from, and put in a TBR pile. If I don’t read a book with in a couple of weeks of getting it, then for the most part it is not going to get read. Today, I am taking back a library book that I have renewed three times. The book got rave reviews here from reviewers who have similar taste to mine but when I checked it out I had quite a few books and just never got around to it.

    While other people never talk about this, it must happen to them too. How would they get 100′s of books waiting to be read? Because each month their interest is in what is being released now rather then the books in their pile.

    Luckily with review books, I receive books that I want to read. So I am not so much pulled between the two. Of course that is different when it becomes work getting through a D book. Then I just attempt to read as fast as possible to get it over.

    I get the majority of book recommendations from AAR from either the reviews or the boards. However, there really has to be an extra something for me to buy the book. Either it is an author that I enjoy, a book in a series that I am following, or have one of the plot devices that I love.

    For the most part, I have at the max ten books waiting to be read (it was four before I started receiving review books).

    • Leigh: Today, I am taking back a library book that I have renewed three times. The book got rave reviews here from reviewers who have similar taste to mine but when I checked it out I had quite a few books and just never got around to it.

      Just because I’m too curious, Leigh, what is the name of that book you keep returning?

  19. I look my choices over and just choose…hoping I have made the right choice. I’ve made many false starts, but eventually find the book that fits me at the time. BTW…I just loved The Bride Finder when I read it years ago. I’ve had the sequel, Midnight Bride on my bookshelf ready to read for years. Perhaps that should be my next book

  20. Close my eyes and point…whatever my finger is pointing to that is what I will read. :)

  21. I usually decide my choices by arrival, but sometimes others get in between and i’m forced to read the newest ones first before i go back to the old ones.

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