Reading Slump /ˈriːdɪŋ slʌmp/
This is when you cannot, for the life of you, pick up a book and read it. Sure, you may be able to read a paragraph or two, or maybe even a page, but you don't retain anything of what you just read or have the attention span and/or will to go on. This is common for those who have ADD, are in possession of garbage literature, spend too much time online, still grieving the last good book they read or are just so exhausted from having to read so many books during school/college that reading anything else, even for pleasure, has become impossible. To those who love to read, this is worse than having a chronic illness.
Related to Writer’s block
Reading slumps are real, people, and if anyone says otherwise, let's push them off the cliff along with the books we have been DNF-ing. We're already frustrated as it is. Don't tell us 'it’s all in our head' or 'just pick up a damn book'. Because I'd love to, but the thing is, you see, I can't. I spent the better part of 2019 in this rabbit hole but still somehow ended up reading over 20 books, so gather around, friends, I have some wisdom to pass around.
Don’t force yourself
Not being able to read is frustrating. I wait for the feeling to go away on its own before I even try to do something about it. I make myself focus on other things -- updating my bujo, sorting my wardrobe, sniffing candles, re-watching old episodes of Modern Family etc because the last thing I want is to dread reading, like a chore I don’t like.
Pick something easy!
There are books we know we should be reading and there are books we want to read. I get it. But reading good books take a lot, maybe you currently don’t have the headspace for it or you're simply not in the mood. Put a bookmark in it, then move on to something you know you'd like.
Read a collection of short stories maybe?
This one is my personal favourite because it works every time, like a spell! Because short stories are, you know, short. They are easier to commit to, easy to read, easy to finish, and gives you a sense of accomplishment every time you are finished with a story.
Or try a different genre
Maybe all you need is something different.
Or reread something
Harry Potter anyone?
Buy a kindle
Not sponsored, I swear! Sometimes physical books look intimidating and they are sometimes inconvenient to carry, which is why Kindle (or any preferred ebook reader) is the answer.
Listen to audiobooks
Please don't discriminate against audio books, they are books too
Read about books if not actual books
The New Yorker, Electric Lit, The Literary Hub are some of my favourite literary sites.
Get into a habit
Cultivate the habit of reading five pages a day in bed before going to sleep. Routine works wonders.
If nothing works and you're thinking of giving 'sacrifice a virgin' a try (desperate times call for desperate measures), my opinion is to keep literature in your life. Surround yourself with it. Keep track of what’s going and what’s coming. Attend book talks or listen to podcasts. Always keep a book within your hand's reach in case you feel like reading. We can dream.
Tarin Fatema is the Social Media manager, Features at Dhaka Tribune, and admin and Head of Marketing at Litmosphere. Follow her on Instagram @shewalksinfiction for more insights into the bookstagram community in Bangladesh