At the end of 2021, I was pleased to see that I’d managed to surpass my Goodreads goal of 200 books by about 10 (maybe even a few more than that.) Reading has always been my escape–my place to hang out with friends who accept me as I am and who, unlike me, always triumph over their hard circumstances.
Reading has always given me hope.
In 2021, I needed a lot of that. When I looked over the books I read last year, it was more re-reading than anything. Re-reading is comfort. It’s familiar. It’s a guarantee that I’m going to get the ending that I need rather than the one that the author liked (and maybe that author preferred ending is fine, but it isn’t always what I want.)
So I happily set another 200 book Goodreads goal for 2022…and then couldn’t read.
I pushed through several books that I needed to read for the StoryChats podcast. And I enjoyed them, but they weren’t giving me that thing I needed.
And for the first time, in a long time, I realized I was in a reading slump, and not even my favorite re-reads were getting me out of it.
So when my family packed up the car at the end of January and headed down to visit some friends in Florida and then pay a visit to Mickey Mouse, I tossed my Kindle into my bag…but I never even took it out. I also didn’t take out my laptop, despite being woefully behind on my wordcount for my next book.
It was, I think, exactly what the doctor ordered.
In the evening, after the kids were tucked in and hubby and I were settled in for a few minutes of adult winding down time, where usually I would be reading or writing and hubby would be playing a game on his computer, we watched TV and scrolled memes and laughed.
I unpacked my Kindle Saturday night and frowned at the cover of the book showing. The one everyone tells me is A. Maz. Ing. The one people are appalled I haven’t read before. And I set it aside and went to my bookshelves to grab an old friend. Because the slump isn’t dead, but maybe it’s on the ropes. Rereading is enjoyable again. And maybe (hopefully!) in time I’ll be excited about taking a chance on something new again.
In thinking about the “why” of the slump (because I can’t help myself and like to try and figure out causes when I can), I think ultimately it’s probably the stress and overwhelm of the last couple of years catching up with me. And where reading had been the thing that got me through most days, I guess it makes sense that at some point even that needs to take a moment to breathe.
I had to give myself time to not write over the summer, and I guess I’m reaching a point where, for now at least, I need to give myself permission not to read. Even if it’s frustrating.
Have you taken a vacation from reading? Was there anything that helped you get out of the slump? Do you have a go-to book you reread when you need that comforting, satisfying friend?