We’ve all had reading slumps, right? If you haven’t, let it be known that I am so, so jealous of you and so is everyone else reading this, teach us your ways maybe? Great. Anyway, I’m in one. And I mean I am in this bitch. I have not giddy-loved a book since March, guys. Freaking March. That is over six months, and it’s not cute anymore.

But that isn’t what we’re going to talk about today. Because who even knows how to cure a slump? Not me, otherwise I’d have done so, therefore I have absolutely no qualifications to write such a post. No, today we’re going to talk about all the poor, denigrated books that had the misfortune of being read during the aforementioned slump. 

After I realized that my brain apparently no longer possessed the capacity to love books, I was kind of afraid to read anything that I was really looking forward to, because I felt like I was setting it up to fail. But then I thought that by not reading books I was sure I loved, maybe I was contributing to my own slump. So I tried to read books that friend recommended, sequels I was excited for, and yet… nothing fully gripped me, though some did come close.

Sequels That Came Close to Great

Recommended Reads I Almost Wholly Adored

Books I Was Giddy For

Objectively, these were all quite good! At least 4-Star books, some even higher. But for some reason, I didn’t fall head over heals for any of them, and I cannot put my finger on what the missing element even is at this point.

So my question is this: How do you know if it’s your brain, or if it’s the book? I mean, in a perfect world I could just reread them all someday when my mind decides to function normally again, but alas, I am not immortal. Frankly, I’m getting a bit worried that my entire book collection will effectively be ruined by my own mind.

Has this ever happened to you? Have there been books that your brain, for whatever reason, sucked the magic out of, through no fault of the book?

(Also, books on my shelf, my apologies.)

Posted October 23, 2017 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Discussion, Discussion Challenge / 25 Comments


25 responses to “When Your Brain Betrays Your Books

  1. I have read books when I was in a “mood”, which is good for no party involved, and I feel like I was extra critical of the book. I am getting better at knowing when I am in a one of these moods, and I will pick an extra fun, extra light read, because the fluffy ones don’t make me think too much. If I am thinking too much, I start nit-picking, and those things that would normally not bother me become all that I can see. I feel like I am more critical of a book when I keep seeing negative reviews for it. Because of that, I have put off some books (Lockhart, Cashore). I let all the early reviews sort of fade a little in my mind, and go in with a fresh perspective.

    • Same here. My strategy is to read difficult books when my mind’s sharp and hungry for a read. I save the short, easy, light-hearted ones for the lazy/tired moments. I feel like I can enjoy both more that way.

  2. Aww I feel you, Shannon! I’m sad you’re going through this. ?? Honestly I think mood/brainness can play A HUGE part. Like I’ve read books and been annoyed at them and felt if I’d read them at a better time I would’ve liked them more?? Like if I get on a 2-star streak, mostly EVERYTHING will be frustrating. And if I’m on a 4-star streak, I’m happier and so rate higher??! IT’S WEIRD BUT BRAINS ARE WEIRD.

    It’s ok to take a break from reading if you’re burned out though!! It shouldn’t be a chore or anything!!

  3. I definitely think your mood plays a huge role in how you see a book, so definitely brain, but sometimes books just aren’t as good as you hope they would be too. I’m sorry though that nothing has been fully clicking for you. I hope you find that gem you’re looking for soon!

  4. I think about this ALL THE TIME! I’m not always sure if I’m unhappy with a book because the book sucks, or if I’m unhappy with it because I’m depressed/cranky/full of eyestrain. Sometimes I reread an old favorite to give myself some perspective. I rarely hate a book I’ve loved in the past. If you figure out the solution to this brain/book problem, please tell me!

  5. I never thought of it as a brain vs book problem. I just always assumed that the book was bad and moved on. Thinking back there were definitely some books that got treated harsher because of how I was feeling. You’ve just opened up a can of worms on me. Now I feel guilty about the books I allegedly “mistreated”…

  6. Totally feel you! I’m such a mood reader, that when I’m not up for reading, no book will help, no matter how excited I am for it. During those times, I put down the books and concentrate on other hobbies. I figure my books will still be there when I return xD

  7. Kel

    Ah, the reading funk, I know it well . . . that mood wherein you cannot make it through the first page without wanting to throw the book aside. I’m a kind of (read: MAJORLY) critical reader to begin with, but when I start absolutely hating everything in that not just critical but wrathful way from page one, I know it’s me. (At least partly the book, but mostly me.)

    At that point, we’re all better off if I a) go watch Netflix, b) pick up something by Diana Wynne Jones as a palate cleanser, c) wait until the next book in one of three series I love comes in, d) read a sappy romance I know I’ll hate but (oddly) finish, or e) all of the above.

  8. Girl, I feel you! I read 130 books last year and I’m currently at 59. It’s been one long reading slump for me. I’ve read good books, but a lot of them have been just slightly underwhelming. I want that book that makes my heart race, dammit.

  9. yes, this happens to me ALL the time…there are so many books that I would have loved so much more if I hadn’t been in a slump, or had been more in the mood to read them. Especially with schoolwork, I often like contemporary reads better since they’re easier to get into, and that causes so many fantasy books to lose some love.

  10. I FEEL THIS SO MUCH. I have been impressed by very few books this year. And I have no clue how to tell if it’s just you or the book. But like… maybe it is just the books’ faults for not being amazing enough? Idk. All we can do is keep reading and do our best to write informative reviews!

  11. YES I AM TRYING TO GET YOU OUT OF YOUR SLUMP THOUGH. Really hoping that Loneliest Girl will do that to you. Though to be fair, there haven’t been many “great” books this year, other than a couple, so I understand if nothing ends up working 😛

  12. I’ve often thought about this as well. For me, the worst is when I’m just plain busy and I feel like I’m reading books in little unsatisfying bits and pieces (that’s been happening a lot lately). I feel like that affects the whole reading experience and I wonder if I would have liked a book better if I’d read it at a different time—but you don’t KNOW that, so it’s not like you can really change your rating or your feelings about the book.

  13. I am in a TOTAL slump (have been for about a week) and I think it’s because I’m currently trying to plow through a book that I don’t really like. I’m trying to CONVINCE myself I like it, but it’s making me procrastinate on reading and choosing other activities OVER reading and it’s just becoming a viscous cycle…

  14. That’s totally happened to me! When I first started blogging, I felt like I was more critical than normal when I was reading– and books started to not woo me anymore. I was worried it was because I was trying to hard to write a review, but without fail I would eventually stumble upon a book that I adored and so I realized it wasn’t me, it was the books to blame for my slump 😉

  15. Oh man, don’t bet yourself up, I feel like I’ve been in a reading slump for YEARS. It’s like, there’s the yearning to read, but when I actually pick something up it’s a chore to actually get through it. Maybe it’s a sign that my reading tastes are changing, and perhaps that’s the case for you too if certain books don’t really have the same spark for you anymore. In any case, it won’t last forever (or so I hope)!

  16. Here I’ve been bemoaning my month-long reading slump. But since March? MARCH??!! OMG, this is tragic. And I am not being facetious. The horror!

    Can’t say that I have a magic fix, either. For mine, I am reading less. Quite a bit less. I find trying to force myself to read through the slump only makes it worse. So last week I barely picked up a book at all. It was killing me but I just wasn’t feeling it. I finally decided to pick up a genre that I rarely read. And I don’t know if that’s doing the trick or if it’s this particular book (Shadow and Bone) but it seems to be working. I’m not bored, I’m engaged in the book, I’m actually wanting to pick it up… all good signs. I sure hope you hit on the right book soon. I will say, that I haven’t tried to read a single book that I’ve been crazy excited for. I can’t stand the thought that the slump might ruin it for me. 🙁

  17. Yes, this has totally happened to me. I’m in an on-and-off semi-slump in the last few months.. and I don’t have an answer for you. I am better with audiobooks so I listened to more of them. I also reread/relistened my faves to get me back into the groove. Like I relistened to The Lunar Chronicles series last month… hahaha

  18. This is just exactly what happens and I am starting to feel as though I might be in one again… So yes to those who gave me ARC’s of books everyone’s raving about I have been delaying read them but the worry is real. I recently reread Code Name Verity which 3 years ago brought me to my knees and it was just ok. Just ok? What is wrong with me! I have been trying to get through Forest of a Thousand Lanterns determined not to DNF but I really am battling. You are not alone x

  19. Well, this plain old sucks doesn’t it? I’ve been disappointed by books I expect to love and I’ve also read books when I wasn’t in the right mood for them and not enjoyed them and then given them a chance another time and loved it. So your issue is very much not being in the right mood for the books you should love. You logically know they work for you but at that moment they just don’t click. I don’t know what to suggest. I am a fan of rereading my favourites to get me in the reading frame of mind. It doesn’t always work but sometimes it does. It’s hard being stuck in a slump and in the end, it’s practically impossible to get our of it until you’re brain is good and ready and finds that perfect book.

  20. I completely understand. I have been in and out of reading slumps all year. I find it hard to recover from one and someone suggested that it can be caused by what you are reading so now I am trying to read everything by one author at a time to see if that helps. I do find when in a reading slump I put off books that I have heard a lot of great things about and want to read, but I am afraid they wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Great topic!

  21. Aw man! That is one hell of a slump 🙁 insane… So sorry! I can’t imagine being like this. It’s definitely the frame of mind, I think. Otherwise how could it be still there for such a long time :/ unfortunately, not sure what I could recommend. Maybe you should reread something really good from the past? It won’t have that mind blowing first feel of reading it, but it might still might do *something*…
    Hope you can get out of this one soon!

  22. Dude. I had the same problem with Invictus. I actually might try reading it for the third time because I just feel like I should love it and don’t understand why I’m not. (This also happened with Spellbook for the Lost and Found which I eventually just had to give up as a lost cause.) I think The Forgetting AND The Knowing may also have been casualties of be just not being into it at the time. So it goes.

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