How to Beat the Book Blahs

Every once in a while I come down with a case of the Book Blahs.  As much as I try, I just can’t get into any book that I try to read.

I find myself avoiding books. Instead of reading I tune in to a mindless sitcom for thirty minutes or get lost in the black hole of social media. I fall behind on my reading goal. I feel guilty for not reading and disappointed that I’m not enjoying the books that sit neglected on my nightstand.

In a particularly bad bout with the Book Blahs recently, I spent nearly an hour browsing the shelves of my local library, picking up book after book and reading the blurbs only to put each one back with an underwhelmed sigh. My heart just wasn’t in it. Finally, I had to leave at closing time – empty handed This has never happened to me before or since. It’s not a time I like to talk about.

Blah Book

Little is known about this mysterious affliction or how to prevent it. It affects even the most voracious readers and can last anywhere from a few days to weeks or even months at a time.

The Book Blahs can come as a result of reader fatigue, which can occur after binge-reading a series or simply reading too many books in a row.  The Book Blahs can also emerge in the aftermath of a book hangover, coming off the high of reading a book so absorbing, the reader doesn’t want it to end.

Symptoms of the Book Blahs may include apathy toward literature, irritability, loss of interest in hobbies like reading, feelings of guilt and helplessness and inability to finish a book.

If you have been stricken with the Book Blahs, I am here to offer some possible remedies:

Try a New Genre

A healthy dose of reading in a different genre can help in the road to recovery. Read a lot of fiction? Try non-fiction. Just finish with a long novel? How about a book of short stories? I have turned to Young Adult and New Adult books which helped me to discover wonderful new authors like John Green and Rainbow Rowell. Biography, memoir or even historical fiction are genres which I don’t often read that might be enough to provide some relief.

Consult other Readers

It is important to maintain social interaction during the Book Blahs. Ask a friend, “What’s the best book you have read recently?” You may get a suggestion of something you wouldn’t have considered or hear positive reviews of a book you’ve been on the fence about.

Reread an Old Favorite

The cure may be sitting on your bookshelf. Surely there is at least one book that can transport you each and every time you read it. Perhaps it is a story from your childhood. Sometimes we simply need to remember why we fell in love with reading in the first place. Find that book with the worn spine and dog eared pages and let yourself get lost in that world so you can fall in love all over again.

Change your Routine

If traditional remedies don’t work, more drastic measures may be required. I frequent the library, but isn’t always the best place for me to find something new to read if I don’t already have a book in mind. Recently, I took a quick stroll through a book store I hadn’t been to in a while and the various displays of “Books everyone should read,” and “Staff picks” were enough to inspire me. I think I added five books to my To Read list from that one visit alone.

Seek Professional Help

If symptoms persist, ask your librarian or someone on the staff of your local bookstore for help. These are professionals who are equipped to handle these situations. They are often avid readers and can be great resources with a wealth of literary knowledge. Tell them what you like or what you’re in the mood for and chances are, they’ll be able to make some interesting suggestions.

Readers, have you ever experienced the Book Blahs? What do you do when you get into a reading rut?

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3 thoughts on “How to Beat the Book Blahs

  1. All the time. My shelves and eReader are full of books and sometimes none of them speak to me. I had a copy of Thomas French’s Zoo Story on my coffee table for more than a year, and I have no recollection of how it got there. A couple of months ago, when I was between books I picked it up and it turned out to be one of the best books I’d read in a while.

  2. I get book blahs all the time, and I find myself wishing I could be someone who can read anything. I like your list above. During my book blah bouts, I normally pick up an old favorite or go out on a limb and try a new author.

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