Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Sunday Symposium is a weekly feature in which I'll be discussing various bookish topics and asking for your commentary, as well.  This week, let's talk about those ugly reading slumps we all fall prey to and how to remedy them.

I am chagrined to admit that I've let my review schedule dictate most of the books I've read lately.  And when I get behind on said schedule, I tend to grab the audiobook version.  Yes, that means I'm purchasing the audiobook of a book I already own a galley of.  I feel such a keen obligation to review a book that I've requested that apparently I'll go to any length to accomplish it.

But this post isn't to complain about my compulsive behavior -- or idiocy, whatever you want to call it.  No, it's to call out those books that have really disappointed me lately.  Okay, so that's not really the point of this post, either, but surely I will feel better once the blame has been laid. Right?

Anyway, I wouldn't say that I'm in a full-blown reading slump right now because I have read and listened to some amazing books in the last couple of months.  But I have been trying to ward one off for the last couple of months.  And it all started with Taken.  I've been trying to scour reviews since to ensure that that mess doesn't happen to me again.  No such luck with Chantress, although I did DNF at 28%, but I did miss out on the crazyship that was September Girls.  Even so, that stupid, beautiful cover still has me contemplating it.  What if everyone else was wrong?!?  *sigh*

At any rate, I've kind of just been picking and choosing what I want to read from my review books the last couple of weeks, even reading some months ahead of schedule.  *gasp*  I'm such a mood reader these days, and I feel like half the books I've read lately have been in vain because I wasn't in the right frame of mind when I picked them up.  I'm still hoping that's the case with Chantress because I'd been looking forward to that particular book for months, so it was really disappointing when the dialogue of all things was what made me give up rather early on in the story.

The worst of it is that even audiobooks aren't immune to the slump.  I don't love every audiobook I listen to, but I do enjoy the majority of them.  However, in the last week alone, I listened to two that were rather unsatisfactory, one because of the story and the other because of the story and the narrator.  So disappointing were these books that I don't even want to do full reviews, not even to gripe.  I think I'm going to join the trend and do mini-reviews for these so I can finally put them out of my mind. The sad thing is, both of those stories (not the audiobooks) had been highly recommended to me.

With so many awesome books releasing each week, it's really discouraging when I pick up several less-than-stellar books/audiobooks in a relatively short span of time.  Is it me?  Is it the book?  Should I take a break from all of this?  These books all seemed promising, and other reviewers loved them.  Maybe I'm just too snarktastic for my own good.

But then, then I read The Bitter Kingdom.  Slump be damned!  And the words to convey how much I loved this book evade me now, but I'll get a review up closer to release date.  I'll probably have re-read the book by then, too, because it was freaking genius.  Genius, I tells ya!  It's even renewed my interest in this whole endeavor.  Because this book proved to me that it's not just me.  I do still love to read and I do still love to share awesome books with people.  I was obviously just reading the wrong ones.  I will just have to be a lot choosier with future reads.  I hate DNFing a book and I hate reading something I'm not enjoying.

So, I shall maintain a reading/reviewing schedule, but I will no longer allow it to be my prescribed reading list.  And I will continue to monitor reviews for books on it, and if something seems like it's not going to be a good fit, out the window it goes.  No more forcing myself to read things just because I requested them.  No more purchasing audio when I have a perfectly good review copy in my hands.  If it has to wait, it has to wait.

Do you experience reading slumps often or at all?  What books have pulled you out of a reading slump?

Any and all commentary, chastising, and public flogging is welcome, as per usual.  And thanks for stopping by!  Also, be sure to check out Let's Discuss to find more bookish discussions all over the interwebz!


  1. I was so disappointed by Taken too. I still need to read The Bitter Kingdom. I just read Siege and Storm and Gameboard of the Gods so I've had pretty good luck. Now I'm reading Born of Illusion and it's ok but not as good as I hoped...but hoping it'll improve.

  2. Well said, girlie!! I've been completely overwhelmed with my review pile/schedule for quite some time now. I feel terrible politely declining so many review requests, but I just can't possibly read them all AND read the books that are released each week that I really WANT to read. I'm such a huge supporter of indie authors, and I know they need us, so I feel terrible when I have to say no. With a full-time job, family (with a young son), along with the fact that I'm a slower reader than some, I just can't possibly do it all. Nor should I really expect myself to. I've also started purchasing audios of books, both ones I haven't reviewed yet that I need to, or ones that I WANT to read, but don't have the time to because of the review schedule, and that's definitely a costly alternative. I think I need a bloggy sister like you. :D I've actually just started getting my sister-in-law into really reading, and she started posting reviews on Goodreads. Maybe I can get her to help with my review pile and post some reviews on my blog. Hmmmm... :D Thanks for the great post!!

  3. I had the massive, overwhelming pile of books in April, but May and June have been much better for me.
    I can't wait to read Bitter Kindgom. So excited about that one!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  4. I felt exactly the same about Taken! It really put me in a slump. I slump really easily, then I end up reading books that I would enjoy but I just can't concentrate on so they get low ratings. I have a schedule, and I review at least five books a week but I set myself a couple of weeks where I only have to do half as many reviews as usual. Then, when I'm scheduled a few weeks in advance, I let myself mood read for a week, then I read review books for a week, then I mood read for a week - it works for me and most of the books I mood read are books for a few months in the future, so I get those reviews scheduled as well so then when I get to that point I'm ahead of schedule again. It really works for me!

  5. The last book that really put me in a slump was The Eternity Cure the disappointment of that book sucked the life out of me for a few weeks. However, I've read some pretty awesome books since them, slump be damned. Great post!!

  6. Hm... I don't really have reading slumps per se. My problem is more that I can't NOT read something, so I am constantly backlogged on reviews and loads of amazing books I read never get one, and that bothers me.
    But I understand being disappointed by books you looked forward to. Chantress only *just* managed to redeem itself for me in the end (still have to write that review), but it was a close call. I read it just after DNFing another book and I was like 'nooo please don't do that to me again I was looking forward to this for months!'.
    Anyhow, I don't think there's anything wrong with being a mood reader, Jen! If something's not working, better put in on the backburner and dive into something that appeals to you. Otherwise it's easy to just get grumpy and cynical and not empathize with characters, which makes any good story seem cheesy.

  7. I am definitely a mood reader, if I try to force myself through a book I didn't feel like picking up in the first place, I probably won't enjoy it. Yet I still push myself to read the book. And thus begins a slump. A lot of times rereading favorites helps me though :) Or a book by a trusted author.

    Emily @ Counting in Bookcases

    P.S You are almost done with your Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge! Congrats, and it is only June! Are you going to make a bigger goal? (Sorry, as I was commenting, the widget was just staring at me inside the right sidebar, couldn't help but notice it!)

  8. Not quite a slump but yeah, I know what you mean.
    The semester is OVER & I can read ANYTHING now but, uh... the few books I read the last 4 months were rather meh-ish & I have that sensation that every book I pick up will turn out like that : C

  9. When I get in a reading slump I just keep starting new books until I finally find one that really catches me. Sometimes that means picking up 10 books before I find one that fits my mood.

  10. I'm another mood reader, and what I'm in the mood for depends upon how stressed I'm feeling. If it's REALLY bad, I only want to read old favorites. If I'm somewhat stressed, I tend to gravitate toward romances (where at least I'm guaranteed a happy ending!) or authors in other genres whom I love and trust. I can't seem to force myself to read something that pushes the envelope a little unless I'm in a good place with the rest of my life. I think it's because reading is, and always has been, my escape/minivacation/way to recharge.

    When I've got a backlog of ARCs and review copies to get through, and I'm also feeling like I have too much to do in the rest of my life, it's really hard to pick up the ARCs, and even harder to take time to write the review. I'm in that boat right now. I had a lot of romance ARCs, luckily, so I kept reading right through two weeks of a rush project for work. Now that the project's done, I need to write about 9 reviews!

    As for getting out of a slump, yes, a really wonderful book is definitely the cure! I'm looking around for the next one now! :-)

    BTW, good for you for being willing to DNF a book, even one you wanted to read. There's not enough time to waste it on a book that doesn't keep your interest!

  11. I feel like when I read a book I love that any book after that I don't usually really enjoy because I loved that last one so much that I can't bring myself to fall in love with another one too soon. It may sound like a snap judgement but, all of the books that I have been looking forward to this year minus sequels has been a disappointment at least for me. But, hopefully the rest of the year will bring me some great reads.

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven


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