The Real Meaning of a Reading Slump

Panhuman Books — January 21, 2023

You settle down at the end of a long day with a cup of your favorite beverage, some fluffy socks, and a great book. You lean back, open the pages, and… nothing. Even though the book sounds great and you always read after work, you just cannot get into the story. Maybe a different story will grab your attention? Nope.

No matter what you choose, reading suddenly feels like a chore. You have entered a reading slump, and you may find it difficult to get out again.

Reading Slump Meaning – What Defines a Slump?

Just like there are no definitive rules for a reading habit, there is no one definition for a reading slump. If you cannot make yourself read or get interested in anything in your to-be-read (TBR) pile, you could call it a slump. One could also happen halfway through a book when you are not interested anymore. Of course, this happens to all book lovers from time to time. Some stories are not as engaging as others. It becomes a slump, however, when you cannot get into any book again when you actually want to or even try to pick up a favorite author or series.

Some things that point to a reading slump include:

  • Inability to engage with favorite books or story types
  • No motivation to read anything at all
  • Lack of concentration on any story
  • Confusion when it comes to picking a new book to read
  • A feeling of dread or being overwhelmed when you look at your TBR pile

Is there a set length of time that defines a slump? No. You probably would not use this word for an afternoon spent doing something other than reading, but it does not have to last a week or more either.

How to Get Out of a Reading Slump

If you are a frequent reader, a slump may feel confusing or even like some type of personal failure. Who are you without your books? Take a deep breath and give yourself a break. It is possible to end a slump and ease back into high-interest reading.

Consider a short story, novella, or even poetry to whet your appetite for longer works once more. They may engage your attention span in different ways and give you the mental and emotional reward of completion without a struggle.

Look for books outside your usual interests. Boredom or lack of engagement may tell you it is time to try something new. Wake up your brain with diverse authors, characters, and situations you may not have considered before.

Another option is to switch reading formats. If you have a pile of paperbacks to get through, try an ebook on for size. Audiobooks are another great option so you can ‘read’ while doing chores, going for a walk, or while relaxing on the couch.

Is Ending a Reading Slump Always the Best Choice?

No. There are no rules of life that say you must read a certain amount every day or week. Even if it is your favorite pastime, that does not mean you cannot take a break and try something new.

Reading slumps often indicate something else going on in your life that is either causing stress or drawing your attention. Take a reading slump as an opportunity to try new things, get outside for a while, or finish a project you are procrastinating on first. Reading for pleasure should not feel like a chore. The slump will end, and you will return to your books when the time is right.

Remember, you can use our search page to find the right book that matches your mood and interests.