(Obligatory reminder to subscribe to my once-monthly newsletter here, which rounds up everything I wrote in the preceding month and includes a piece of exclusive bonus content I will NEVER repost anywhere else, ever!)
OL’ FREEBIE STRIKES ONCE AGAIN, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
Run ‘er up a flagpole and I will salute.
Courtesy Of Let’s Talk Bookish August 2019:
READING SLUMPS AND
WAYS TO OVERCOME THEM
A slump is a perfectly natural thing! It happens to everyone from time to time, not a big deal, nothing to be ashamed of; the important thing is not to let it set a precedent or become an anxiety-block in your head.
What’s that? Have I ever had a book-slump? Me? Oh god no, no, can you imagine, I’d have to turn in my pin, no, no. Never. No.
Nah jk, j and/or k, I actually just got out of a slump myself, and so can you!
One of my most consistently popular posts is the first installment of Ask The Bageler, wherein I go over how I get so much reading done, and one of my methods is actually how I ward off the odd loaf of slumpernickel when it offends my sensibilities by slarbing into sight from under my TBR pile: the technique I call The Pokémon Master, which consists of keeping an active roster of very different kinds of books to increase the odds that you can find something you’re at least kind of in the mood for at a given moment.
What I didn’t go into at the time was that you can do this not only with books, or even kinds of books, but with kinds of reading.
Allow me to make a most unBagelersome confession: every once in a while–like just recently–I will get Tired Of Comics for a spell. Not that I don’t like them anymore, but that I can’t bring myself to engage, that I’ve burned out the taste buds a little bit and need to let them recover. Usually, this is after going on a serious jag, like, for example, trying to pad my year-end Books Read numbers as much as possible. So I decided to do something relatively rare for me and go on a physical reading bender, which is how I read Ryan North’s How To Invent Everything and Jiro Taniguchi’s A Journal Of My Father (which is actually ONLY available in paper) and was able to make them among the first entries in my Scavenger Hunt list. I’m a huge advocate of digital reading, especially for comics, but I think we can all finally agree that yes, it is a different experience, maybe not fundamentally but in some important ways, and that a paper copy forces you to slow down and connect with the book as a presence in your physical space in the way that a Kindle or tablet simply doesn’t. (I’m also certain that all of the be-toga’d grognards who railed against abandoning the scroll or wax tablet for the bound manuscript probably grudgingly said the same thing, and eventually, we’ll get something that makes ebooks seem tactile and anchoring by comparison; it’s just how the wheel turns, and it’s beautiful.)
Mixing up your medium and/or fiddlin’ around with format is my triedmost and truest way of shaking off the literary lazies: Have you got a pair of pooped peepers from staring at goddamn excel sheets all day? Me too! Do they ache—in a bad way—at the thought of running all over the edges of a bunch of sharp text, pokin’ into your dang corneas and whatnot? AU👏DI👏O👏BOOKS👏, FRIENDO! Give those readers a rest and let your listeners lift a Libby or two while you walk on the treadmill or do some yardwork or sidequests in a video game! Have you got more physical books than you know what to do with and it’s both overwhelming and becoming a fire/architectural hazard? Boot up an e-reader app on your phone, grab a cheap (or free; again, see Libby) copy of something you’d never spend money on, and just break the rust that’s gathered in your machinery by forcing it to reconfigure for new settings on the fly. Read nothing but sci-fi and comics? Maybe make like me and find some nonfiction on subjects you’re interested in or authors whose fiction you’ve enjoyed! I particularly recommend the works of Ryan North, Mary Roach, and Jon Moallem! Typically dine on fantasy-fiction doorstoppers and don’t have another 1,000-page commitment in you right now? Try short stories like those by N.K. Jemisin, Simon Rich, or any of the amazing anthologies that collect short fantastic fiction for just such an occasion and gobble ’em down like popcorn chicken!
I find often that it’s not the substance to which we grow inured, but the routine of it, which the human in all its beautiful hypocrisy both craves and reviles.
Also, it must be said: while this is almost certainly not the intention of most of its usage, ‘Slump’ is an angled word, it implies something like failure and laziness; it would have you feel guilty for needing an actual break from reading, and this is pure horse-cabbage. Unless it’s literally your job, odds are you read books because you love them, and you do not owe any of the poisonous productivity that predatory capitalism has bred into us to books, because they love you too; if you’re legit just burned out on reading and need to play some video games or re-watch Fringe for a while or whatever, books will be right there waiting for you when you grow hungry once again. Hungry to read. Hungry for books! Eat a book. This is not a metaphor.
And now, to quote my wife when I asked how I should end this post:
“Goodbye! All done! Catch you later! See you on the flipside! Wait are you writing these down? Quit it. Stop. MY NAME IS THE BAGELER AND I CRIED DURING THE EPISODE OF M*A*S*H* WHERE HAWKEYE–“
Dammit, she got the better of me again, that minx.
–The Bageler, who is NOT embarrassed of crying but it’s none of the internet’s business EXCEPT THE MANY TIMES I’VE MENTIONED IT IN VARIOUS POSTS.
2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish Week Of 1.27.23: Freebie!”
“This is not a metaphor.” I love you, sir.
Also seconding audio books. I’ve been using it to knock out shorter books while I work, and also to tackle big chonky books like The Eye of the World. It might’ve taken me a month to read that one as a physical copy, and it’s only taken me two weeks to get to the last six hours of it!
You must log in to post a comment.