Seeking Advice: Reading Rut

Stuck in a reading rutI’m in what I call one of my “reading ruts.” Work is stressing me out, so my reading choices lately have tended toward the light and fluffy of YA literature. Ash was deeper and more meaningful than I expected, but overall my recent reads list looks very similar to a 12-15 year olds’. My TBR list is expanding into infinity, and I don’t know where to begin.

Here’s where I need your help.

How do you get out of a reading rut?

What do you do when you notice that the last 5-10 books you’ve read are in the same genre, or cover the same topic? What do you do if the stresses of life reduce you to reading the cotton candy of literature: pretty and delicious, but ultimately unsatisfying?

Participating in the Gothic Reading Challenge has helped me some; I’m a Type A personality (to say the least), and having goals and deadlines helps me stay focused and on track. But at what point does striving to reach a goal totally suck out all the joy of reading?

How do you manage your reading?

How do you choose the book you plan to read next? Do you fly by the seat of your pants, or do you have an ordered list?

For those of you who write reviews, do you actively try to review different genres and types of books, or does it not bother you if you review four or five YA novels in a row before moving on to several Paranormal, before migrating over into non-fiction for a few weeks? Have you found that your readers get bored easily, or do they stick around, knowing you’ll get over your sudden obsession and move on?

Tell me: how do you do it?

[Image: jober788]

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6 Responses

  1. Yvette June 8, 2011 / 7:11 pm

    Been there. Done that. If I’m in a rut I will usually switch genres or go from fiction to non-fiction. I generally read all the time pretty much year round and I suppose I will admit to being a ‘sit of your pants’ reader. Unless I’m in one of my moods and just don’t feel like reading anything at all. Thankfully, that only happens about once or maybe twice a year. Then I take a break until I come to my senses, then return to reading with vengeance. Ha.

    I read a lot of mysteries, but I’m happy enough doing that so I don’t mind. But I will switch over to other things, sometimes in the blink of an eye, if I’m not finding any mysteries good enough to hold my attention. I also enjoy reading non-fiction, so there’s always that. I love history too and lately I’ve been learning to like a bit of sci-fi and fantasy.

    As for my blog, I write about whatever book I feel like writing about. I think if people who read my blog like it, they pretty much know to expect anything and everything. I hope that’s part of the reason they show up to read my stuff.
    My feeling is that if I’m happy and enthusiastic about what I’m writing about, then my reader will be too.

    That’s how I look at it anyway.

    • bookzilla June 9, 2011 / 6:42 pm

      Thank you for your advice, Yvette. I know exactly what you’re talking about when you say “one of my moods” — I read constantly, and I think sometimes my brain just shuts down and wants me to do things like take a walk or watch endless reruns of “Scrubs.” I always come back around to reading, though.

      I think this all actually stems from reading too much non-fiction. I read nothing but that for quite awhile, and then got sick of it and switched over to the fluffier stuff. Now I’m tired of that, but not yet totally ready to head back into non-fiction! :p

      Both you and Jennifer (who commented after you) bring up a good point: that the blog is sort of about me and what I like. As long as I’m enthusiastic about what I’m doing, that will show through, and readers will appreciate it.

      One of the hardest things in the world is to take your own advice. I work for a marketing company, and I’m always telling clients that it’s okay if people unsubscribe to their newsletter. Those people aren’t ever going to become customers, so it’s actually best that they unsubscribe. And one day, new people will come along who really like what that client says, so they subscribe to the newsletter. Now the client is marketing to the right people, and everyone wins. I suppose I should take a page from my own book. :p

  2. Jennifer Orozco June 8, 2011 / 11:00 pm

    I switch it up. I’m a mood reader…so making lists ends up getting me nowhere. I read where my mood takes me (which ends up in a lot of fluff) and then I get sick of it and move onto something else. Something different. I went through a six month period last year that had me reading nothing but classics. It was great, but I can’t fathom doing that right now.

    Don’t worry about your readers. They may come and go, or they may stay. What’s important is how you feel about what you do.

    • bookzilla June 9, 2011 / 7:05 pm

      Thank you for your advice, Jennifer. I’m a lot like you: I read a specific genre or about a specific topic until I just can’t stand it anymore, and then move on. I think I’m just at one of those rare times where I OD’d on non-fiction so I moved to fiction, and now I’m sick of that but can’t enjoy the idea of getting back into non-fiction just yet. :)

      Both you and Yvette (who commented before you) bring up a good point: that the blog is about me and what I like. As long as I’m enthusiastic about what I’m doing, that will show through, and readers will appreciate it.

      One of the hardest things in the world is to take your own advice. I tell my clients all the time (I work for a marketing company) that losing readers is okay, because obviously what you’re writing isn’t their cup of tea, and they were never going to buy from you. Better to keep writing what you’re writing, and focus on attracting readers who do enjoy it. Time to “woman up” and take my own advice, I suppose. :)

  3. Javi June 10, 2011 / 12:28 pm

    I rarely get caught reading too many books in the same genre. Sports books, sci-fi adventure, and biographies often make my list. I mix them up. Even though I’m on a biography tilt right now, the books are about very different people like Jeffrey Ross and Meghan McCain.

    I fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to the next book I’m going to read. If I’m close to finishing a book or just finishing one, I’ll get excited and put a new one at the top of the list. But if I can’t get to the new one right away, it’ll usually fall a couple of spots.

    Sometimes I feel like learning, sometimes I feel like laughing, sometimes I feel like getting caught up in a weird combination of sci-fi and historical fiction. You’re a much faster and better reader than I could ever hope to be (although this blog is making me a better reader), so go with what you like. I’ve tried to encourage you to mix it up before, but you seem to be happy doing what you’re doing. So just go with your gut.

    • bookzilla June 10, 2011 / 5:25 pm

      Thanks, Javi. Your reading seems to be a lot more diverse and balanced than mine. :p

      I’ve never been a huge fan of biographies. The only one I’ve read in the last year or so is a biography of Louisa May Alcott — she did not have a particularly happy life. There’s just not really many historical figures about whom I want to know every detail. I’d much rather read fiction, it’s always been my preferred kind of book.

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