You have a routine. You’re fairly predictable when it comes to consuming your favorite books. And you have game. Book game. Until there’s that book that throws it all off, and you find yourself in that terrible space: the Book Slump.
Books That Throw You Off Your Game
I’m not talking about the kind of books that keep you from wanting to read at all. No, that’s not this type of book slump. I’m talking about the kind of slump that makes you wonder if you’ve ever really read a book right. Or if you are ever going to finish a book again. Or if you will ever make it through this one, sanity intact. You know the kind of book I’m talking about.
The Hype Book
This is the one that everyone on that certain corner of the internet has been talking about, dissecting and reviewing. The one that won all those debut awards that had you curious, but you weren’t sure. You’ve seen fanart. You’ve read glowing reviews. It has a Kirkus star and a killer marketing campaign. But can it possibly live up to all that hype? You pride yourself on finding your own diamonds in the rough, so how can the publishing juggernaut at large dare tell you what to read and love?
The Long Game Book
This is the book that lingers on your periphery for years, waiting for you to finally get to it. You see it on Best Of lists. You’ve heard some of your favorite authors ruminate on how it influenced their own writing. You heard it’s finally going to get made into a television series, and you haven’t read it yet. It’s just on that shelf, judging you for ignoring it, with its spine going all colorless in the sunlight from your book room windows. It beats like the Tell Tale Heart: Read Me. Read Me. Read Me, you useless punk. Read Me.
The Wrong Book
This is the one that just hits wrong. You read the synopsis. You liked the cover. You believed your Kindle algorithm suggested you a winner. But what is this? Do you not know yourself and your reading likes as well as you thought? Is there a possibility that the 157 books read and downloaded in your Kindle library don’t magically concoct a perfect formula to give you that perfect suggestion for your next one? This book ain’t it.
The Signs You’re In That Book Slump
No matter which book it is, a book that throws you off your game is a head scratcher. Maybe it takes you forever to get through it. You suddenly find yourself seven books behind in your Goodreads Reading Challenge because you can’t get through more than one chapter a night, and you are used to a faster pace.
Maybe it takes you forever to get out of that book hangover/funk that it created when you finally finished it. It was That Good or it was That Bad, and now you can’t read anything. Maybe nothing can ever measure up again. Maybe you need a palate cleanser.
Whatever the problem, know that you aren’t alone. Books of all sorts have thrown me off my game over the years. Even books I’ve read before. That’s right. I’ll dive right back into a life-ruiner, just to have that intense experience again.
My Slump Starts With This
The book that’s throwing me off my game right now? Harrow the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir. It’s the follow up to her debut sci-fi fantasy, Gideon the Ninth, and it is balls to the walls crazy. I can’t read more than a chapter at a time, and I desperately want more, and the last book killed me, and my Reading Challenge is shot, so I have ALL the symptoms of game-ending Book Slump.
Harrow the Ninth is confusing and confounding. A huge portion of the first part is in second person (iHate!) and non-linear and a rehash of that last book but in a way that makes no sense at all. The narrator, Harrow herself, is fully unreliable (which is my favorite kind) but the world-building is so complex (it’s a space opera fantasy starring a Resurrected God in a post-human universe populated by lesbian necromancers and rivers of revenant souls and devoured planets) that I need to understand EVERY WORD.
I’m fully off my book game. And when I get this way, I usually treat it with a comfort read of yore. So if you see me tweeting about The Hating Game or Sarah MacLean or The Neighborly Affection series, please know that I am fully in my feels. But not back on my game.
What books have seen you hit that book slump lately?
Beth is the proud sponsor of two little women and a huge fan of fandom. She took 3 years of Latin in high school and now speaks fluent pretension, which fully explains her current preference for gay wizard regency novels. She will roll over for a giant book with a map in the front. She takes comic book recommendations every day but Wednesday and TV recommendations never (she knows what's good).