I’m a pretty voracious reader, and if I have a good book on the go, I will pick it up in preference to most other things I could be doing. So the time that I am most likely to fall behind on my reading is between books. When I’ve finished one book, but haven’t yet decided what I’m reading next, it is all too easy to pick up other things, or spend my evening scrolling through Twitter. When I noticed this habit, I started paying attention to what was going on, and looking for ways around the problem.
The Book Hangover
Solutions: Write the review! Getting those feelings out into word form can clear the air. However, I usually need to sleep on it before I can start writing. Alternately, pick a totally different read. If I’m stuck on the YA fantasy series that has just come to an emotional finish, making my next read a non-fiction title can get me started on a new book, even while I’m still processing the last one.
Don’t Have the Right Book
I get most of my books from the library, which means waiting my turn, sometimes for weeks or months if it is a popular title. When I’m really just craving a particular book, it can be hard to settle for anything else.
Solutions: The only real cure to this one seems to be giving in and buying the book in question. I try avoid this through the proactive approach, keeping an eye on what is coming out and placing my holds early so that they will show up shortly after the book is released. But sometimes I am weak.
Too Many Choices
The opposite of not having just the right book can be having too many books. I own a lot books, and usually have at least a dozen more checked out from the library at any given time. If I’m not in any particular mood for a certain type of book, it can be really hard to settle on something from among the available options.
Solutions: Getting around this one usually means looking to my reading goals to help narrow down the field. This year I am trying to read more books by Canadian authors, and more non-fiction, so I’ll use these criteria to make a much more manageable short list to choose from. If this seems like too much work, checking which library book is due next is also an easy way to have the choice made for me.
Goals and due dates can be useful guidelines for what to read next, but sometimes they get the better of me. If a book is due back soon, or I have an ARC that is nearing its release date, I feel like I should be reading it, even if I’m in the mood for something else.
Solutions: My strategy for dealing with this sticking point depends on my mood. If I’m feeling energetic and diligent, I will promise myself that I can read whatever I feel like for the next book, AFTER I read this one that I should get to now. If I’m tired or upset, I’m more likely to throw “should” out the window, and reach for whatever I think will be the most enjoyable. I also stopped accepting review requests earlier this year so that I would have fewer “shoulds” on my plate.
For me this last one is the hardest and the most common reason that I get stuck between books. If I come home tired at the end of the day, with all my energy and will power used up on other tasks, the idea of having to make a choice is just too exhausting. This is usually when I end up reading Twitter for hours, even though I know it will leave me feeling like I have wasted my evening.
Solutions: Reading schedules and plans seem to work to a certain extent. If I have time, I sit down and look at my blog schedule, library due dates, upcoming ARC releases, and general reading goals, and pick out the next two fiction and non-fiction books I will read. However, this risks running into the “Should Reads” trap, where I know what I should read next, but I don’t really feel like it. See above!
Do you ever get stuck between books? What do you do to get yourself reading again?