Overcoming the Dreaded Reading Slump

img_3185“If I’m in a slump, I ask myself for advice.” – Ichiro Suzuki

Oh the dreaded reading slump. You can feel it coming on as the usual rush to pick up a book starts to fade and a cozy evening with a new read doesn’t hold the same appeal. The mind wanders and a favourite pastime begins to feel like a chore. For me a slump usually happens when I have been reading a lot and need a breather, or after a string of disappointing reads when the motivation to pick up another book is just not there. Some reading slumps are longer than others and usually it is just a matter of time before the nose is back in a book. Over the years I have found what works for me and what doesn’t, and grabbing as many books as I can and hoping something will stick definitely doesn’t. So when I feel a reading slump coming on, or I am fully in the midst of one, I follow three little steps:

1. Step away from the book.
Put the book down and walk away. If it feels like a break is needed then take one. Trying to get though a book or struggling to find one that will spark your interest is just frustrating, and makes it even more difficult to get back in the swing of things. Doing anything with a tired and disheartened mindset will impact your overall experience. 

2. Set a time limit.
I like to set a certain time limit for a book break. This is because if I leave it too open-ended I tend to put things off and may not set aside time in my day for reading. Falling into the “I’m too busy, I’ll make time tomorrow” routine is far too easy, and that is when time really gets away from me. The length of a book break depends on how I feel and may be a few days or a couple of weeks.

3. Read something light and fun.
Once the book break is up, I choose a nice, light read to relax with. Anything that is too heavy and complicated may have you taking the bus back to slump city, so a fun read is the way to go. I usually go for fantasy, mystery, young adult, or “chick lit” (I absolutely despise this term, but could not find an alternative. If you are aware of one, please let me know).

Books from my bookshelf I would recommend:
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Re-read an old favourite.
Or, instead of something new, you can always re-read an old favourite. We all have those special books in our lives that never fail to bring us joy (I’m looking at you Harry Potter!).

Hope this helps the next time a reading slump rolls around. 🙂

Happy reading!

Chasing Windmills: A Spanish Adventure

IMG_2152“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies?  Perhaps to be too practical is madness.  To surrender dreams — this may be madness.  Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!” – Don Quixote

Spain is a country very near and dear to my heart.  My time working there as a Language & Culture Assistant gave me the opportunity to travel, meet incredible people, make life-long friendships, and experience some truly special moments.  One of my favourite adventures continues to be a spur of the moment trip to the town of Alcázar de San Juan, in Spain’s Castile-La Mancha region.  A fellow Language Assistant was visiting Madrid from Barcelona and had an idea for a very interesting excursion.  The goal was simple: visit the windmills famous in that part of the country, as it is said that it was this setting that inspired Miguel de Cervantes’ story of Don Quixote.  Brilliant!  So, we hopped a train and set off in search of windmills.

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About an hour and a half later we reached our destination.  The trick then was to figure out where exactly were the windmills.  I think we assumed there would be signs pointing the way as it is a famous part of the area, however this was not the case, and we set off into the sleepy little town in search of windmills… and food.  We did find food in the form of a charming Italian restaurant, and on the way came across Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Continue reading “Chasing Windmills: A Spanish Adventure”

Five Books I Did Not Finish

IMG_1259As they say, not every book is for everyone.  There was a time in my life when I felt that I absolutely needed to finish whatever book I started, no matter what.  However, as my reading preferences developed and I started reading quite consistently, I eased up on the need to finish every book.  It’s rare that I don’t but sometimes it just doesn’t work out.  It’s not that it’s a bad book, but in some way it just did not work for me.  I always find it interesting to hear about not only what books people love, but also what books they did not connect with.  So, here are five books that were not my cup of tea:

1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This is not a book I rushed to read, not even during the height of its hype.  At some point I came across it on a shelf at the library and thought I would give it a go.  As most of you know it is split into three parts, the first of which I found really gripping and could not put down.  During the second part however, it became a different book and I struggled to continue.  At a certain point I just stopped caring about the characters or knowing what happens and had to call it a day.

2. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
The premise of this book really appealed to me and I looked forward to reading it.  Usually there are a mix of reasons that contribute to a book being disappointing, however with this one I can point to one specific thing; the mother character.  By far one of the most irritating and ridiculous characters I have come across.  I guess it was supposed to be funny, amusing, and add humour to the plot, but for me all it did was not only distract from the story but completely overwhelm it.  I kept waiting for Audrey’s story but with the mother’s erratic behaviour taking centre stage for way too long, I had to close the book on this one. Continue reading “Five Books I Did Not Finish”

Exploring Poetry

IMG_1127“my heart woke me crying last night
how can i help i begged
my heart said
write the book” – rupi kaur

I’m fairly new to reading poetry, but it is a genre that I am quickly starting to love.  I feel books and stories we read are the most powerful when they connect with us in a very deep and personal way.  That wonderful feeling you get when someone’s words so perfectly capture a feeling, a thought, or an experience that you yourself have never fully been able to verbalize or express.  I find that poetry especially has the power to do this, to inspire, to motivate, and above all to make us feel.  There are two books of poetry I read recently and thought I would share my thoughts and experience. Continue reading “Exploring Poetry”

BOOKSHELF| my comfort books.

img_3316“I have a shelf of comfort books, which I read when the world closes in on me or something untoward happens.”

There are a number of reasons we gravitate towards certain books.  Something appeals, something clicks, something draws us in.  Certain books we end up going back to because they take us back to a certain time or a different world, or they make us smile and laugh.  Each in its own way brings us some form of comfort.  These are the books on my shelf that I would consider my comfort books: Continue reading “BOOKSHELF| my comfort books.”

The Intangible Beauty of Books

Books give us a place to go when we have to stay where we are.”

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Sometimes circumstances are what they are and the difficulties and challenges we face seem to be a steady force in our lives.  During these times we can step away for brief moments and lose ourselves in other worlds, other lives.  And sometimes these moments provide not only an escape, but beautiful glimmers of hope.  Hope in the possibility of better days and more peaceful nights. Continue reading “The Intangible Beauty of Books”

The Dailies: Achieving Your Long Term Goals

IMG_2526About a month ago I read Louder Than Words by Todd Henry, which discusses ways to find your authentic voice.  There are many points that really stuck with me, with one in particular being the concept of “dailies.”  I wanted to share this as it is something I have found to be very useful in my own life.

“The dailies” is a group of activities done everyday that is set to keep you on track.  Many of us have plenty of things we intend to do but excuses are easy to come by and we end up putting them off.  Days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and before you know it there is a chasm of time between you and where you thought or hoped you would be.   Continue reading “The Dailies: Achieving Your Long Term Goals”