When is a slump not really a slump? We’ve talked about reading slumps here before, about what causes them, how to get out of them, maybe a bit of how to stave them off, sprinkled in there, now and again. can what appears to be a slump really be something else, though? Read on and find out.
We are going to get personal and philosophical here, at the same time. This may end up getting messy, at least for a little while, but then again, that basically applies to everything, so I think we are good, on that front. While discussion is definitely open to everybody’s experience, the only one I have personally been through is my own, so here we go.
Since we’re getting near the end of the year, that means that it’s time to start new trackers in my bullet journal, and that definitely includes reading trackers. Last year (it’s funny to think of 2018 as “last year,” but we’re almost there, aren’t we?) I set up two different reading trackers. The first one listed the number of pages read, one square to color in for every twenty five pages read. I’m not sure if I’m going to do exactly the same page tracker for this coming year, but it’s pretty darned straightforward. Also, I forgot to take a picture.
What I did take a picture of, is my other reading tracker, my first attempt at a bookshelf type of spread. Most of these spreads look basically like the first two sections in the picture below:
At the start of the year, I set my reading goal at ninety books for the year, which I then broke down into goals for each month. That meant eight books per month, which translates to two books per week. That’s not a hard thing. Most months, it actually does work. All of the “books” on the “shelves” get colored in, titles and author names added, and, most months, it’s usually not even a problem to fill every slot.
Until October. I only read seven books in October, which made me a little uncomfortable, but what the heck, I could get current in November. Which is not what happened. Since I am writing this on the last day of November, and I have only read three books, that means a lot fewer than two books a week. How on earth did that happen?
See? Three books. That’s all. All three of them were YA, all new releases, and I read through them in pretty good time. So, how did that happen? Is it possible that I somehow forgot to record some books read while I was in the middle of a domestic tornado? Possible. Actually, probable. A lot of us can relate to something like that. Unfortunately, since I use the library heavily, I can’t check books that I have already returned, so if I didn’t record them when I first read them, then they fell through the cracks and are, alas, gone forever. That makes me reader heart sad, and I probably could check library activity somehow (librarians know. Librarians always know.) but the gap is there, none the less.
If there are, indeed, lost books in my reading history, I don’t remember any of them, which probably speaks to how well they worked for me. What, then, about the books that I read before that blank space? There, we might have a bit of a clue. I’m not a very big SF/F reader, even within romance, and what were the last two books listed in the previous month? Steampunk romance, and SF YA romance. Aha.
Let’s take a closer look. The steampunk book, the first in its series, had a lot of worldbuilding, alternate history, and, though loaded with enough steampunkery to please any fan of the genre, still read like the very best of that rich historical romance feel that I love more than anything else. Same goes for the SF YA story, which was also the first of its series, a retelling of the mystery surrounding a real life historical mystery, plus there were robots and intrigue and all of that good stuff. Basically, there were a lot of things to take in while reading each book, and a lot to learn along the way. There was also time taken off to research the book series, make sure I could track down/wait for the next installments.
After all of that, taking a break to zip through some contemporary stories, one of which I already had some familiarity with the plot, felt like the most natural thing to do for a change of pace. While it looks like I didn’t do a lot of reading in late October and November, that’s not exactly the case. I spent a lot of time in two books that straddled genres I don’t normally read, while keeping one foot in the romance genre, and I had a great time doing it.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. Do you track your reading in any way? Do you ever find that those trackers don’t always tell the whole story? Have you ever read a book that you loved, over a long period of time? Pull up a chair in the comments section, and tell us all about it. There’s room for everybody at this table.