Reader’s Block?

The daily prompt today on The Daily Post asks what the longest time is you’ve gone without reading a book, as well as what book helped break the dry spell. We so often talk about having Writer’s Block, but is Reader’s Block even possible?

Well, yes. Yes it is. In fact it happens to me more than I’d like to admit.

Most recently, it has happened to me this year. I’m unsure how long it was exactly, but I think it was a few months of not reading. I dare say that the whole emotional side of moving overseas to literally the other side of the world, to a country that speaks a language I do not, to a culture with which I’m not super familiar, sort of left me not in the mood to read. It’s as if all my spongy brain absorption powers were required for even the smallest parts of day to day living, and so there was no sponginess left to let any kind of book soak in at all. I did find the energy to write during that Reader’s Block period, and I was even creative in other ways too, but reading just seemed completely off my radar, even when I went to the effort of buying books specifically to trick myself into reading again (because I am a firm believer that I need to read in order to write, so without one of these the other one will soon dry up).

The-Girl-Who-Saved-the-King-of-SwedenThe book which broke the drought, I’m pretty sure, was a book called The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden, by Jonas Jonasson. As the title and the author name may suggest, he is a Swedish author, but a highly successful one whose first novel, The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared, was one of the most successful books in recent history in Sweden and which went on to become popular around the world and even made into a movie. This, his second novel, really blew me away – while his first novel was funny and charming in all its oddness, this book was glimmering with intelligence and creativity and a hilarious plot I could never dream of writing. It far surpasses his first in every way for me, and I guess that’s what I needed to snap me out of my little “I don’t wanna read” tantrum I was having.

So what about you? Have you ever had Reader’s Block? If so, what enabled you to break it and get back into books again?

6 thoughts on “Reader’s Block?

  1. I can’t imagine not reading every day. I honestly can’t remember not having a book on the go. Yes I agree to write well you must read and it is a steady thing in a wobbly world. Thank heavens for authors and books.

    • Wow, that’s impressive! I wish I was like that. I hope when my life becomes more settled I can also become more stabilised and regular in my reading habits! Because when I do read regularly (as in, a book every week or so) I often find I am calmer and more happy in day to day life! 🙂

  2. I had a readers block about 2 years ago where I just forgot that I liked reading. Its the weirdest thing, I was really busy so I couldn’t read and then for almost a year I didn’t read any books for pleasure. It wasn’t until one of my friends picked a random book off a library shelf for me to read did I start again. That book was Mister Monday by Garth Nix and I fell in love with the series and read all 7 books in a couple of weeks.

    • Sorry about the slow reply – your comment ended up in my spam folder weirdly? Anyway, I’ve unspammed it. But I’ll be checking that folder a bit more again now for a while.
      Anyhuuu I know exactly what you mean. I found that happened to me late in high school and then again during my first degree in my late teens. Especially if you have to read a lot for school/university it really takes it out of you and it’s easy to forget you actually like reading haha. It’s nice though when the book that brings you back to reading REALLY brings you back to reading like the Garth Nix books you mentioned. For me, in my early 20s, it was Catch-22, which to this day remains my favourite ever book. Funny when I think about it.
      I also really like that a friend got you back into reading for pleasure – that there seems like a good friend! 🙂

  3. Ugh, reading blocks are so frustrating! I pretty much always have a book I’m reading, but sometimes I just lose all enthusiasm. When that happens, I just take some time off or put the book aside to read something different.

    • Yeah, I think I need to do that more often. I used to be very good at reading several books so I would always have one to fit my mood, but lately I haven’t done that as much. But you’re right, putting a book aside temporarily is sometimes better than forcing yourself on when you’re not enthusiastic about it.

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