The sudden urge to buy a book

For the last several days I’ve had the sudden and general urge to buy a new book. I’ve stopped off at a few bookstores around the city, and while I’ve looked at hundreds and hundreds of books in that time, I have not found the one book that will satisfy my urge. It’s not as if I don’t have anything to read; there’s a tower of perfectly good unread books next to my bed, not to mention the shelves of books in the living room I’ve been meaning to reread. I find myself, maddeningly, hungry for the next one, as yet unknown. I no longer try to analyze this hunger; I capitulated long ago to the book lust that’s afflicted me most of my life. I know enough about the course of the disease to know I’ll discover something soon.

Lewis Buzbee, The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History

I saw this at The Passive Voice blog, because The Passive Guy drops random quotes onto his site from time to time.

It made me laugh because of course it’s so true. Though for quite some time I’ve lived in an area where the nearest bookstore is 80 miles away, so just dropping by is out of the question. Nevertheless, it’s so true that sometimes I stand in front of my (heavily loaded) TBR shelves and just don’t want to read any of those books.

This is my version of a reading slump — a term I’ve heard from book bloggers when nothing much appeals to them. Apparently this can go on for quite a while for some people, which certainly sounds like not much fun.

For me, I find there are three good solutions to a reading slump, aka a desire to buy a new book except I don’t know what I want to read:

1) Re-read something. Or a whole series. Hence the “top-ten to re-read forever” types of lists; those are pretty likely to be just what I reach for during a reading slump.

2) Read something new to me by Ilona Andrews or Patricia Briggs. Particularly the former. Ilona Andrews’ books are always so catchy.

3) Read some novel, most likely a YA novel, that everyone was talking about a couple years ago but I never got to. YA books are generally fast-paced. If I’m in a reading slump and not really in the mood to read anything, a YA novel is more likely to grab my attention quickly and pull me into the story even if I thought the book wasn’t quite what I was in the mood to read.

What strategies do you all use to kick yourselves out of a reading slump? Or do you never suffer from the experience of looking at hundreds and hundreds of books without being able to find the one book that will satisfy your urge?

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6 thoughts on “The sudden urge to buy a book”

  1. If I’m really in a slump I’ll browse year end “best books” lists or the Forever Young Adult “required reading” list.

  2. YA is definitely more likely to kick me out of a slump than any long, complicated, slow-paced epic type of work. Not saying a really beautifully written epic couldn’t do it, but I do think YA is more likely to be catchy, which is the key for breaking a reading slump.

  3. Re-reading is my usual fix. Well, except at any given time I’m in the process of reading 2-4 nonfiction books, and I find it uncommon for a reading slump to extend over both fiction and nonfiction.

  4. I didn’t think of that, but yes, a fiction slump doesn’t seem to have influence nonfiction at all for me.

  5. Non-fiction is a good way for me to break out of a reading slump, as the different tone and purpose can act as a tonic against whatever was “ailing” my ability to enjoy fiction. YA doesn’t work for me; in fact I’m more apt to get in a slump when I’ve been reading a lot of YA than otherwise. So for me, diving into something a little weightier and longer–Dickens or Tolkien, for example–helps. It gives me something to mull over and steep in, rather than feeling breathless from rushing from one thing to the next.

  6. How interesting, Louise! I wouldn’t have expected that at all. I wonder if it mainly just depends on whether a person *mainly* reads YA or longer, slower-paced adult fiction? I can see having to switch from one to the other to break a reading slump.

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