I enjoy many different book genres. If you only read one genre that is kinda like limiting yourself to one ice cream flavor. I mean wouldn’t you get tired of chocolate or whatever after awhile. You would totally get burned out on that flavor. It would lose all the things that you loved about it. There are genres that I do not read; for example, romance. OMG, I hate romance novels. Okay maybe hate is too strong a word, I dislike romance novels. The bodice ripping and quivering members are too much for my taste. Hey some people like them. My grandma for instance that is all she read. But then again I didn’t see her reading a lot…hmm but I digress.
Genre burn out is a thing I am totally convinced it is real, but here is the thing I think it could possibly lead to the dreaded reading slump. That is right folks, reading slump. I think the answer to this may be genre hopping. Take for instance my favorite genre horror. I love horror….specifically zombie books. I have loved zombies since for as long as I can remember. After the explosion of World War Z there was a proliferation of zombie novels, novellas and short stories. I gorged myself on long, short, good and bad 24×7 zombie reading. However, I started to feel like uhhhh not another outbreak/comet/random gene mutation gone awry, watch friends die, hole up, fight other survivors and end up victorious novel. I felt like I was reading the same damn story (the trope is strong in the zombie genre). So I did something very uncharacteristic, I stopped reading for about three months. Now, I have never stopped reading for a weekend let alone three months. This was the great zombie burn out of 2016. I was bereft and beside myself. I longingly looked at pictures of people reading on the internets and I tried to read but I just couldn’t. It was horrible…..the worse three months of my life. I was a former shell of my vibrant self.
Picture this burned out book nerd walking through the Barnes and Noble NOT BUYING ANYTHING. Nothing…no TBR…no new release excitement nothing. I came home sullen and in even more of a funk then I was before I left. I walked over to my bookshelves and with the last ounce of book love I could muster; I picked up Madame Bovary by Flaubert. Sat down and started to read. I didn’t have to force myself and all of a sudden (queue harps and cherubs) my reading slump was over. I went on to finish Flaubert and picked up a couple more classics and speed through them. But this time, once I was done with like the third or fourth classic I stopped. I decided to pick up something in a different genre. And I kept reading.
I thought about this for a time and I finally figured out why I had never been in a reading slump before. I was constantly switching up what I was reading until the zombie take over of 2013-2016. I mean serious three years of just zombies…yeah I was out of my mind. I still have yet to read any zombie books since the great zombie burn out of 2016 but I have learned something way more important I need to switch genres when the genre I am reading gets to be a bit to much. I bounce from speculative fiction to YA fantasy to dark humor to thrillers to short stories and I find that my palette is always cleansed. No need to go into a reading slump.
So the next time you are reading slump step away from the genre and try something a bit different.