Book Fatigue – Let’s Discuss
I’ve been wanting to post about this topic, which is quite close to my heart, for a while. But I keep putting it off because it’s not a very fun thing to post about. Actually, it might be the one thing book bloggers don’t usually discuss. We hide behind “reading slumps” – temporary lapses of bookish ennui that can be solved by reading an old favourite, a new genre, or if all else fails, a bout of Netflix-bingeing. What I’m talking about today makes a reading slump look like a nick on the otherwise spotless record of out reading lives.
I no longer get that all-encompassing excitement from reading.
Books no longer blow me away.
All books I read have turned into one big blur – some good, some bad, but none amazing and mind-blowing.
And before you’re going to suggest that this is just a phase and that it will pass should I stop reading for a bit or cleanse my palet – it won’t. This is something that has been growing for the last three years. And it’s not that I don’t feel like reading. I do. I’m still enjoying myself when I read, and I’m still interested in the stories that are presented to me. But apart from piquing my interest and keeping me entertained for an afternoon, books don’t touch me any more.
Often I read raving 5 star reviews in which people gush about what books have made them thing and feel and how it stuck with them and changed their lives. I want to read that. I want that feeling. But no matter what I read, I don’t feel that way. I read diversely, and widely. I read old books and new releases. I read MG and YA and adult titles. I read science fiction and fantasy and horror and contemporary and literary fiction and classics. But none of those books make me want to gush. When I finish a book I go “oh, that was cool”, I write my review, and the story fades from my mind.
Only once in a blue moon do I get that obsessed feeling with books, and it’s usually with rereads. Books from my childhood like Harry Potter remind me how I used to feel about books, how I used to be completely passionate about words and characters and stories. Apart from Harry Potter rereads, I’ve only given two 5 star ratings. The other 58 books I’ve read this year were varying shades of okay. Reading has almost become mechanical to me. I consume book after book.
Sometimes I take a break from reading for whatever reason, but it changes nothing. It’s as if, by having read a few hundred books, I have read them all. It’s incredibly hard to present me with a book that I cannot guess the ending of. By having learned the inner workings of stories, through blogging, freelancing, reviewing, and my academic career, they have lost their magic. I know all about the three act structure and of the inciting incident and turning points. We completely dissected story structure and narrativity in class. After you know how a magician performs a trick, the magic show loses part of its glamour.
What I’m looking for right now is not so much advice, but dialogue. I want to know how you feel, especially those among you who have been blogging for a while. Does the critical gaze you impose on books ruin part of the experience for you too?
Have you contracted book fatigue?