Wednesday, May 29, 2013

After Committee Reading Slump

Everyone who had been on committees before me warned me of this: the feeling of not wanting to read another book after your committee year is up. Committee work is hard-it's filled with long days (and evenings) of reading, non-stop re-reading and note taking, and so much analyzing and discussing of books, it's no wonder it wears you out as a reader.

I thought I was prepared. I had been told to expect this. I even read outside my typical YA genre that I read so much of for Printz and read more middle grade and adult titles after my committee work was up. I listened to audiobooks nonstop.

But now, it's happened. I'm in that post-committee reading slump. Maybe it's not even a reading slump, but a too worn out to read mindset. I have piles and piles of books I can't wait to read and that I've heard great things about, but I just can't bring myself to read them.

If you're a reader of the blog, you've probably noticed my posting has been down a bit. This is why. I just need some help and motivation to get reading again. So I'm hoping you will help me. What are some great books or audiobooks I can read to help pull me out of my slump? Have you ever felt this way? Any advice for pulling out of it?


  1. Like you, I thought I was prepared, but I was not! And I made the mistake of jumping into another Printzy sort of commitment almost before I was done with my committee work. Here's what's working for me, YMMV:

    It took me a while, but I realized that my #1 problem was a profound aversion to programmatic reading. I wanted to read exactly what I want, when I want, in any genre or for any age group. So I needed to eliminate anything that felt like a reading responsibility (other than reading I do for work, obviously).

    So, I (regretfully) stopped writing for SLJ's Someday My Printz Will Come.

    I am on a break from writing book reviews til September.

    I am giving myself permission to follow my every leisure-reading whim: rereading Pride & Prejudice to compare it with the Lizzie Bennett Diaries? Sure! Checking out a stack of picture books? Don't mind if I do! Catching up on the backlog of Sarah Dessen novels I didn't read when they first came out bc I wanted my students to get first crack? Yes, PLEASE.

    I am also listening to audiobooks -- mostly adult nonfiction, which I love and had not read any of in years.

    I wish I had done this right away, because I think I could have ended my reading slump much sooner if I had just listened to that small, still voice, but it took me over a year to get out of this reading slump. I now feel re-energized and excited about YA in a way I hadn't for all of 2012. Which is good, because I'll be spending all of 2014 reading retrospectively for Edwards!

    I hope some of this helps! You'll get there. :-)

    Donalyn Miller has written about this phenomenon, too. You may find her insights useful:

  2. Yes, I would second taking a break from any sort of reading responsibility. Dive into old favorites just for fun...match your reading to your every mood...put down a book mid-way, just because you finally can! I plan next year to only read on a obligations, no pressure...

  3. I say sit back and relax, maybe catch up on some TV shows with a book thrown in here or there. You'll find your reading groove again.

  4. I jumped right back into reviewing post-committee to my great regret (don't tell Angela at AB4T!). I'm having a lot of trouble balancing the enjoyment of a book and reading with a critical eye. I used to be able to do both! I wish I had just "allowed" myself more time to read for pure pleasure (or not read).

  5. I'm with you but for a different reason. In my prep for summer reading school visits I read almost 120 books in 2 months for grades K-7 in order to integrate as many fun and interesting fiction and non-fiction books as I could. Needless to say I don't think I can look at a book. What I've found working for me is reading all these awesome blogs, and magazine articles. They're short and sweet and give me information I need for work without making me feel like, "oh no! I still have 300 more pages before I can finish this!"

  6. I haven't listened to an entire audiobook since I was on the YALSA Selected Audiobooks Committee-- over five years ago! And now that I'm not a working middle school librarian anymore? I find it so liberating to sit around reading adult non-fiction and graphic novels whenever I want, no matter how long it takes me to finish them. Right now I'm reading a book about John Hughes movies, something I never would have had the time to read when I was assigned books. And I'm way up on new picture books because of my daughter. I say branch out to other formats and genres. Reading is reading!

  7. I don't have the committee slump, but I got into the college reading slump -- so many books that I had to read,and then pore over and analyze, so many that I didn't want to read for fun in the slightest. Mine got better with the rereading, which a lot of people seem to recommend. Anna and the French Kiss, Harry Potter -- beloved stories I haven't looked at in a long time. Also, Sarah Rees Brennan's newest, Unspoken, was the first book in actual months that I read in one (voluntary) sitting. Funny seems to help.

    Also, you've been killing yourself for a long time to read so much, do committee work, and now to do all the summer programs at a library. Watch bad television and take a break. You definitely deserve it.

  8. It's been four months since I finished my committee work and I STILL haven't really gotten back into my groove. Having time set aside that's best spent reading (my train ride) helps, but ... it's like I don't even know how to pick books I like anymore, and so much of what I do pick isn't what I was expecting. I'm reading a decent amount of adult nonfiction, but it's just not the same. I'm hoping that I'll get back to normal soon -- and I hope your reading slump doesn't last this long!

  9. It took me months. The best thing I did was read outside of the lines as per Newbery. Genre-y YA, adult, and big swaths of just not reading. I've gotten my mojo back now, but give yourself a break. It does get easier as time goes on.

  10. I made things even worse on myself--I wrote my book right before I was on the Printz. So between reading over 700 historical fiction books and all the Printz reading, it's no wonder that I kind of fell apart, reading-wise. It's been almost two years and I'm only just now starting to recover.

    What I found worked for me was what a lot of other people have said--read whatever you want, read outside of YA. Also, be willing to just not read for a while, if that's how the spirit is moving you. There's plenty of librarians who don't read. There's even YA librarians that don't. Reader's advisory isn't all we do, so perhaps this might be a good time to work on an area that you'd like to improve in.

    Hang in there!


I love hearing from other readers! Share your thoughts and chime in!

Imagination Designs