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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A funky kind of funk...

We've talked about reading ruts before. We've talked about those inescapable lazy modes, where we just can't be bothered to pick up a book. We've talked about those books that you stall on, and even though you want to finish so you can move on already, you just can't make yourself sit down and finish the thing. (I'm having a bit of one of those at the moment, unfortunately...) We've talked about required reading, and how, even if you like the book, the very fact of it being obligatory makes you dig in your heels and not get any reading done. We've talked endlessly about funks and funk-breaker books to get you out of them.

We've talked about all of those rut-related things, but today I want to talk about a different beast entirely. A new funk. A funky funk, unlike the usual readerly rut. A funk that swallowed up half of my 2014.
I want to talk about the 'I want to read everything, and so somehow am reading nothing' funk. It is a strange one.

Yes, the fact of the matter is, for the last 6 months, at least — for the last year and then some, if I'm honest — I've been suffering from a major case of O.S.S.:

It goes something like this:
I'm going along like normal, reading a perfectly enjoyable book. I like it. I may even sorta love it. I'm totally gonna recommend this book to all my friends, you guys!
****** S  H  I  N  Y  ******
Did you see that? That shiny, shiny book that just flew into my hands, out of nowhere? It wants me to read it, now, right now, forget about that other book, that other book is nothing to me. This. This shiny golden god of bookstuffs, this is the ticket.
It brought shiny, shiny friends! Obviously, I should read this shiny book! Or no, maybe that is the shiny book I should be reading; it's gotta be better than all the others, right?
But look there! Even. More. SHINY!
And so it goes, on and on until I find that I haven't read much of anything, really, and all of those lovely, shiny books, all of those books that I honestly know will suit me, will make me love them, have been abandoned, callously tossed by the wayside, in my pursuit of shiny.
It's like a bookish mirage, and as soon as I reach my oasis, I see that really, it's still off in the distance, with a new face and a snazzy title and fancy foil lettering.

There are so many books that got left in the dust of 2014, and part of my mind is still latching onto them. Whether it's readerly guilt (finish them!), bloggerly guilt (omg Misty, finish them!), an inkling that there's something really stellar in the pile (come back! look back at me!), or some as yet undiagnosed affliction, my brain doesn't want to let them go, but they're keeping me from moving on. These books, these shiny, abandoned books, have got me in a funky funk, and like Elsa (sorry not sorry), I've got to let it go.

I may come back to you, shiny books. And others may join you in the meantime — O.S.S. is a difficult malady to shake — but for now, I've got to leave you to your shiny ways and move on. I've got to shake off this restless, wandering spirit and ignore your siren song. . .
As soon as I find a way to do that.

So, I know I'm not the only one to come down with a case of the Shinies from time to time. Since this is different than your run of the mill rut, tell me, how do you shake it off?  Does the traditional advice of "read something fun and fluffy" still apply?  It's not a case of losing the joy of reading, it's a case of being spoiled for choice. So how do you deal when your brain is bouncing off the walls of your inner library and you're in total book floozy mode?
Help me.


Thanks to Juskteez Vu and Luca Zanon for sharing amazing photographic work under a Creative Commons license, enabling me to have some silly fun making banners in this post! 


  1. I am most familiar with this funk, particularly because one of my resting techniques is watching booktubers and they also TALK about shiny shiny books... that I then want to investigate despite having so many books on my shelves that are unread...

    I wish I had a simple fix for this, but I find it varies. Sometimes it requires me to go somewhere else (for example, I was house-sitting for a friend recently, and I decided to just take a bag of books and STICK TO THEM and I got a LOT more reading done than if I'd been surrounded by my other pretty books). I think for me it's just icky icky discipline - get through these five books that you've been meaning to read, and then you can reward yourself with the shiny new one...

    (it doesn't always work...)

    1. Time away with limited choices is probably the perfect solution to this type of funk, actually!

  2. I'm in a similar funk right now. One piece of advice I read on a friend's blog is to read something completely opposite from what you've been reading. So for me, I was getting really tired of wanting to read YA contemporary nonstop, so I picked up a sci-fi/fantasy novel and now I feel like reading an adult fiction book. It doesn't always work, though, but at least it changes up my book cravings a bit. - Maggie @ macarons & paperbacks

    1. You know, that might be a good idea. It might be that, when you're feeling like this, it's because even though all the books are good, they're not what you're looking for at the moment.

  3. I've been there since June! I have finished a fair share but out of the probably 30 or so abandoned ones I've finished a handful. I have a bunch of reviews from books I read before this that need to go up. (Computer practically died just got a new one finally.)
    One thing that sometimes works for me is to YouTube the book and find out what others and even the author has to say about it. I go to goodreads and only read the 4-5 star reviews to try and get myself psyched up to finish the book.

    1. Yeah, getting psyched up about one in particular might be a good start. =D

  4. I have a variation of this issue. I lose interest in reading my commitment books. The only solution I have is just read every other like a treat to myself for good behavior. ;)

    1. I think every other is probably a perfect balance, and I'm trying to get myself closer to that. But it's so hard to say no when good books come your way!

  5. My last year was like that. I bought every pretty shiny book that caught my eye. Most of them are very prettily sitting on my shelves. My cure is not buying books this year. I'm accepting no review books and I am reading what I have. It's strict I know, and I am sure I will buy a few books, already have, but I've read them. I am buying one at a time. Despite some incredible sales I've found. The discipline, I don't know where it comes from, but I just know that I have too many unread books to justify buying anymore. I know you can't stop accepting review books but maybe like someone else said, after you review a "have to" treat yourself to a "want to" and read outside of what you just read or read a lot of (Fairy Tales and Jane Austen retakes :) Read something totally out of your comfort zone that you wouldn't normally read. Good luck! Maybe some glasses with peripheral blinders?? block shopping websites where the OSS come from??

    1. I've told myself for a few years now that I'd stop accepting review books, and damned if I don't overdo it every year anyway. Just can't let a good book pass me by! I am certainly trying to cut back on them this year, though.

  6. Can I just say that I love the N&S reference? :)

    HAH book floozy mood, I love that. I've been suffering from O.S.S. for months now and I'm not sure how to cure it but I've noticed that I've felt better once I stopped pressuring myself to read ALL THE BOOKS (especially review copies). I've also gone on a book buying ban (*ignores book outlet and thrift books*) and I've vowed to become more of a library junkie instead. And when I go to the library, I don't take out more than one book. It's my way of committing myself to that one book and hey, if I can't get through it, I just DNF it and return it. No fuss, no muss!

    1. N&S references for daaaaays. Love me some North & South! =D
      Restricting yourself is so damn hard! I wish you the best of luck, and all of the willpower I apparently don't possess. ;)

  7. Haha I think I just read. I just pick one and say, "Let's do it!" and get it done. And I read furiously fast too, and hopefully cultivate some kind of reading momentum. Or, I watch TV. This is especially happening with school because something needs to settle my mind, and if it can't be books I need something. Or, I read a book that is utterly different from what I normally read. Reading something I could possible despise like non-fiction or a memoir or an essay collection and having no pressure to like it helps.

    Good luck!


    1. I find that if I force myself to get through a book, even one I'd normally like, I just start to resent it, and then end up in a REAL reading rut, where every little thing that I could normally brush off starts to seriously irritate me. lol

  8. (to jump in a little belatedly)

    I find what works best for me when I get the book shinies is to read a book that hits my sweetest spot. I think everyone has that---the certain something that makes a good book into a favorite, into a Comfort Read. For me, that's a book with a hefty dose of hope balanced by darkness. Any book that shows its character(s) persevering in the face of grief or loss or some other kind of personal crucible just taps right into the deepest core of who I am. And because it does that, it holds my interest (even in the face of those fascinating other books) and allows me to feel sated at the end (like a bowl of split pea soup when my mind keeps trying to tell me I want candy). Once I finish a sweet spot book, I'm usually calm and centered and ready to take books one-by-one again.

    Diving into a Comfort Read might do the same, but since I'm usually greedy for novelty, I try instead to find something similar to my Comfort Reads but altogether new to me. And while everyone's sweetest spot is different, reading a book that hits it might just help with the book shinies.

    Alternately, I sometimes go for something mind-bendingly challenging to read. Something like philosophy where I have to underline and take words apart and really try to understand them. It targets a completely different part of my reading brain and sometimes it pauses the book shinies long enough to break the cycle.

  9. I get that when I have a lot of time in my hands (as I do right now) because I know I could be reading ALL THE BOOKS but I don't know where to start and I look at them and think they're amazing but end up not reading any of them.

    I have no idea on how to fix it, though. I'm doing a TBR jar challenge to get me started on reading at least one book a month, which sounds ridiculous but last year I couldn't even manage that, but you did mention that you tend to want to read something less when it feels as a chore or as you're being forced to do it.

    Anyways, good luck with it and share your tips if you manage to break away from it.

    (OMG the Keep calm and look at me is awesome)

  10. I'm definitely going through this right now.
    I have a total of 11 books in my "reading" pile. As if I were actually reading all of them.
    And my to be read pile just keeps getting higher because I can't control myself when it comes to SHINY books! They are so beautiful and sound so good! hahaha... always, right? Then, the reading pile gets higher again because the SHINY books always get in the way of the previous ones. Right now, this would be 'The Illustrated Man' by Ray Bradbury. So SHINY.
    Also in search of a cure.


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