Discussion Post: Books Guaranteed to Pull Me Out of a Reading Slump

It has happened to us all at some point.  One minute you’re on a roll, reading one incredible book after another, and then boom, it hits…the dreaded reading slump.  As soon as the slump hits, you try book after book from your TBR pile, but nothing seems to satisfy and instead of being the wonderful hobby that you love so much, reading suddenly becomes a chore.

I’ve been fairly lucky on this front and (knock on wood!) have only fallen into a reading slump a few times in my life so far and most of those were in college when I was required to read a lot of books for my English major that didn’t necessarily appeal to me.  But man, when those slumps do hit, they just make me so depressed.  Seriously, is there anything worse for a book lover than to suddenly not enjoy reading anymore?

Usually switching to a different genre for a while is enough to help me bust through my slumps, which is how I’ve developed such eclectic tastes in books over the years, but every once in a while, changing genres is not enough.  Sometimes I just have to set aside my entire TBR pile and go back and revisit some cherished old favorites that always remind me why I fell in love with reading in the first place and give me the kick in the pants I need to get back on track with my reading.  


So what are my go-to slump busting reads?




There’s nothing like taking a moment to go back and rediscover those favorite characters and settings from my childhood.  I’m a huge fan of doing this, especially now that my son is old enough to read my childhood favorites.  I’ve been trying to instill a love of reading in him so it has been wonderful for us to read and enjoy my childhood favorites together. He gets to discover these wonderful characters for the first time and I get to take a stroll down memory lane.





These are books that no matter how many years have passed since I first read them, I still think about them.  They taught me lessons that have stuck with me to this day and they are books that are guaranteed to make me think.  These are books that I remain passionate about no matter how many times I re-read them.




I don’t know about other readers, but sometimes I think my reading slumps are caused by other things that are going on in my life at the time.  It’s not necessarily the books I’m reading, it’s just me.  Whether it’s work stress, family drama, or whatever, just something gets all bottled up inside and when that happens, I feel like I need an emotional release and so I will reach for a book that I know will give me that good cry.





On a similar note, maybe a good cry isn’t what I need. Maybe it’s a good laugh.  I don’t read a lot of funny books so this can sometimes be a challenge, but there are a few silly books out there that I love to pull out when I need some laughs.  I know Pride and Prejudice is technically more of a romance than anything else, but the banter between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, not to mention the silly antics of Mrs. Bennett, is always good for a laugh.  And I’ve all but abandoned the Stephanie Plum series for now, as I mentioned in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post, but let me tell you, if I hit another major reading slump, I wouldn’t hesitate to grab a book or two from that series.  If the misadventures of Grandma Mazur and Lula don’t bust a reading slump, nothing will, lol.





Yes, this series is in a category all by itself.  I didn’t read it until I was an adult so I can’t consider it a childhood favorite. But in a lot of ways, it covers all of the other topics above and then some.  There’s just something about picking up one of these books that feels like coming home. Whenever I read them, I not only fall in love with the characters and the story all over again, but I also think about how many other readers this series has captivated over the years.  This is the series that made so many people fall in love with reading, and I get caught up in that spell and all is right with the world again (at least as far as my love of reading anyway, lol).



So, what about you?  What kind of books do you turn to when you’re trying to pull yourself out of a reading slump?

Lessons Learned: Blogging While Traveling (Discussion Post)


For me, and I imagine for most of my fellow bloggers, the key to enjoying your blogging experience is to figure out what works and what doesn’t work for you.  I’ll be celebrating my second blogoversary in a couple of months and I know so much of these first two years has been about finding my way – trying new things and discarding them if they aren’t working for me, sometimes tweaking them slightly along the way just to make sure I can’t figure out a way to make things work.

One of the areas where I think I’ve learned the most about myself as a blogger is when it comes to blogging while traveling.  When I first started blogging, there was no way I was going to go off and leave my blog sitting silently for days or weeks while I was traveling, so I would pack up my laptop, my planners, and anything I thought I might possibly need in order to blog while away from home.  I hadn’t mastered the art of scheduling posts ahead of time at that point (and I still haven’t, but let’s not go there right now, lol), so in my overly ambitious mind, I was going to vacation all day and then fit in a little blogging at night.

Source: Pinterest

I’m not even sure why I thought this would work because those who know me know that when I plan trips for myself, I pack them full of activities (tours, shows, shopping, museums, whatever) and rarely have much down time. I like to go, go, go and then crash and burn once I get back to the hotel at night, lol.  So there’s little chance I’m going to get any reading done while I’m traveling, much less write any blog posts.  So yeah, I lugged around my laptop and books that whole trip for no reason.

The second trip I took, I was determined to learn from my mistakes so I didn’t even pack my laptop.  I still had that fear of leaving my blog sitting quietly while I was gone though, so this time I did get my act together and scheduled some content to post while I was away.  So instead of packing a laptop, I just packed an iPad and decided I would confine my blogging time to the train ride and would just use that time to basically blog hop and keep up with comments on my posts as they went up.  Unfortunately that was a fail for me as well.  I fell asleep for most of the train ride in both directions and just never got around to even opening the iPad once I reached my destination.

While this was, in theory, much more practical for me than lugging my laptop all over the place, it ultimately still wasn’t the best course of action, especially since once I got home, I had days and days’ worth of comments to catch up on from the posts that had gone up.  Plus, because I’m still working on my procrastination and scheduling skills, and even though I had content ready for while I was gone, I had no content ready to go once I returned so I still managed to create stress for myself, lol.  My trip was in late October and I felt like it took me until nearly December to really get myself back on track.

Source: Pinterest

I’m not sure when I’ll be taking my next trip, but after these two experiences, I’ve finally come around to the idea that, for me anyway, it’s perfectly okay to let my blog sit for a few days.  It has taken me two years to get to this point, but I’m thinking the best course of action for me is going to be to just make a short blog post letting people know I’ll be traveling for a few days and that I’ll resume blogging once I return.  At the same time, I will be doing my best to schedule content ahead – not to post while I’m gone — but instead, to actually begin posting once I return home.  That way I have a few days to get re-settled and recover from my travels and have the flexibility to blog hop and return comments without feeling like I’m falling behind.

We’ll see how that plan plays out, but I feel like it’s the least stressful and most practical option for me based on my travel and blogging habits.



And you’ll notice that all of this is self-inflicted.  I know the blogging community is totally cool with me taking a hiatus whenever I need to.  It has just been me putting unnecessary pressure on myself, which is apparently what I do, lol.

So what about you?  Is blogging while traveling a “do” or a “don’t” for you?  Have you learned any tips along the way that have made it possible for you to blog while traveling?  Or are you okay with taking a mini hiatus while vacationing?

Discussion Post: The Struggles of Blog Commenting and Why We Should Do It Anyway


Two of my biggest struggles since I started blogging have been coming up with topics for discussion posts and commenting on blog posts.  This week I decided to kill two birds with one stone and write a discussion post to share my thoughts on commenting on blog posts.  Smart thinking, right? LOL!

An incident this past weekend with my husband is what has inspired this post.  I was spending some time Saturday morning getting caught up on replying to everyone who had commented on my blog posts that week and then paying return visits to their blogs to see what they’ve posted since my last visit.  My husband, eager to get on with the rest of our weekend plans, was hovering and pacing and asking me why I was spending so much time doing what I was doing:  “Do you do this every week? For everyone who comments on your blog?  Why? That just seems like too much work.”

Why Commenting is so Important

Well yeah, he’s right (Shhh, don’t tell him I said that!).  Commenting is a lot of work and it does take a lot of time. But that said, unless you are just blogging for yourself and have no interest in becoming a part of the blogging community, I think it’s also one of the most important things that bloggers do.  It’s important, not just because it’s a way to show support to your fellow bloggers, but also because the more you comment and put yourself out there, the more your own blog is visible to others in the community.

I don’t mean to make that sound self-serving though; I just mean that there are a TON of blogs out there.  Unless you are extremely lucky, you can’t just start a blog and expect a Field of Dreams “If you build it, they will come” moment.  No, with so many blogs out there, you have to do something to let people know that you’re out there too because it’s just so easy to get overlooked.  Commenting is a great way to put yourself out there and start building a rapport with your fellow bloggers.  It helps to build a sense of community rather than competition and I think that sense of community is important to many of us.

Arguments Against Commenting (And Why They’re Wrong):


  1. I don’t have time to comment on blogs. I’m too busy.

Although I can completely relate to this one, sorry, nope.  Because of the reasons above, you have to make the time, no matter how busy you are.  I’ll freely admit that, depending on how crazy my week is, sometimes it does take me a few days to reply to comments and pay that return visit to a commenter’s blog.  But aren’t we all busy?  I’m happy whenever I get comments back from fellow bloggers, whether it’s days or even weeks later, and I don’t think there are any bloggers out there who hold it against me if I don’t immediately reply to their comments either.

To help facilitate my blog commenting, I’ve actually started blocking out time for it on my calendar.  I try to do 30 minutes a night at least twice during the week and then I’ll spend up to an hour on Saturday getting caught up the rest of the way.  I used to just haphazardly comment here and there whenever I had a few minutes, but I feel more efficient and organized if I just build it into my daily routine.

I also prioritize when I comment. If you’re a regular visitor/commenter on my blog, you’re the first one I’m going to reply to and pay that return visit.

This is probably petty of me, but I will also stop commenting on a blog if I pay several visits and that blogger doesn’t reply to my comments or ever pay that return visit to my blog.  It takes me a while to get to that point, usually weeks or even months since I know people are busy, but it does occasionally happen.  It’s like I said above, there are just too many blogs out there and bloggers who want the interaction for me to waste my time on someone who clearly has no interest in me.  I remember when I first started blogging, I was regularly visiting a very popular blog and no matter how many times I commented on her posts, she never once acknowledged me.  I was also following her on twitter and I remember replying to a couple of her tweets and watching her go down the list of replies and skip right over mine to reply to her friends.  That elitist/clique-like mentality was a real turnoff for me so I unfollowed her everywhere and haven’t visited her blog since.


  1. I never know what to say on other people’s blogs.

As a socially awkward person, I can totally relate to this one as well. But that said, is there really a wrong kind of comment to make on someone’s blog? (Okay, well obviously you wouldn’t want to blatantly insult someone and call them the worst blogger on the planet, haha), but other than that, it seems like the field is wide open for you to say anything that pops into your head.  Well thought out comments are always nice, of course, but it’s just about being supportive so, for me, even a simple comment makes me happy.


  1. I don’t want to be the first one to comment on someone’s post.

I don’t subscribe to this idea, but I remember reading somewhere that people don’t generally like to be the first person to comment.  Maybe it’s just the way my blog is set up, but my first thought was ‘How would I even know if I’m the first or not?’ Because of all of the ridiculous spam out there, my blog is set to ‘moderate’ comments so that I can screen for spam and approve the legit comments.  For that reason, you might think you’re the first commenter but it really just means I haven’t had time to go in and approve any comments yet.

What I’m trying to say here is whether you’re the first or the 51st comment if you want to comment.  And so what if you are the first?  What’s wrong with being the first one?  If it’s someone new to the community or just someone who doesn’t get a lot of comments, you’re probably going to make their day. And I personally love the thought of making someone’s day. 🙂


  1. I don’t want to comment just to comment.

I find this relatable as well in the sense that not all blog posts easily lend themselves to comment, but you can still pretty easily work around this. In cases like this, however, unless I’m really crunched for time, I simply look around the person’s blog until I find a post that works better for me.


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So there you have it, folks. My rambling, jumbled thoughts about commenting on blogs and why it’s such a crucial part of the blogging experience.  Now, since this is a post about commenting, how about you leave me a comment and share your thoughts on the subject. J