As a reader, I’ve often discovered myself in a rut.
In second grade, it was a non-fiction, day-in-the-life-of-a-wild-animal rut. In fourth grade, it was a Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Hardy Boys mystery rut. In high school, it was a Science Fiction and Fantasy novel rut.
Interspersed between the ruts were forays into adventure stories, ghost stories, hero dog/horse/cat true stories, coming-of-age stories, orphan stories, adventure stories, road trip stories, biographies, thrillers, historical fiction, gothic romances—you name it, I read it.
How does a reader settle into a rut?
Maybe a certain type of story or character resonates at a specific stage in our life. Or we develop a passion for travel or history or puzzles. Maybe we fall in love with an author’s voice. Perhaps we find an answer to a problem, catharsis in tears or comfort in happily-ever-afters.
Or maybe it’s an accidentally-acquired habit. Our friends were all reading Harlequin Romances or literary best sellers, so we followed suit. Or we read Nancy Drew #1 and felt compelled to conquer the whole series. By that time, reading mysteries had become a habit. Or reading books in series had become a habit. Or both.
Be that as it may, as readers we do get into ruts. I wonder if reading ruts are good or bad for us? When I realize I’m in a rut, my first inclination is to break out. But I’ve also read certain types of books as therapy or to escape reality when going through tough times. Like so many things in life, I guess it depends.
What do you do when you notice you’re in a reading rut? Does it bother you? Why or why not?