And if they try to slow you down...
I like the way you make me stay up late...

When you're all alone, pick up the phone...

Have you ever heard of a "slumpbuster"?

In sports parlance, and according to Urban Dictionary, a "slumpbuster" occurs when an athlete is in a slump and needs "an easy score to get [their] confidence back up and break the slump" usually by sleeping with someone with whom they normally wouldn't associate. To say it in better-than-provided terms, someone who is not the normal model or beauty queen that many athletes are seen with in public.

Sure, in this case it's definitely a negative term, but the concept is a solid one. Well, other than the sleeping around bit, that is.

Last year, I was having trouble motivating myself to read. So in January, I set a New Year's Resolution goal of 20 books read during this calendar year. Despite this goal, I was still not reading up to my normal standards.

I needed a reader's slumpbuster.

No, I didn't have sex with an ugly book.

What I would do is read what I might otherwise describe as an "easy" book. In the past, these were always books by James Patterson... rather simplistic murder mysteries that had a page count of about 300-400, but, if printed in a font size that isn't geared for people with 20/500 vision or for spy satellites monitoring your reading habits from space, may actually only be about 125 pages long. Nothing too complex in terms of plot, either. In fact, if you've ever read Patterson's novels, the vast majority of them start to read the same. There are times I felt I'd already read a book of his that I was absolutely certain I hadn't already torn through.

As a result of the Patterson mental mush, I kinda gave up using him as my de facto slumpbuster. I had no desire to read any more of his novels and denegrate the guy despite his status as one of America's bestselling authors.

But I still needed a slumpbuster.

Sadly, as it turns out, one of the baby books I received as a loaner from my brother became that slumpbuster. It was Dude, You're Gonna Be A Dad! by John Pfeiffer.

Now, don't get me wrong. It's not like I didn't learn a few good tips from the guy or get some ideas for questions to ask of our doctor and things to expect. However, in trying to make the book hip and approachable for the everyday dude, er, dad-to-be, the author employs some humor that doesn't always hit its mark. To be honest, I actually could've done without the humor because, when he's being sincere, it's utterly more enjoyable and relatable.

It's also a very brief book and full of notes and other throwaway bits, making it qualify, at least in my mind, as a slumpbuster. And the fact that I have finished four books since reading it last month means that it has done its job.

Thank you, Mr. Pfeiffer, for getting me out of my reading slump. I promise not to use you again in this capacity, though. I do feel bad.

Do any of you have a proverbial "slumpbuster" to get you out of any sort of rut? Color me curious.