When You're Feeling Blah About Books

Over the weekend, I was browsing upcoming Top Ten Tuesday topics. I really liked this week's topic – Ten Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump – but already had another post planned. Instead of skipping the topic altogether, I decided to do my own twist and came up with 10 things I'd tell someone struggling with a reading slump. 

There might not be anything radically new in my post, but it was fun to think about what's helped me in past slumps and what advice I've passed on to friends. And, as a nod to the TTT inspiration, I paired every tip with a book that fits that category for me and that I might recommend to someone else in a slump. Let's go!

When I'm in a slump, the first thing I do is reach for an old favorite. There's something comforting about returning to characters you already know and losing yourself in a story that you love! A slump makes me indecisive about what to read next, but a re-read takes away that uncertainty. I'd grab Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center.

Keep the length of the book in mind when you're in a slump! This is when I'll reach for something short – a book of essays or short stories, a memoir, or even a Middle Grade novel. Taking forever to finish a book only makes my slumps worse so I look for books that I can read in an hour or two, like Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist.

This suggestion doesn't always work, since there are often reasons you don't pick up certain genres. But, in some cases, I find that trying something new can surprise me! The fact that I don't know what to expect makes me more excited to pick up my book. That's how I felt with The Illuminae Series by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff.

The last thing I want in a slump is a slow book! It goes back to needing to finish a book quickly so I don't get stuck reading something boring. I generally love character-driven stories, but I'm less likely to reach for them in a slump. I want a plot with twists that compel me to keep reading, as was the case with Force of Nature by Jane Harper.

The tone of what you're reading can make a huge difference when you're in a slump! I've noticed that books that are happy and hopeful can jumpstart my reading when I'm stuck in a rut. And if I can find something that will make me swoon? Even better! To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han fits the bill for both for me.

Do you have any books on your TBR from a favorite author that you've been saving for the right time? This would be it! I'll often binge an author's entire backlist if I fall in love with their writing, but I love when I'm able to leave a few for later. I was glad I had The Chance Sisters series by Anne Gracie for just such a moment.

Mixing up the format might help, even if you're usually hesitant to try audiobooks. After all, what's the worst that can happen when you're already in a reading slump? I'd probably suggest an audio re-read, but that's just because those are my favorite. My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella was a recent favorite for me.

When nothing on your To Be Read pile appeals to you, head to the bookstore or library! I've noticed that a slump can make me feel very meh about the books I already own, so this can be a good time to treat myself to something that I've been dying to read, like Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton. It helps get the urge to read back!

Alexa from Alexa Loves Books came in clutch with this suggestion: try reading a book with a friend so that you can look forward to the bookish discussions throughout and at the end! It creates a little reward for reading – and will probably become a great memory, too. My Bestie Beatriz Binge with Kelly from Belle of the Literati is proof.

If you find yourself in a slump that you just can't seem to break, I'd suggest focusing on anything other than reading. For me, that looks like writing blog posts, decorating my planner, watching TV shows on Netflix, painting my nails, and so on. Pursue other things that you love and the desire to read will eventually return!

How do you deal with reading slumps?
And tell me a book that got you out of one!


  1. These are all great tips that have helped me in one way or another! I definitely think the "read a short book" tip works -- if I'm reading too many books at once and not making enough progress, I'll binge a quick graphic novel that I can finish in one sitting. It makes me feel better to complete SOMETHING in the meantime (and keeps the GR goal on track haha).

  2. Excellent tips, I am forever falling into book slumps lately and it's probably because real life keeps throwing me off balance. I've always found rereading a favourite helps. I hadn't even thought about tone of books, though, but I'm the same, when I am in a slump a lighter fun read is far more likely to get me back into reading than something more serious. And treating myself to a book I've been looking forward to is also good because you're already excited about reading. I'm bookmarking this post for next time a slump strikes.

  3. These are great tips and honestly I've used a lot of them myself! Reading something happy/swoony, picking shorter books, and rereading favorites tend to be my go-to's. And sometimes I just give in to Netflix or other activities because my urge to read always comes back and the last thing I want to do is force myself to enjoy my favorite hobby.

  4. I'm happy I could contribute to this excellent list of tips! I definitely use all of the ones you've mentioned, depending on what kind of reading slump I get into and what mood I'm personally in at the time :)


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