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May 06

Stuck in a Rut by Genesis Gaule

Posted on May 6, 2022 at 4:29 PM by Genesis Gaule

I recently fell into a reading rut--that overwhelming want-to-read feeling but everything I picked up was quickly abandoned into the maybe-later-pile. As an avid reader, this can be disheartening. But have no fear! If you’re feeling the same way, here are a few tricks I use to help cure the reading blahs.

Wander the shelves

When I’ve hit a rut, my first course of action is to browse the library stacks, new arrivals, best sellers, and displays. Even if I don’t find anything, exploring the stacks can be fun in and of itself. As you wander, flip through books with interesting covers or intriguing titles. Keep an eye out for Staff Picks and Featured on Our Blog shelf tags to point you to the cream of the crop.

Genre jump

If you’re feeling like you keep reading the same story over and over, it’s time to genre jump!

Are you a regular fiction reader? Try a biography or true crime tell-all. Pick up a book of poetry or dive into some mythology or folklore. More of a history buff? Try one of these suggestions of novels for nonfiction lovers from readerslane.com.

I find book club selections push me beyond my typical preferences in a thought-provoking way. Check out our Book Club Picks that run the gamut from fiction and mysteries to self-help, history, and biographies.

Find a read-alike

Or perhaps you remember a book you loved and want to read more like it. Here's a few sites to help you scratch that itch:

  • Check out our staff-picked “If you liked…” lists or ask a staff member for recommendations.
  • What Should I Read Next?, TasteDive, and Library Thing are also great tools to find read-alikes. Simply type in a book you like and it will generate suggestions of similar reads based on genre, topic, and even hand-picked user lists. 
  • Whichbook is a unique book finder that allows you to find books based on mood/emotion or character/plot or even geographical areas.
  • You can also find a read-alike from a TV show you’ve enjoyed with these lists from NPR and BuzzFeed.

Pro tip: See a book title on one of those sites you’d like to read but we don’t have yet? Request a title for us to purchase! If we do, you’ll be contacted when it arrives.

Read something light or short

Sometimes the rut is a matter of weight. If starting that 8 (or more) book series you’ve been meaning to read or that new self-help book your friend has been raving about feels like a chore, try reading a cozy mystery, fluffy romance, or YA novel instead. Even a collection of essays or short stories could be just the thing to relax you back into reading. 

Or reread a childhood favorite or one you vaguely remember from school. A familiar story read through new eyes can be an invigorating nostalgic jolt to power you through to your next read. 

Try an audiobook

Sometimes your eyes just need a rest. We have a wonderful collection of audiobooks both in physical CDs or e-audio through Overdrive.

All else fails, embrace the rut

I know it seems counter-intuitive, but if reading isn’t bringing you joy right now it is ok to take a break. Focus on a different hobby, spend time outside, or watch that tv show or movie languishing in your watch list (or check out one from the library). Once the joy of reading has sparked in you, it never truly leaves. Trust that it will rekindle when it's ready.

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