Last month I shared a trick for when you’re stuck in a reading rut. They happen to every reader, and they’re horrible.
But not insurmountable.
In that post I asked you to share your favorite strategies to get out of the dreaded reading rut, and wow, did you deliver. Today I’m sharing my twelve favorite reader comments and emails from that post, grouped into six strategies for you to have ready and waiting the next time this happens to you.
Psst—when I was at The Bookshelf last Saturday, Annie Jones and I kicked off our live podcast recording by discussing what we do when we fall into a slump ourselves. I’ll share that episode when it’s live. Stay tuned.
“Like any good accountant, I have a spreadsheet for that! I have over 3,000 books in my TBR list on Goodreads, which can be more than a little overwhelming. At the end of each year, I go through that list and pick ones that I want to read the next year. This helps me make sure I pick from a variety of genres, time periods, etc. Plus, it gives me a list of books to request from the library, so I always have something to pick up when I drop off finished books.” — Kacy
“I have a “Priority TBR” on Goodreads that I maintain with 10-15 books on it. I update it every Saturday after I go to the library, but throughout the week I can only choose from that list of books. I put some thought into keeping the list diverse so throughout the week I have options for any possible reading mood, but bringing my list of options down from hundreds to tens makes it so much easier to pick.” — Brandyn
“I walk those stacks in the library that are outside my usual areas of interest. Then I choose something that somehow appeals to me by virtue of the topic. It’s interesting how something always pops up and good reads follow. (Outside my “J” approach!)” — Kathleen
“Once when I was in a rut, I posted a question on Facebook asking friends to recommend a book. Many of these were books outside my usual genres and/or from people I didn’t think of as readers. I added a lot to my TBR and found some winners that way.” — Nanette
“I experienced a reading rut lately, which is rare for me. I tried all sorts of things to get unstuck, but what finally worked was looking up which movies were going to be in theaters soon that are based on books, then read the book first. My reward will be seeing the movie in the theater when it comes out…but the REAL reward was getting out of my reading rut!” — Renee
“I have found that using a few different reading challenges since the new year began has really stretched my reading life. I keep a notebook of these lists and pick and choose.” — Monica (Check out my 2018 reading challenge.)
An old favorite:
“After scouring the web and trying tip after tip I found myself turning to a tried and true favorite which of course is one of the most common rut busting recs. The difference for me was that the book was Daughter of the Empire by Feist and Wurts, a 500ish page book followed by two 800+ page sequels and I’m about to finish the second one. So I’d say don’t be afraid to go big, a favorite worked for me but not just because I adore the series, it worked because it was so huge it got my mind off of having to decide what to read next for weeks and it stopped me worrying about how many I had already read and still wanted to read because I was too wrapped up in the epic. Chunky books can be intimidating but sometimes they’re just what we need.” — Ashley
“Most often, I’ll re-read a childhood favorite – recently, I reread Island of the Blue Dolphins when I was feeling uninspired and bogged-down, reading-wise, and it did the trick of keeping my reading momentum going.” — Allison
“My four ‘types’ that I’m always in the middle of are adult fiction, a young adult fiction, a memoir or biography, and a nonfiction read (other than a memoir). I’ve been doing this for years because it means I almost always want to pick up at least ONE of the books I’ve got going on, no matter what mood I’m in! (It also means I tend to finish books at a decent pace because I’m often making a little bit of headway on all four titles simultaneously.)” — Torrie
“I have a few tricks when I notice myself getting bored with reading.
- Humor – it feels fun with no downside (think Dave Barry)
- Very short. Anne’s lists of books you can read in a day is great for this (or anything sub-200 pages)
- Revisit something from school. A lot of classic literature is actually cool when you don’t have to write a paper on it! Think Great Gatsby, Romeo and Juliet, etc.” — Laura
“I went to extreme measures to get out of my reading rut: for all of 2018, I’m reading as if it were 100 years ago–books, magazines, and even news. For those who are looking for a less drastic rut-buster, I’d suggest this addition to the list: ‘read a book published more than (choose your own number) years ago.’” — Mary Grace
Embrace the rut:
“Best advice I ever got: let yourself get into a reading rut! I know it sound ridiculous, right? A reading rut is your brain’s way of telling you to slow down. I embrace a rut when I get into one (in fact I just got out of a 2 week long one the other day) because I know if I push myself then I may not enjoy what I’m reading. I catch up on my shows, tackle long overdue home improvement projects, anything to refresh my mind and start anew.” — Courtney
What would you add to the list? How did you recover the last time YOU fell into a reading rut?