So, you can't figure out how to get out of your reading slump? Maybe your TBR pile has been piled so high that you have become completely overwhelmed to the point where you can't focus on a single book. Maybe you've gotten sucked into a great Netflix marathon, maybe you've just been busy! There are a hundred different reasons why you might not be reading as much as you'd like to right now, or have even fallen out of love with your favorite pastime. So, what do you do to get out of it? Read, of course.
It might sound simple, but often the only way to get out of a reading slump or to fall back in love with reading, is to read books that you actually like. Whether it's picking up a hilarious and easy-to-absorb graphic novel, indulging in a lighthearted rom-com, or losing yourself in dramatic and breathtaking prose, there is something out there that is always sure to spark your enjoyment in reading again when you fall into a slump. Below are 21 recommendations that have all, at one time or another and for different reasons entirely, made me love books again when I've needed it most — and I hope there are a few here that will do the same for you.
'Tiny Beautiful Things' by Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed's Tiny Beautiful Things collects the best of her Dear Sugar columns in one place, and these columns cover everything from managing your grief to finding your creativity to getting over a broken heart. Thousands of readers have turned to Strayed for advice, and her responses are always rich with humor, insight, compassion, and absolute honesty. This book is a balm for everything life throws our way, even a killer reading slump.
'Nimona' by Noelle Stevenson
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. Their mission: prove that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are. But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit. This hilarious and irreverent read will snap you out of a slump in no time.
'We Are Never Meeting In Real Life' by Samantha Irby
Sometimes you just have to laugh, even when life is a dumpster fire... or when you're in a reading slump. In We Are Never Meeting In Real Life, Samantha Irby turns the serio-comic essay into an art form. Whether explaining why she should be the new Bachelorette, detailing a disastrous pilgrimage to Nashville to scatter her father's ashes, or dispensing advice on how to navigate friendships with former drinking buddies who are now suburban moms, she's as deft at poking fun as she is at capturing powerful emotional truths.
'Anna And The French Kiss' by Stephanie Perkins
Anna is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris — until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all... including a serious girlfriend. But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? This addictive YA rom-com is like fast-acting medicine for any reading ailment you might have.
'Hyperbole And A Half' by Allie Brosh
If you don't want to shove your face into a pile of books after reading Allie Brosh's graphic novel Hyperbole and a Half, you're doing like wrong. In it, Brosh relates some of the most hilarious and heart-wrenching moments in her life — from eating an entire birthday cake as a child to dealing with depression as an adult — in ways that will make you laugh until you cry and cry until you laugh.
'Fangirl' by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl is one of my favorite books for a reason, and it's one I keep turning to when I need to reignite my love for books. For Cath, being a Simon Snow fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. Cath’s twin sister, Wren, has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. Now that they’re going to college, Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. For her, the question is: Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? And does she even want to?
'Tell The Wolves I'm Home' by Carol Rifka Brunt
There's only one person who has ever truly understood 14-year-old June Elbus, and that's her uncle, Finn. He is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, June's world is turned upside down. But Finn's death brings a surprise acquaintance into June's life — someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart. The stunningly ethereal language of Tell The Wolves I'm Home will have you devouring books again in no time.
'Just Kids' by Patti Smith
Patti Smith's prose in her memoir Just Kids is so stunning, you'll find yourself wandering from book to book with ease as soon as you're done. The legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City in the late '60s and '70s.
'Station Eleven' by Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven's sweeping plot is hugely celebrated for a reason, and it will be sure to spark your love of reading once more. One snowy night a famous actor dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor's early days as a film star to 15 years in the future, when a theater troupe roams the wasteland of what remains — this suspenseful, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect people.
'This Is Really Happening' by Erin Chack
One of the most relatable essay collections I've ever read, Erin Chack's This Is Really Happening will have you on a nonfiction marathon in no time. Erin recounts everything from meeting her soulmate at age 14 to her first chemotherapy session at age 19 to what really goes on behind the scenes at a major Internet media company. She authentically, and hilariously, captures the agony and the ecstasy of the millennial experience, whether it's her first kiss or her struggles with anxiety.
'Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda' by Becky Albertalli
This modern YA classic has been turned into a hugely popular rom-com... so you know it's about to lift your whole spirits and have you diving back into your TBR with renewed enthusiasm. Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out.
'Goodbye, Vitamin' by Rachel Khong
If a short gut-punch of a novel is what you need to get back on the reading train, Goodbye, Vitamin is it. Rachel Khong's debut is the wry, beautifully observed story of a woman at a crossroads, as Ruth and her friends attempt to shore up her father's career after his Alzheimer's diagnosis; she and her mother obsess over the ambiguous health benefits of supplements and vitamin pills; and they all try to forge a new relationship with the man her father has become.
'Americanah' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
If brilliant prose is what you're after, look no further than Americanah. It follows teenager Ifemula and Obinze who fall in love as teenagers in Lagos. But Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country. Ifemelu departs for America. Obinze had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in. 13 years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a blogger. But after so long apart, will they find the courage to meet again?
'The Way You Make Me Feel' by Maurene Goo
The diverse YA rom-com of your dreams, The Way You Make Me Feel follows Clara Shin who lives for pranks. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?
'The Age Of Miracles' by Karen Thompson Walker
The Age of Miracles is an edge-of-your-seat take on the dystopian genre, following 11-year-old Julia and her family after the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life — the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.
'The Hate U Give' by Angie Thomas
If you're looking for a book that will restore your love with YA, The Hate U Give is it. It follows teenaged Starr Carter after her unarmed friend Khalil is killed by a police officer. While learning to navigate the disparate worlds of her fancy suburban prep school and the poor neighborhood where she lives, Starr must confront the results of Khalil's death turning into a national headline. Because all everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
'The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath' by Leslie Jamison
If memoir is more your speed, you can't go wrong with the deeply human and gorgeously written, The Recovering. Jamison's memoir uses her own personal experiences with alcoholism to turn our understanding of the traditional addiction narrative on its head, deftly excavating the stories we tell about addiction, and examining what we want these stories to do — and what happens when they fail us.
'Her Body And Other Parties' by Carmen Maria Machado
Short stories more your speed? Her Body and Other Parties is a collection combines psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism for a knock-out collection. From a wife who refuses her husband's entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck to a salesclerk in a mall who makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store's prom dresses, these strange and breathtaking stories will have you re-enthralled with reading again.
'When Dimple Met Rishi' by Sandhya Menon
Need another diverse YA rom-com to choose from? When Dimple Met Rishi has got you covered. With graduation behind her, Dimple Shah is more than ready to head to a summer program for aspiring web developers — and forget her mother's obsession with finding her the ideal Indian husband. Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his Dimple will be attending the same summer program as him, he’s totally on board. When opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
'One Day We'll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter' by Scaachi Koul
Another enthralling essay collection, Scaachi Koul's One Day We'll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter will have you reaching for your unread books stack in no time. Koul hilariously and emotionally recounts outrages and mortifying experiences as an outsider growing up in Canada. Alongside these personal stories are pointed observations about life as a woman of color, where every aspect of her appearance is open for critique, derision, or outright scorn.
'The Wedding Date' by Jasmine Guillory
Need a saucy rom-com to get you back on the reading train? Put The Wedding Date at the top of your TBR. Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn't normally do. But there's something about Drew Nichols that's too hard to resist. After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles , and Alexa has to head home to Berkeley. Too bad they can't stop thinking about each other...