How to Get Out of a Reading Rut

by Whit
Getting out of a reading rut

Some people have constant, reliable reading habits. Their “currently reading” status rotates on a steady and regular basis, they complete books from start to finish, never abandoning a book midway through, and they never have to go into a panic at the question, “So what are you reading now?” (Which, granted, I only get asked by my other LQ friends.)

These people are like supernatural beings to me, because as much as I love books, I have an erratic and irregular reading schedule. So many books have been abandoned 10, 50, 100 pages in. So many times has my reading habit gone from a manic state of grabbing as many books as I can to a book drought.

Here’s a very unscientific graph of my reading habits that I made in roughly two seconds:


I go through periods of reading incessantly, unable to put books down, chugging through them at a record pace:
Getting out of a reading rut

And after a few months, I am faced with a sort of reading malaise that looks a bit like this:
Getting out of a reading rut

But, because I can often get into reading funks where I just can’t seem to find anything that interests me, I devised ways to get me out of those ruts. So, I am sharing these in hopes I’m not the only one with this problem.

1. Treat yourself to something new.

Sure, I have a whole bunch of books back at home that have yet to be read, but there’s nothing more exciting than just getting a new book from the bookstore. The smell of the newly printed pages, the lack of water and food stains, it’s enough to inspire you to get back into the reading game.

2. Change genres.

There are certain genres I don’t usually go to, and some that I purposely avoid (cough–sappy romances–cough). However, sometimes it helps to get out of your usual reading habits and shake it up with a different genre. I’ve found that turning to nonfiction when I’ve been previously only reading fiction is a great way to refresh my reading.

3. Get out of the house (or apartment / tent /trailer / commune).

Sometimes reading in a new location can get you back into the groove. I am much more able to immerse myself in a story when I’m able to lay out a blanket and read outdoors. There’s also something pleasant about sitting in a public place like a cafe and allowing the noise to settle into the background as you sit and read. Plus, you can provide yourself with never-ending cups of delicious, wondrous coffee.

4. Read something light.

Sometimes I just need a break from reading complex and heady material. It’s ok to admit that you like to take a break every once in awhile. It’s like when I get the flu and all I can handle to watch on TV is The Property Brothers (which is an amazing show by the way, but that’s for a different blog altogether). Unlike the author of this article on, I don’t think there is anything wrong with dipping into YA or children’s literature to get back into your reading habit.

5. Force yourself.

Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet, sit your butt down, and force yourself to read. Many times, life can be distracting, you can get tired, and the idea of expending mental energy exhausts you. However, sometimes it just comes down to making reading a habit in your life again. So, for my fellow erratic readers: you are not alone, and you will be in a manic state of reading in no time!

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