Fallen into a reading slump? It happens to even the fondest of readers. But with some time, patience, and well-chosen books, you can soon fall back in love with reading.
But first, it’s worth asking: what’s behind your reading slump?
In Katherine May’s new memoir, Enchantment, she shares how she lost her reading habit during the p-word. She was stuck at home and had more time than ever for reading, but she couldn’t read. (“I intend to do one thing, but my unconscious shunts me discreetly away. It has other plans for me.”)
I’ve had the same thing happen more than a few times, including in the last couple of years. I’ve often said to my husband that when I’m reading a lot, I’m usually feeling good. When I’ve stopped reading, I’m often stressed and unbalanced in some areas of my life.
How to fix a reading slump? I’ve found that I often need an unputdownable page-turner to kick-start my reading habit, alongside a bit of patience and acceptance. Other times, a beautiful book reminds me of the joy of reading.
Whether you love reading thrillers, romances, award-winning literary fiction, or just plain good books, in this post I’ve shared my pick of the best books to help you get back into reading and end a reading slump.
The best books to help you fall back in love with reading
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I love most of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novels, but Malibu Rising is probably my favourite. Her engaging, low-pressure writing is perfect for getting you out of a reading slump. No matter which of her bestselling novels you choose, you’re guaranteed a great story.
The Overstory by Richard Powers
Read The Overstory for… a Pulitzer Prize-winning celebration of our natural world and a warning against its destruction.
The Overstory is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read, spanning centuries, generations, and the lives of a handful of characters who are brought together by the power of nature’s towering monuments.
This modern masterpiece isn’t always an easy read, so if you want something light and easygoing, I’d recommend choosing another book. But if you want an incredibly beautiful book to help you fall back in love with reading, it’s a great choice.
A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader by Maria Popova
Read A Velocity of Being for… a gorgeous book celebrating the joys of reading and discovery, wonderfully curated with the trademark stamp of graceful curiosity from Maria Popova, the mind and heart of The Marginalian (formerly Brain Pickings).
What better way to fall back in love with reading than with a book about books? Here, Maria Popova brings together writers, artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, and philosophers to reflect on the joys of reading and how books broaden and deepen their experience of the world.
Featuring stories from figures as diverse as Jane Goodall, Neil Gaiman, Shonda Rhimes, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Elizabeth Gilbert, each letter is accompanied by a beautiful illustration to make this one of the best books to give as gifts.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Read A Gentleman in Moscow for… the warm and cozy feeling of a good hotel in a book that will rekindle your love of reading.
This bestselling book is a beautifully evocative novel about Count Alexander Rostov, a man who, in 1922, is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal and ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.
Rostov, who has never worked a day in his life, must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors.
Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery – and towards a far deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
These Tangled Vines by Julianne MacLean
Read These Tangled Vines for… an easygoing book about inheritance, love, and an American mother and daughter who, years apart, find themselves at a winery in Tuscany.
In a Reddit thread about the best books to help you fall back in love with reading, r/crocodilewrangler shared: “Honestly, trashy romance novels can get me back into the swing and habit of reading because they’re so easy and engaging.”
Yup. These Tangled Vines isn’t trashy exactly, but it is a super easygoing book that is easy and engaging to read. Amidst the lush vineyards and sun-kissed hills of Italy, romance author Julianne MacLean weaves a tale of love, loss, and the power of family ties. It was exactly what I needed to read on a lazy February weekend.
Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Daniel Silva
Read Portrait of an Unknown Woman for… a thrilling high-stakes search for the greatest art forger who ever lived by bestselling author Daniel Silva. I read it in just a few days – I think it’s one of the best new books to help you get back into reading.
But when London art dealer Julian Isherwood requests his help in investigating the origins of a lucrative sale of a supposedly centuries-old painting, Gabriel is pulled back into the dangerous world he thought he’d left behind.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Read Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow for… a fantastic book about video games, the dedication and sacrifice of creativity, and different types of love.
This fiction bestseller is the story of two nerdy kids who meet in a hospital, bond over video games, and years later start their own game company. This brings them money and fame, but also tragedy.
If you love Tomorrow x3 as much as I did (and many others – it was named Goodreads Fiction Book of the Year 2022), here are 10 books to read next if you loved Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow.
Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
Read Wrong Place Wrong Time for… a genre-bending page-turner that offers gripping suspense, heart-rending family bonds, and time travel.
At the start of this thriller, it’s after midnight and Jen is waiting up for her funny, happy eighteen-year-old son to come home. As she watches from the window, she sees him. But he’s walking towards a man, and he’s armed. Then, he kills him.
When Jen wakes up, it’s yesterday. When she wakes up again, it’s the day before yesterday. Each day she wakes up a day earlier, and each day she gets closer to the answer – and has another chance to stop it.
Circe by Madeline Miller
Read Circe for… Madeline Miller’s magnificently defiant reimagining of the daughter of Helios and the ocean nymph Perse, known in myth as perhaps the most dangerous woman a man could come across.
In this captivating book from 2018, the sorceress Circe is banished to the island of Aiaia after her gifts threaten the gods. Here, she hones her occult craft, casting spells, gathering strange herbs, and taming wild beasts.
But she won’t be left in peace for long, and it’s for an unexpected visitor, the mortal Odysseus, for whom Circe will risk everything. Immerse yourself in this gripping book and get excited for the upcoming HBO Max adaptation of Circe.
The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
The Shell Seekers feels like a vacation in a book. In a quiet corner of England, we meet artist’s daughter Penelope Keeling as she looks back on her rich and varied life, contends with her three children, and refuses to settle into pensioned-off old age.
If you don’t know what to read (or want to remind yourself of how good books can be), pick up The Shell Seekers. It’s so wonderfully heart-warming, uplifting, and life-affirming.
For more of the best books to help you get out of a reading rut, complement these recommendations with…