I’m currently in the midst of the worst reading rut in my adult life. We’re already halfway through January and I have yet to finish a book. There is nothing out there that has truly sparked my interest and this time of year (busy! dreary! tiring!) just doesn’t seem to encourage the maintenance of good habits. After browsing through a few bookish sites on the internet, it is clear that I’m not alone in this. There are piles of articles, YouTube videos and podcasts aimed at readers who feel stuck…and it turns out there are plenty of strategies to consider!

  1. Return to your reading glory days by re-reading a book you loved years ago
  2. Try a friend’s book suggestion, even if you think it will be a dud
  3. Go on a “blind date” – just pull a random book off the shelf at the library and see what happens
  4. Find out what books/authors your favourite author has listed as their personal favourites and give them a try
  5. Choose a book based on its cover alone. Don’t even read the synopsis!
  6. Seek out the absolute last book you are interested in reading. It might be terrible but at least it will help shake things up
  7. Try a book swap at your next friend or family get together or book club meeting
  8. Revisit a book you never finished. Perhaps when you tried it years ago it just wasn’t the right time for you to appreciate it
  9. Browse the displays at a book store, used or otherwise
  10. Head to your local library and do the same!
  11. Try reading a few types books at a time (ie. fiction, non-fiction and a YA title)
  12. Forget about what you “should” be reading! Don’t worry about finishing that book club book you hate or not having read the Giller Prize winner
  13. Is a book not hooking you after 50 pages? Give up and move on!
  14. Select a book based on your current mood (as opposed to what you would “normally” like)
  15. Ask a member of our library staff for a suggestion based on your preferences
  16. If you normally stick to literary fiction, give genre fiction a try (and vice versa)
  17. Read a novella (or something equally short) to build some momentum
  18. Switch it up with a new format. For example, if you don’t normally use audiobooks, you may surprise yourself by how much you like them
  19. Change your physical setting. Maybe these days you are just too burnt out to read in bed as you normally would…
  20. Change your book’s setting. For example, you may love books set in Europe circa WWII, but maybe you need a little break!
  21. Join or start a book club for motivation and accountability
  22. Read a magazine with a book review section (ex. O Magazine) – you’ll find lots of inspiration
  23. Try out the NoveList database (accessible from www.CountyLibrary.ca). This service makes it easy to search for books based on appeal factors as well as by theme
  24. Look up what movies are going to be in theatres soon that are based on books…and read the book first
  25. Post a recommendations request on your Facebook page
  26. Visit the library’s online catalogue and place a hold on some books that haven’t yet been released
  27. Try a reading challenge. There are plenty to choose from but Goodreads’ reading challenge feature is the most well established
  28. Start a list on your phone of books that spark interest – you’ll never know when it will come in handy
  29. Turn to the internet for inspiration: BookRiot, Bookstr and Modern Mrs. Darcy are good options, as are Instagram (#bookstagram) and the library’s website (www.CountyLibrary.ca)
  30. Embrace the rut! Enjoy other activities and know that you won’t stray from books forever

I will definitely be trying out some of these ideas to blast through my reading rut. 2019 has just begun and there’s still hope yet!

This article was originally published in The Napanee Beaver.