Librarian Confessions: Getting Over a Reading Slump


I have a confession to make…one that may cost me my master’s in library science. Since 2020, I’ve found it almost impossible to read more than a handful of books a year. I know! It’s the antithesis of every bibliophile out there. Before the pandemic hit, I would routinely read 1–2 books a week, but over the past two years I’ve been lucky to read a book a month.

I love reading, and when I do pick something up, I’m fully absorbed, but as soon as I put it down, I forget about it and it’s hard to pick it up again. I’ve developed fish brain (think Dory, from Finding Nemo). So, to combat this, I’ve been reading short stories, manga, and shorter novels. Listening to audiobooks has also helped me read more as well. If you too are suffering from a reading slump, here are some ideas and book lists to get you back into reading.

Join or create a reading challenge

I created a reading challenge in The StoryGraph, opens a new window based on the music of my favorite group, BTS, to help motivate me to read. Click here, opens a new window to browse The StoryGraph’s many reading challenges or create your own. Visit my past blog to learn more on what all you can do with The StoryGraph., opens a new window

The Library also has the Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge, opens a new window that you can join starting May 19, 2023. Instead of tracking the number of books you read, this challenge focuses on the number of minutes you’ve read. This is helpful if you’re trying to make reading a habit again. Best of all you can win entries for a bag of popular book club books.

Keep what you read short

My biggest deterrent to reading is if I can’t finish it in one sitting then I’m unlikely to pick it up again. Reading short stories, essays, or short novels has allowed me to experience satisfaction when reading again because I’m able to read through an entire story in one sitting.

Here are some reading lists to help you get started:

Short Story Anthologies , opens a new window

Rapid Reads, opens a new window 

A Long List of Short Stories , opens a new window

Try a Novella, opens a new window 

Quick Read, opens a new window

Listen to audiobooks

If part of your problem is just finding time to read, listening to audiobooks is a great way to multitask. I love listening to books while driving or while cleaning the house. If you’ve had difficulty listening to audiobooks in the past, try to find audiobooks with good narrators. An engaging narrator can make all the difference.

Here are some reading lists to help you get started:

Quick Listens, opens a new window

Narrators Worth Listening, opens a new window

Best Audiobooks, opens a new window

Just Listen, opens a new window

Put Your Earbuds In, opens a new window

Read graphic novels and manga

Graphic novels and manga are one of my favorite ways to experience a story. Sometimes a lot of words on a page can feel daunting and having artwork to help tell the story can make it more approachable. While a lot of people may think graphic novels are all superheroes and fighting there are a lot of different genres and stories being told in this format.

Here are some reading lists to help you get started:

Adult Graphic Novels to Read, Then Stream, opens a new window

New Manga, opens a new window

Graphic Novels with Gravitas, opens a new window

Graphic Novels That Aren’t DC or Marvel, opens a new window

Graphic Novel Non-Fiction and Memoirs , opens a new window 

Read books from popular culture  

What are people talking about around you? If your friends or coworkers are going on and on about a movie or TV series, chances are it’s been adapted from book, or you can find books with similar themes and styles. Have a favorite podcast you listen to? There’s probably books related to it. Or maybe there’s a book everyone is talking about, and you want more books like it. Generally, with works like this there is a reason everyone is so interested in it. Even if you end up hating it, you’re bound to have something to talk about with others.

Here are some reading lists to help you get started:

New and Upcoming Adaptations for 2023, opens a new window

If You Liked It Ends With Us, opens a new window

Podcasts + Books, opens a new window

Wednesday Addams's Digital Library, opens a new window

If You Liked Everything Everywhere All at Once, opens a new window