13 Quick Reads to Help Escape the Slump

by Lisa C.

Once upon a time, I kept huge stacks of lengthy books by my bedside. I read them all – and pretty quickly, too! I was so smug. Now, I still surround myself with books, but am less likely to finish them before they are due or before they disappear like ghosts under layers of dust. They are scattered all over my life, mocking me with their uncreased spines, their lovely stories still an undiscovered secret. I know others out there also struggle to complete their reading challenges. There’s even a Japanese word for acquiring books and never reading them: tsundoku. What’s interfering with our glorious reading hours – work, families, decreasing attention spans, binge-watching GoT, obsessively scrolling on our phones, dusting piles of unread books, existential dread?

Whatever your reading roadblocks, I found a way to beat my reading slump and you can too, by embracing the quick read. The New York Times recently called them “bite-sized books” whose manageable size can “kick-start” reading habits that have stalled.

13 Quick Reads to Help Escape the Slump

Using this approach, I rediscovered the power of poetry through Dorianne Laux’s plainspoken and evocative verse, dived into impressively succinct short novels like Shirley Jackson’s delightfully creepy We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and read insightful essays and letters such as those contained in James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, a devastatingly timeless account of US race relations in the 1960s.







Check out the full list to see more quick reads that have helped keep my completed books pile growing. What books or tactics get you out of a reading slump?


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4 responses to “13 Quick Reads to Help Escape the Slump”

  1. Ruth G. says:

    Sometimes I read a book that is so powerful that I am left breathless and unable to read again for days. (Tommy Orange’s “There, There,” for example.) I’ve found that picking up a children’s or teen book helps me shift gears, and I can really fully appreciate the book for younger audience because it feels so… fresh — it doesn’t “compete” with the mind-blowing adult novel — even when it is a mind-blowing children’s novel.

    • Lisa C says:

      I completely agree that switching to a children’s or teen book is a great way to recharge your reading – graphic novels, too! Thanks for sharing, Ruth. Also, I have been meaning to read There, There, excellent suggestion.

  2. KathyS says:

    When I have a big novel I want to read, but feel like I don’t have the attention span for (ie, my TBR pile starts getting overwhelming because I’m taking so long on the one), I read it as an audiobook. Somehow, being forced to listen to it whenever I’m in the car gets me through.

    • Lisa C says:

      Kathy, that is so true. Audiobooks also make the commute bearable. Maybe that is the way I’ll finally get through War and Peace…

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