Fighting Reader Ruts & Restlessness

From time to time all readers go through these phases, some more often than others. I see these discussions often on Goodreads.

Reader Restlessness:

  • Trying to read different books but for some reason just not able to get into any of them
  • Wanting to read but unsure what you're in the mood for, hard to get excited about books
  • Still hungover from a great book or series, so nothing else seems exciting and everything else is hard to get into

Solutions to try can depend on the cause. Most of the time when this happens to me it's because I was so gung-ho and loving a series, and once it was done, I was wanting to keep reading that series but couldn't. I'd either seek out other books in that genre to fill the void, or reread some books of the series.

While re-reading is fun and rewarding when that's all you crave, it rarely helped me beat a reading rut. Sometimes it enforced it instead.

Series-Related Ruts:

Read similar books in the same genre, find other series to latch on to and spread the devotion out. You may think this just makes you only crave more series and not want to read anything else, but the variety helps sate you as you keep reading similar series. Eventually you'll want to branch out to other genres and books again.

If you really loved a series, it's pretty much impossible to find something exactly like it. (A Good thing!) But similar stuff can help ease the pain.

Genre Ruts:

There are some readers who only like certain kinds of books and that's it. This is fine, but the genre rut is not really advice you need then, as you are comfortable and content with the books you read and have no desires branching out.

For those who are frustrated by their minds inability suddenly to read other books in genres they usually like, because they're stuck in a genre-reading rut, this sections for you.
Classified as only wanting to read the same kind of books for awhile, to where you're excluding yourself from other genres you used to like, want to try, or have a big TBR pile of.
  • Keep reading the genre of choice for awhile. Either it will wear itself out and you'll be missing the Romances and Fantasies eventually, or you'll get tired of that type of book completely and not want to read it again for a few months. 
  • Set a schedule of reading. Dedicate one month to a type of genre and stick with it, then switch to another genre the next month. This way you're getting used to trying variety and come to expect it.
  • Re-read a favorite book from a genre you're not into right now. When you read the old favorite, you're getting back into the genre with a book you know you love and enjoy, reminding your mind why this genre is fun.

Reading Rut from having too much to read:

You know you're a reader, you love reading, but suddenly you have a LOT of books to choose from and you're not sure what to read. When you start a book, you just can't get into it because you keep thinking of all the other books you have to read. My best friend went through this recently.

The key to this one seems patience. Instead of sitting there thinking you have all these books to read and you're not sure which one you should be reading now, first, or next, try to relax and not focus on it. Make it a game. You can decide to seperate the TBR pile by most anticipated, or else by genre to read first, or other themes, or even by length. Have patience and start slowly, sticking with a book no matter what to break through this frustrating block.

Sometimes this can also be helped by picking up a short, quick read like a Harlequin presents, small classic or YA, etc., with the pressure is smaller due to length, it's easier to get into and get through, and can help break the cycle.


Sometimes a person really does need a break from reading in general to break a rut. Either they're trying too hard and haven't really been reading, or else they've overdosed a bit with books for awhile. I find a week of breaks can be a good combat here. Start watching movies you don't generally watch if you're not a big movie-goer, get into a different, new hobby to try out, do something other than read and the usual hobbies you indulge in. Then, start fresh the next week with a book. If it's still hard to read, make it a re-read of a book you loved years ago but forgot the details of. This can usually do the trick.