A woman looks at a tablet on a commuter train. A small image says "Quick tips."

Trends, Libby Tips & Tricks

5 tips to help you break out of that reading rut


Oct 04, 2023

Throughout much of this year, I’ve had a pretty bad case of something that I call book ennui. More than just a rut, I can't seem to get past the first 50 pages of most books (but shout out to the sample feature in the Libby app!). And most of the time, even when I do, it's a slog to finish. I have SO many books under my "Put down but might pick back up later" a.k.a. the pushpin emoji tag in Libby. But if I don't have a book on my phone or in my bag, they (and my soul!) feel empty.

If this ever happens to you too, I’ve complied a list of strategies that have helped me with that deep existential angst of not being able to find something to read. We’ve all been there.

1. Re-read an old favorite.

You know you love that story, those characters, the feels you get from reading it. It might be a good time to revisit an old friend.

2. Pivot to a different format.

Listen on Libby

I read mostly ebooks and paperbacks, but a good audiobook narrator will engage me in ways regular old reading just can’t. I’ve tried books I’ve never heard of just to listen to my favorite narrators (and it doesn’t need to be said that audiobooks ARE reading, right?).

Graphic novels are also a great way to break up the routine and, bonus, also expose you to some potentially interesting or beautiful graphic art.

3. Keep it short.

This time around, novellas and short novels are my best friends for purging my book ennui. I’ve read so many great stories that entertain or enlighten and still finish up in well under 250 pages.

4. Try a new-to-you genre.

If you normally read from one or a few genres, go to a trusted source (friend, favorite website, local librarian, Libby Life) for something outside of your usual list. Still dubious? Try combining with #3 and read a shorter book.

South African reads

5. Stick with a favorite genre, but from a different country.

Books in translation are having a moment right now, and the options for world literature are better than ever.

Prefer books originally written in English? Go beyond North America or the U.K. and try books published in Australia, Singapore, India, South Africa and more.

Keep boredom at bay and prevent future reading slumps by subscribing to the Libby Life email newsletter to get new book recommendations delivered to your inbox weekly. 📚


About the Author

Liz Tousey has worked hither, tither and yon, and is currently settled at OverDrive, helping libraries with their digital collections. With three young kids, an elderly cat and a middle-aged spouse, her hobbies are pretty much just aspirational, but she still finds time to read.


Never miss a post

Get the best in books straight to your inbox weekly!
Unsubscribe anytime!
Stay connected

Follow for updates on TwitterFollow for updates on InstagramFollow for updates on FacebookFollow for updates on TikTok