Books

I was in a reading rut for years, these 12 books helped pull me out

Add these to your to-read list.
Loading the player...

It’s something many of us go through, the dreaded reading rut.

In a digital world, it is all too easy to get lost in the online and forget about the analogue world of books and physical media.

Growing up I was an avid reader, you could not pull me away from a book. But as is only natural, I got older and it became harder and harder to prioritise reading and I became positively stuck in a dreaded reading rut.

However last year, after years of letting my pile of ‘to-read’ books become dangerously high, I decided once and for all that I was going to get out of my rut.

It certainly wasn’t easy. I definitely found myself pushing, pushing, pushing to keep going. But on this journey, I learned to fall back in love with literature and curated some tips to keep me engaged.

Nearly a year and a half later, I can say proudly I am well and truly out of my slump. I’m normally reading a book a fortnight and have had the pleasure of getting lost in some true works of art.

Top tips for getting out of a reading rut

  • Read your favourite book again. Go back to your childhood and read a long-forgotten favourite, remind yourself of the magic of getting lost in a good book.

  • Set a timer for 15 minutes before bed and read until it goes off. If you are enjoying it, keep going! If not, at least you got 15 minutes in.

  • Try a new genre or style than what you used to read. Taste changes and who knows you might love it!

  • Don’t be afraid to opt out. Many of us feel the need to finish every book we start but if you aren’t loving it, don’t force yourself to continue! That will only make you read less.

  • If you’re time-poor or are often stuck in long drives into the office, an audiobook is a great way to immerse yourself without having to physically read a book.

  • Take recommendations. Ask your friends, family, and co-workers what they’re reading – it may inspire you.

Now I wouldn’t be anywhere if it weren’t for the books that helped pull me out, in the hopes that these might end up on your shelves or bedside table, below I’m taking a look at some of my very favourites.

Happy reading!

The 12 books that helped me get out of my reading rut

sunbathing-isobel-beech-reading-rut-books

Sunbathing by Isobel Beech, $32.99 at Dymocks

If packing up and moving to the Italian countryside is something calling your name right now, this book will only serve to further convince you. A devastatingly beautiful depiction of grief and healing, Sunbathing by Isobel Beech started for me as a beachside read, only to help me come to terms with my own journey of loss and the hope that is sure to follow.

SHOP NOW

seven-moons-of-maali-almeida-reading-rut-books

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka, $32.99 at Dymocks

A biting satire about the political situation in 1980s Sri Lanka, this story follows closeted war photographer Maali Almeida as he navigates the afterlife. This book won the 2022 Booker Prize and is a must-read for those who are a fan of political, social and historical commentary. I also loved the use of second-person writing, which you don’t often come across but made an engaging and immersive read.

SHOP NOW

everything-feels-like-the-end-of-the-world-reading-rut-books

Everything Feels Like The End Of The World by Else Fitzgerald, $24.90 (usually $29.99) at Booktopia

This is absolutely the book that pulled me out of my rut. I read this cover to cover in one day whilst on a trip with zero phone reception and have not stopped talking about it since. A collection of short fiction stories that delves into what the future of the world may look like. It explores grief, love, climate anxiety and despair with devastatingly descriptive prose and detail.

SHOP NOW

girl-woman-other-reading-rut-books

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, $17.70 at Amazon

With the entwined stories of twelve characters, this book had me hooked immediately. It tells the story of Black, mostly women living in England as they navigate the world, with each story linking and connecting throughout the novel. Don’t expect a distinct ‘storyline’ per se, but instead, a realistic and beautiful look into a world and experience you may not have had the pleasure of being familiar with.

SHOP NOW

just-kids-patti-smith-reading-rut-books

Just Kids by Patti Smith, $24.99 at Dymocks

I am not one to read a memoir usually, particularly in the world of music, but Patti Smith’s Just Kids is a book I will never forget. Having lived a life far more interesting than I will ever live, I enjoyed escaping to Patti’s experience in the 60s and 70s of New York and learning about an era I grew up envying; with thrilling cameos by icons like Andy Warhol, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and more. If you’re a fan of rock and roll and not one to usually read memoirs, this is absolutely one to try.

SHOP NOW

latitudes-of-longing-reading-rut-books

Latitudes of Longing by Shubhangi Swarup, $33.88 at Amazon

For heartbreakingly beautiful descriptions of love, intimacy, and connection to nature, this novel by journalist Shubhangi Swarup is a must-read. It follows the interconnected stories of various characters across India and dips into the world of magical realism, which makes an imaginative and enchanting experience on every page.

SHOP NOW

andre-leon-talley-reading-rut-books

The Chiffon Trenches by Andre Leon Talley, $24.99 at Dymocks

I couldn’t possibly label myself a fashion nerd without featuring this memoir by the fashion journalism legend André Leon Talley on my list. Talley’s works are what sparked my own career, so this memoir provided a candid and inspiring glimpse into the life of one of my journalistic heroes. Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast or simply curious about the backstage gossip of the supposedly glamorous industry, this offers an honest depiction of what the world of fashion is truly like.

SHOP NOW

the-fran-lebowitz-reader-reading-rut-books

The Fran Lebowitz Reader, $21.75 (usually $24.99) at Booktopia

To be completely transparent, I haven’t even finished this book and I have to recommend it. Very rarely has a book made audibly laugh aloud, but this collection of essays by the iconic Fran Lebowitz is a must-read for the true cynic. I will preface that some pieces do feel dated or even culturally distant, but there are some absolute zingers to enjoy.

SHOP NOW

after-australia-reading-rut-books

After Australia edited by Michael Mohammed Ahmad, $23.75 at Booktopia

This collection of short stories, penned by a diverse group of Australian writers, provided me with the chance to immerse myself in the voices of authors I had never encountered before. It’s an engaging yet thought-provoking read that delves into the darker aspects of the country. Among the stories, Michelle Law’s Bu Liao Qing and Karen Wyld’s We Live On in Story stood out as remarkable highlights for me.

SHOP NOW

im-glad-my-mom-died-reading-rut-books

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy, $34.99 at Dymocks

If you haven’t heard the praises for this book, you might have been living under a rock. As someone who grew up watching McCurdy on the screen in iCarly (with her character, Sam, being my favourite), reading about the abuse she endured from her mother was a difficult experience, yet a wholly necessary one. This book delves into the painful and poignant details of the lives and challenges faced by a child actor, as well as the path to recovery.

SHOP NOW

alice-in-wonderland-reading-rut-books

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, $14.25 (usually $14.99) at Booktopia

When I decided to break free from my reading rut, I began with my all-time favourite book. Allowing myself to truly immerse in the enchanting world of Wonderland reminded me of the very reason I developed a love for reading in the first place.

SHOP NOW

becoming-michelle-obama-reading-rut-books

Become written and narrated by Michelle Obama, $27.99 at Audible

If you’re anything like me and fell in love with the honesty and authenticity of former First Lady Michelle Obama, this is the book for you. In fact, I would argue that listening along to the audiobook, narrated by Michelle herself, makes an even more engaging experience. Michelle delves into her career as an attorney as well as the highs and lows of serving as the first African American First Lady and it makes a truly inspiring listen.

You can even try out this book for free when signing up for a trial with Audible, after that the membership is only $16.45 a month for access to thousands of audiobooks and podcasts.

LISTEN NOW

Unwind and relax with your favourite magazine!

Huge savings plus FREE home delivery

Related stories