12 Books to Read When You’re in a Slump

As someone who has been struggling to read with the start of a new busy semester, I’m trying to turn to books that take me less time to read so I don’t have to feel bad about taking forever to finish a book. Still, I’ve been going some days/weeks without reading a single book! I know I’m not alone in feeling slumpy, so I thought it might be nice to make a list of recommendations for those who are in search of a quick read to help them out in a slump.

These are all books that I flew through, not necessarily books that are short!! Some books might be on the longer side, but I chose them for their readability, based on my personal experience. (There are lots of short books that I’ve taken a while to get through!)


I hadn’t heard of this book until I was assigned it for class, but I’m in love with it. It is so personal to me because Julie Otsuka’s minimalist writing style is so similar to my own writing style, and I really enjoyed and appreciated seeing how she employed it. But I love it for more than its writing, of course. Despite this book being quite short (not even 150 pages), it packs a punch! Any story of Japanese Americans’ experience when they were incarcerated during World War II is bound to be emotionally devastating, but Otsuka’s masterful storytelling makes it even more so.


I love to turn to graphic novels whenever I’m in a slump, both because I can fly through them and because the art makes it so much easier to immerse myself—and if I can’t make myself read words, I can at least look at pretty illustrations. This graphic novel about the coming of age of three young women is one of my very favorites, and I vividly remember reading through it in one sitting and feeling warmth spread through my body after I finished it. Though this graphic novel is on the longer end (near 400 ages), the time I spent reading it felt like nothing.


This is one of the longer books on this list, and the only nonfiction book, but please trust when I say that you will fly through it. While it is hard to digest in terms of its content, it took me only 2 days to read it—Stephanie Foo’s writing is so easy to fall into and her story is one you can’t stop reading. This memoir is so intimate, as if it is a close friend’s confession, and that feeling of this book being told as an oral account makes it compelling enough to read quickly (I’ve heard the audiobook is great!). But truly, I think this book is so special and life-changing that even if you could read it in a short amount of time, you’ll want to sit with it and savor it.

Content warnings: (graphic) child abuse, discussions of suicide


Thrillers will always pull me out of a slump, because I get sucked in so easily to the suspense and want to keep reading to know what happens next. This YA thriller reimagining of Carrie is so well-written in its ominous atmosphere, gripping pacing, and villainous racist characters. Everything is so obviously wrong and catapulting into the completely wrong direction, and you can’t look away from the trainwreck of it! I flew through it in one day, despite it being over 400 pages!

Content warnings: murder, child abuse, racism, use of n slur, gore, bullying


Short story collections are truly a savior for me whenever I’m struggling to read, and this one is one of my favorites! I adore a majority of these stories, and they are wholly captivating with their rich fantasy (and often fairytale-like) settings, magical weirdness, and focus on female characters and voices. Marjorie Liu has such a unique take on fantasy, and if you’re a fan of the genre, I think you’ll really enjoy her fresh twists on typical tropes and storylines!

See my linked review for general content warnings & for each short story.


This is one of the shortest poetry collections I’ve read, but it was nevertheless quite impactful. Its poems on what it means to Black—including the joys but focusing a lot on the pains—through a creative twisting of typical Western stories (such as Sleeping Beauty) to fit and highlight the Black experience. I loved the longer poems especially, since the shortness of this collection truly will leave you aching for more.

“look closely / & you’ll find a funeral / frothing in the corners of my mouth, my mouth / hungry for a prayer / to make it all a lie.”


My not-so subtle reminder to everyone to read this book!!! Truly, the only reason you wouldn’t want to read this book is because you know you’ll be unable to read anything else after it, because it’s so good…

Though this book might not exactly be short since it’s over 300 pages, I read it in one day the first time, and most of it in one day the second time. (I blame school again.) The reason I’m recommending it—besides the fact that it’s the most perfect book ever and deserves all the love—is that the writing is so easy to glide through, and you feel like you cannot even take a breath while reading this book. It’s so easy to feel the life of the protagonist that you just start to live it and cannot take yourself outside of the pages—you have to keep reading to know what happens next. This is one of those books where you’re better off not knowing the exact storyline; just know that it’s a whirlwind of teenage adventures, immigrant fears, and family secrets.

Content warnings: suicide, child trafficking


I apparently have a thing for gentle and soothing graphic novels, because this middle grade graphic novel is another favorite of mine and it feels like a much-needed warm hug. It is such a cute book—the illustrations are so pretty and adorable, and the young characters are so lovable—but it is also such a comfort to anyone no matter how old you are because of its message about the gift of growing old. Even though I finished this book quickly, it has certainly stayed with me!


Another short story collection! I think this one is an especially good pick because the stories are quite short (shocker!) so you can easily finish many in one sitting. The stories are also horror, which means you’ll feel compelled to continue reading to the end to see where all the suspense leads up to. Though they are short, these stories are definitely memorable in their exploration of the supernatural to emphasize the horrors of real life.

Content warnings: murder, child abuse, eating disorder


Middle grade really is a fantastic choice for whenever I’m feeling slumpy, because they’re easier to read by virtue of being written for younger audiences. I know Ashley Herring Blake is getting lots of love for her adult romances lately, but people are missing out on her middle grade hidden gems!! Both this and one of her other MG books (The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James) made me cry—her books are just so human and gentle and full of heart. This book follows a young girl who is trying to figure out her place in the world, including her sexuality in particular. I devoured this in only a day and it still managed to make me tear up.


This is the shortest poetry collection I’ve ever read, but certainly a hard-hitting one! Warsan Shire’s voice is so refreshing—I love her style of writing, which is simple enough to almost border on prose but still contains so much lyricism. In this collection, she writes about the experiences of women (particularly Muslim women) in war and in enduring trauma.

“Anything that leaves her mouth sounds like sex. / Our mother has banned her from saying God’s name.”


I know. 2010s straight YA book. Over 400 pages. I know it’s questionable—that’s why it’s at the end of this list—but hear me out!!! When I reread this back in 2020, I read it in one day. When I read the last book in the series in 2022 (over 600 pages!), I read it in one day. Kristin Cashore’s writing is just so compelling and easy to read. Even if it might not be completely action-packed all the time, Cashore is so good at making you feel like you have to keep reading to know what happens next.

I am aware that this book is extremely old news since it came out in 2008, but I have seen a surprising number of current YA lovers who haven’t heard much about this book, so I’m just saying: If you love fantasies about character agency and intricate worldbuilding, the Graceling series is for you! And you will fly through it!!!

Have you read any of these books before? What do you like to do when you’re in a reading slump? Any books you want to recommend?


19 thoughts on “12 Books to Read When You’re in a Slump

  1. Excellent choices.

    I’ve been pushing more people to read “The Weight of Blood.” I remember when “Graceling” was first published, and I’m glad the next generation is reading the series. And, Marjorie Liu proves she can write stories without resorting to graphic novels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. the weight of blood was great, i hope more people read it! and i love graceling so much, it’s crazy how my appreciation for it has only grown over the past few years. and i really need to check out more of marjorie liu’s writing outside of monstress!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. the way i knew puitl would be on this list before reading!!!!! <33333 i totally agree with what u said about it, i could not stop reading the first time and during all my rereads too 🥹 the only other book i’ve read that you mentioned was himawari house, and i so agree with your thoughts on that one too ❤️❤️

    i really want to read the other books you mentioned, especially seance tea party and what my bones know!!! im in a semi-reading slump (but tbh its mostly because i dont really have time due to school 😭) so maybe i'll check them out soon 💘 loved this post as usual may 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YOU KNOW ME SO WELL ❤️ but it really is so wild how even though i know everything that’s going to happen, i just have to keep reading. kelly loy gilbert is so good 🥲

      ohh i think you’d love both seance tea party and what my bones know! seance tea party you can definitely knock out in a short sitting hehe. but yes, i wondered if my slumpiness was because of school eating all my time, but then i went on break and i still didn’t read a lot so lol 😢 but AHHH i love u ash thank you 🥰❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for all the recs! 💗 I love it when a memoir feels like a close friend’s confession, both for the writing voice and the boldness in its intimacy. I am currently reading Constance Wu’s memoir, Making A Scene and I am really enjoying it for this aspect as well. I will have to look into What My Bones Know!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i read one of tiffany d jackson’s books a while back but i really have to read more, since i’ve loved what i’ve read from her! i’ve heard such great things about white smoke. i hope you enjoy the weight of blood too <3


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