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  • Writer's pictureEmily Rojas

Break Free From Your Reading Slump + September Book Recommendations

I don't know if it's just me (dear reader, I don't think it's just me), but life has been a little extra stressful lately. This Labor Day weekend, I took a half-day on Friday to extend my long weekend. It was desperately needed.

While I love sitting around and watching TV as much as anyone, I decided to focus on three things that would fully recharge me in a more useful way: Puzzles, spending time outside, and reading books. I finished my puzzle, went on a long walk and bike ride, and finished two books.

I love reading, but sometimes I forget how much it really recharges me. It's so easy to get home from a long and stressful day and mindlessly scroll through TikTok or rewatch New Girl for the fifth time. And all of those things are great, but sometimes I need to get back into reading or doing things that stimulate my mind in different ways.

Prior to Labor Day, I'd been in a bit of a reading slump. I started a few books, but didn't finish much. I didn't feel like reading much, and I got way behind on my reading goals.

Whenever I get into a reading slump, I have two surefire tips for breaking free and getting motivated to read again. I included this a few months ago in my newsletter, so subscribers have already gotten some of these juicy, super-secret hot tips.

1. Dumb Books

I wrote in one of my recent blog posts about how I was unashamedly re-reading the Twilight series. This rediscovery of a 12-year-old me's favorite series was exactly what I needed. Twilight is so fun and so dumb and so easy to read that I sped through all four books in a few days, then spent a Friday night watching Breaking Dawn (parts 1 & 2). Sometimes all you need is to read a really easy, fun book that isn't impressing any literary scholars, but is thoroughly entertaining nonetheless.

2. Audiobook

I recently downloaded the Libby app, which allows you to "check out" free e-books and audiobooks from the library. I've been through several books already, reading them on my phone at home and then listening to the audiobook at work or during my commute. I have to say, I've never gotten into audiobooks before, but the people reading them are absolutely blowing me away. The masterful way they slightly modify their voice to portray different characters is incredible, I'm definitely hooked on audiobooks.

3. New Books

Sometimes you just need to buy (or place on hold at the library, Mom 😉) the brand-new bestseller that you've seen all over your social media feeds. That's what got me through my most recent slump --- I saw a TikTok about The Grace Year and instantly purchased it. I heard the words "a YA dystopian novel that's actually good" and I knew I had to have it. And it was great, and I read it in one day! I mostly buy used books or check out e-books on the Libby app, but sometimes you need to get yourself the brand-new book that everyone's raving about and just read.

Book Recommendations & What I've Been Reading Lately

Now that you've broken free from your own reading slump, you're probably asking, what in the world should I read next? Here are the books I've read most recently and my brief reviews. As always, when shopping for books, I recommend supporting your local bookstore, or, shopping on (which supports many local bookstores) or for used books and great deals.

  1. The Grace Year () This is the book I saw one TikTok about and purchased instantly. It was the perfect weekend read for me, a long-time lover of dystopian novels and strong female lead characters. The Grace Year follows Tierney, a sixteen-year-old girl about to embark on her "grace year". In her community, all girls must leave the community for one year after turning sixteen to "rid themselves of their magic" before returning to either marry or begin working. No one talks about what happens during the grace year, many girls never return at all, and the ones who do are often extremely physically broken down. This book is a dark and creepy dystopian, perfect for anyone who loved The Hunger Games. The world constructed by the author is so detailed and complex, that I could read 10 more books detailing all of the intricacies and histories of the community. I love that it starts right in the middle of the action and fills in just enough of the pieces as the story unfolds to satisfy your curiosity, but leave you wanting so much more. Click here for more about The Grace Year.

  2. Midnight Sun () Ah, Midnight Sun. My fellow lifelong Twi-hards know this book already, but if you're unfamiliar, this is the first book of the Twilight saga retold from Edward's point-of-view. This book pretty much embodies what happens when an author becomes so popular that they're allowed to write whatever they want with no real editing. Someone described this book as unfolding essentially in real time, and I couldn't agree more. This is a minute-by-minute retelling of Twilight that could've been cut down significantly. It took me checking out the audiobook twice and the e-book once from the library just to get through it. With that being said, of course I loved it. Ever since the PDF version of the first few chapters was leaked when I was like 14, I've been dying to read this book, and it didn't disappoint me. The only reason you should read this book is if you were as obsessed with Twilight as I was in the tween years of your life. If not, please skip, it is an insanely long book and not worth your time. Click here for more about Midnight Sun.

  3. Lady Sherlock Series () I've only read the first two books of this series so far, and I love it. It's a retelling of Sherlock Holmes, only Sherlock is a woman: Charlotte Holmes. Charlotte invents the character of Sherlock Holmes, whose health has taken a turn, leaving him bedridden. Charlotte acts as Sherlock's sister with clients, and of course, solves crimes. If you like murder mysteries, but you don't like too much of the murder part, these are great books for you. They're never graphic with details, but are filled with great mysteries with twists and turns you'll never see coming. Oh and, of course, there's a love story. It's a subtle, in-the-background, slow moving story, but there was one line in the first book that I read probably 10 times because it was so quietly romantic and well-written it gave me chills and made me tear up. These books are a steal on Thrift Books, so I'd recommend purchasing them there if you're interested in reading more (click here).

  4. The Midnight Library () The Midnight Library follows Nora who, generally, is living her life with a lot of regrets. When Nora dies, instead of moving on to whatever comes next, she ends up in the Midnight Library with the option to try out her life in an infinite number of ways. She can go back to any decision and live the life she would be living if she had changed one small decision. What if she had gone through with marrying her ex-fiance? What if she had pursued a swimming career instead of quitting? What if she had moved to Australia with her best friend? The podcast host who recommended this book said that even though you can probably guess where the story is going to end up, the way that it gets there is beautiful and worth the journey. One of my favorite TV shows that no one else has ever heard of is called Being Erica. It follows Erica Strange whose life is in shambles. She ends up seeing a therapist who has quasi-magical powers which allow her to relive her greatest regrets and change her actions to change the outcomes and, as a result, fix her current life. This book reminded me so much of that premise, and I loved it. Click here for more about The Midnight Library.

Leave a comment & let me know what you've been reading lately!


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