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11 Book Recommendations to Get Out of a Reading Slump

It’s 2024, we’re becoming well read.

woman reading a book in a library or book shop
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It’s easy to fall off track when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. Don’t give up on that reading goal for 2024 just yet. Finding the right book to get back into the groove can be a struggle.

So, here are 11 book recommendations with at least one option for everyone.

1. Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez Book Cover

Credit: Goodreads

“I wondered distantly if we’d known each other in a former life and we’d found each other again. If that was why he felt so familiar…”

Abby Jimenez, Part of Your World

Part of Your World is a cozy romcom that leaves the reader feeling warm and fuzzy inside, subsequently kicking their feet every time the male love interest opens his mouth. In a world where dating is matching online just to be asked to “come over and watch a movie”, the love interest is a breath of fresh air and a barrage of green flags. And he’s a hot carpenter- that speaks for itself. Generally speaking, no woman can resist a man who knows how to move around his wood.

Sophisticated city-girl, Alexis, is a surgeon who spawned from a lineage of world-renowned doctors. Making the fact that they’re both great with their hands – not a detail to be overlooked – the only real commonality between them. However, their chemistry is surprisingly unmatched.

Above all, there are baby goats, so that’s a lot of fun. Any book with baby goats is sure to be enjoyable.

2. The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller book cover

Credit: Goodreads

Fans of mythology, specifically of the Greek mythology genre, will love this story. Take caution. Readers may suffer withdrawal from Madeline Miller’s prolific writing.

“Name one hero who was happy… You can’t… I’ll tell you a secret… I’m going to be the first.”

Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles

The book follows Achilles and Patroclus, who were brought together by a stroke of luck. Despite this, they forged an unbreakable bond despite opposing forces. The epic tale follows the pair on their journey, where the two meet an enlightening mentor, ferocious monsters, and devastating armies.

This retelling of the tale of Achilles will leave readers laughing, yelling, and sobbing all within the same chapter.

3. Ours by Phillip B. Williams

Ours by Phillip B. Williams Book Cover

Credit: Goodreads

“How are we supposed to learn from them when they never have been free long enough to tell us how to do it? No right way to be free. That’s why it’s called free.”

Phillip B. Williams, Ours

This inspirational piece of historical fiction is Phillip B. Williams’ newest novel and it belongs on every reader’s bookshelf. Williams’ characters are complex and layered. It is a historical fiction novel with a bit of magic that elevates the story to new levels.

Ours spans from pre-Civil War to post-Civil War and takes place in a town west of St. Louis, Missouri, named Ours. Saint, the founder of the town, uses her magic to eliminate white influence from the town. The story explores the intimacies and obstacles of the human experience through the lives of the townsfolk of Ours.

With a twist on the concept of time and an exploration of freedom, this story is in the works to become a modern-day classic.

4. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid Book Cover

Credit: Goodreads

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is for everyone, but it’s particularly great for the girls who have always felt like they were meant for more. Needless to say, Swifties will enjoy this one.

“Never let anyone make you feel ordinary.”

Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

This story is told by magazine reporter Monique, who is covering a story on the glamorous icon known as Evelyn Hugo. The plot has a romantic feel as it follows the life of a captivating movie star in the 1950s.

Evelyn shares the intoxicating details of her life in stardom with Monique, who plans to share her story with the public. However, there is an underlying mystery regarding this interview. For instance, why has Evelyn reached out to Monique specifically? After all, they were complete strangers until Monique received the request.

In truth, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s writing is great for getting out of a reading rut. Her style is easily digestible and keeps the reader wanting more after each page.

5. Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley

Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley Book Cover

Credit: Goodreads

For those who are looking for a rich, wholesome perspective on the prosaic daily tasks of life, this book may be the one. This is a book for curling up on the couch on a rainy day. It is a story for readers who are feeling the mundane aspects of everyday routine get the best of them. It is for the readers who need to be reminded of the beauty of commonplace rituals and how to find the magic in life that many adults find themselves missing.

“It makes me furious that as men age, they gain gravitas. They become “silver foxes.” Women, however, become invisible. We cannot allow this to happen, my friends. We must all be more Iona. We all deserve, to have a Triumphant Second Act.”

Clare Pooley, Iona Iverson’s Rules For Commuting

The story begins with Iona, a flamboyant magazine columnist, traveling by train with her dog, as she does every day. The regular cast of commuters is there as well. However, no one knows a thing about the other. The ritual is set; everyone gets on, and everyone gets off; there is no room for chit-chat. Until a break in the methodical routine occurs, these characters continue their usual lives. However, this disruption throws them into a new reality where they discover the connectedness and beauty of interpersonal relationships.

Basically, anyone facing burnout or just wanting to romanticize their life would absolutely gain from this read.

6. One Summer in Savannah by Terah Shelton Harris

One Summer in Savannah by Terah Shelton Harris book cover

Credit: Goodreads

This controversial book is extraordinarily thought-provoking. It tackles complex subject matter and explores the journey of loss, love, and forgiveness. Where the book deters from reality, it hones in on an abstract perspective.

“forgiveness… is like a door. You can open yourself up to it or close yourself off from it at any time.”

Terah Shelton Harris, One Summer in Savannah

In summary, the story follows our main character, Sarah, the mother of eight-year-old Alana. Sarah conceived Alana after being sexually assaulted in her teenage years. This difficult and complex story explores the tribulations of healing from trauma through a poetic lens. The author masterfully concocts the characters to weave together the complexities of this story.

One Summer in Savannah will leave readers with a fresh perspective coupled with a thirst for empathetic enlightenment.

7. Babel: An Arcane History by R.F. Kuang

Babel by R.F. Kuang Front Cover

Credit: Goodreads

“Traduttoer, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.”

R. F. Kuang, Babel: An Arcane History

This dark academia novel follows five students who are studying at Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation. Our main character, Robin, grapples with ideas such as colonialism and empathy. Robin finds family in his cohorts at the institute. Their studies are tedious and will lead to great discoveries. Discoveries that Oxford and Great Britain itself may find troublesome.

Babel: An Arcane History is a work of well-researched history that delves into historical matters coupled with a fun bit of magic. R. F. Kuang observes the impact of colonialism upon the world and provokes thought on the subject.

8. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover book cover

Credit: Goodreads

“The distance – physical and mental – that had been traversed in the last decade nearly stopped my breath, and I wondered if perhaps I had changed too much. All my studying, reading, thinking, traveling, had it transformed me into someone who no longer belonged anywhere?”

Tara Westover, Educated: A Memoir

Tara Westover grew up in Idaho. Raised by a father who opposed public education and the Western medical system, she had a life significantly different from most other children. Consequently, this resulted in hardships that many cannot relate to.

Westover paints a portrait of emotional and physical abuse displayed in a story-telling frame. This memoir is powerful and simultaneously difficult to read; nonetheless, it remains an impactful story that deserves to be heard.

9. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History by Donna Tartt book cover

Credit: Goodreads

This is another dark academia option with a magical twist. The Secret History forces the reader to digest complex and unfavorable characters. “Morally grey” is undoubtedly a fluffy term for the cast in this story.

“Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.”

Donna Tartt, The Secret History

This group of misfit characters expound the expectations of reality and explore the intricacies of corruption and obsession. As they push the boundaries further, reality becomes distorted. Consequently, they find themselves unable to return to life as they once knew it.

Fans of Sylvia Plath’s Bell Jar or Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray will unquestionably find comfort in the familiarity of discomfort that these characters erect.

10. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising by Peirce Brown book cover

Credit: Goodreads

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free… That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

Pierce Brown, Red Rising

The debut novel of the Red Rising Saga is an epic tale that delves into the horrors of a dystopian world where civilization must live on Mars. The world power has implemented a caste system in which our main character, Darrow, belongs to the lowest level, the Reds. Accordingly, in a world where the Golds, the most powerful caste of elites, reap benefits off the backs of the Reds, Darrow can no longer stand for the violation. Therefore, he decides to take a stand. Without hesitation, Darrow vows to alter the system.

Driven by lost love and a spirit for justice, Darrow’s sacrifice to secure a better life for future generations makes this a terrific read for fans of Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games and Veronica Roth’s Divergent series.

11. A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman and Henning Koch

Credit: Goodreads

Described as a hot cup of cocoa on a cool fall evening, A Man Called Ove is a treasure for all readers.

“Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it’s often one of the greatest motivations for living.”

Fredrick Backman, A Man Called Ove

Ultimately, one could compare Ove to a grumpy old dog who is still irresistibly lovable. His cranky exterior disguises the sad undertone of his story. However, a family of chatty neighbors soon moves next door, and through a flattened mailbox, the heartwarming tale begins.

Markedly, this story of unexpected friendships, unkempt cats, and the discovery of joy in unforeseen places is a joyous read for all.

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Hi, everyone! My name is Emma. I'm finishing up my last semester as a student of Communication and Marketing at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.

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