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Have you ever been in a Reading Rut? (+ Giveaway!)

by Danielle Jackson

Do you ever go through reading dryspells? I do! More often than I like to admit. In fact, I’m going through one right now… And when I do, I re-read tried and true favorite books and authors of mine. Here are a few that I turn to:

Born in Fire by Nora Roberts—so, you guys all know by now that when I was younger, I used to steal my mom’s romance novels and read the dirty parts when I was far too young… but when I was finally a little bit older and slightly less immature (verdict is still out on that one), my mom actually recommended I read Nora Roberts’ Born In Trilogy. The first book, Born In Fire, is SO GOOD. First of all, the heroine is super sassy and a glass blower. Second, the hero is a successful art dealer and hot. Third, it takes place in IRELAND. When I’m looking for reminders about why I love romance, I go to one of the first ones I read and loved from start to finish. Thanks, Mom!

Persuasion by Jane Austen—Persuasion was my first Austen novel, which I read at 11… but I’d say the first time I really read and understood it was in my late teens. Anne is such a great Austen heroine, and that LETTER Captain Wentworth sends in the end is so romantic! I audibly sigh every time I read it. But I also love Austen’s side characters, and Anne’s family is among the most clueless and hilarious and endearing of all of her books, in my opinion. I will say that when I re-read Persuasion, I generally end up reading all of the Austen novels back to back! This year, I improvised and listened to the rest on tape.

The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling—I was one of those teenagers—I read Harry Potter the Sorcerer’s Stone, the Chamber of Secrets and the Prisoner of Azkaban in about a week after my grandma recommended them to me. After that, I went to Borders at midnight to get my copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Order of the Phoenix, the Half-Blood Prince, and of course, the Deathly Hallows, and stayed up through the night reading each one of them in a day or two. It is, in fact, what I consider one of the things that kept my brother (who is 4 years younger than me) and I close through our adolescent years… to this day we call each other “muggles” when one of us does something dorky! JK Rowling continually reminds me why I fell in love with reading at such a young age, and I love finding something new or thinking about something different with each re-read.

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase—I remember attending RWA Nationals in Washington DC and I met Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches Trashy Books for the first time. She must have sensed that I was not that versed in reading romance (seriously, not in the immature way I had been reading!), and asked me if I’d ever read Lord of Scoundrel. I said no, and I’m pretty sure she just about fell over. I was tasked to read it immediately. And as soon as I got home, I bought a copy. She was correct—I needed to read this book. Jessica is hands-down one of my favorite historical romance heroines EVER and Dain, well, he deserves to be put in his place by such a lady. But when he finally realizes how great Jessica is just as she is, he’s swooningly romantic.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle—I actually love this entire quintet of books (A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Titling Planet, Many Waters and An Acceptable Time), but the first is my favorite. In Meg I found a kindred spirit, Charles Wallace was way cooler than my little brother, and I too, had a crush on the neighbor boy (who I am not marrying, but Meg married hers)! This was also one of my first experiences with science fiction and fantasy, and I thought it was so clever. The fourth-dimension, a giant talking brain, a girl with glasses who saves the day? Sold.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’m going through a reading rut right now, and I’m throwing a new book into the mix: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I read the three books last year right before the movie came out very quickly, and I really enjoyed them! But now that I’m starting with the first book and reading it more slowly, I’m enjoying it all the more.

GIVEAWAY! Tell us in the comments what books you love to re-read! I have a fun prize this month: a very exclusive Sourcebooks Casablanca wine glass. This was ONLY available to authors at our RWA Author dinner at the end of last month, and they are super cute. Additionally, I’ll let you choose a copy of any of our August or September releases (list will be sent to winner). I’ll choose TWO winners on Monday, August 12—authors, this is open to you too!

Giveaway open to US and Canada only, please be sure to leave an email address so I can reach you.


  1. Those are great suggestions for when you're in a rut. I like to try a new genre. I just read some New Adults and that made me interested in reading a bunch of books i familiar genres. Thanks, Danielle!

  2. I too like to mix it up. I rarely reread - usually only series that have taken too long between stories. I think I read Jean Auel's Earth's Children 4 or 5 times but luckily I really enjoyed it.

  3. When I get in a slump I go back to LaVyrle Spencer or start all over again on Sue Grafton's alphabet books. Or if I need to giggle I read about Skink again.

  4. Carolyn, I love Sue Grafton's alphabet books!

    I usually change up the genre to something unexpected i.e. paranormal, horror or mystery.

  5. Great choices---Nora's a go to for me, I *LOVE* her Born In Trilogy; my copy of all three books have been reread so many times it's about to fall about. Time to buy a new copy! :)

    No matter how old I get, Harry will always be one I reread again and again. It never gets old--there's so much to find and understand, every time I do a reread, I catch something new, and I bet I've read the series 15 times over the years! :)

    I don't often have time for rereads, sadly, but both those series are ones I try to reread at least once a year.


  6. It's hard to beat Mary Stewart for pure beauty of language.

  7. Abbi Glines' Sea Breeze series

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  8. The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory. Makes me cry every time at the same part as if it's the first time I read it.

  9. Thanks for the comments everyone! Now that I'm in a groove with The Hunger Games, I'll have to try some of the books mentioned below.

    Shana-New Adult is new to me, too, and I'm really interested to read more! Let me know if you come across a good one :)

    Catslady-normally I don't re-read either! but sometimes a reading rut just creeps up. I will say that once I start one of my re-reads, I usually have 2 more books started by the time I'm done.

    Carolyn-Mama Jackson LOVES LaVyrle Spencer. I've only read a few of hers, and it has been ages.

    Victoria-that's a great suggestions about trying a new genre!

    TBQ-Normally I re-read HP1-7 over the summer, but this year, I'm going to wait until the winter (and after my wedding in November). I'm looking forward to it!

  10. Mia--I agree 100% about Mary Stewart!

    bn100--I've never read this series; I'll have to check it out.

    Jessica V--Can you believe I've only read The Other Boleyn Girl and The Constant Princess by Phillipa Gregory?!??! I think I need to change that.

  11. You list some wonderful books for reading ruts. Mine include (and they are old comfort reads):

    Escapade by Joan Smith (witty Regency romance)
    Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
    Delicious by Sherry Thomas (also His at Night by this author. Very elegant writing)

    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  12. I was in a bit of a reading rut last month. I ended up reading a lot of magazines instead, but then I picked up Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl" and the slump was over. I love to reread Julie Garwood's historical romances and Lisa Marie Rice's erotic romances.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

  13. I reread Julia Quinn books, especially the Bridgerton series. When He Was Wicked, The Duke and I, and The Viscount Who Loved Me are favorites.

  14. I never reread books, there are just so many books I've yet to read that I can't go back and read books over again. I've never been in a reading slump in my life, I guess I'm just different, but I always have so many books I want to read, I can't stop. There are lots of different romance genres to choose from, so I usually mix it up. Lately, I'm usually reading one in print and one in ebook, in two different genres. :D

  15. LOL, my friend and I would sneak her older sister's books and read them under cover. One of the first ones we snuck was Sweet Savage Love. I am rereading it now. Other favorite rereads are The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.

  16. Some of my all time favorite rereads, AKA comfort reads :-), are: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (I am in SUCH a romance-reading mood after finishing!) The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley (Swoon!), Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (This novel got me into reading, and I appreciate that so much. Also I just really enjoyed it), Spirited Away by Cindy Miles (The sweetest, most romantic novel EVEA!), How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks (hilarious and smexy!) among others. It find that reading a sure things gears me to give a new novel a try with a more open mind-- who knows, I could find my next comfort read! :-)


  17. I tend to switch to non-fiction when I hit a rut.

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  19. When I get in a reading rut, I generally either try a book that is different from what I have been reading (if I have been reading historicals, I might switch to paranormals or contemporaries) or I might read something with humor that will make me smile and laugh (love the Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands--along with her historicals-- and the Love at Stakes series by Kerrelyn Sparks for this). Then there are the times when I can't get into anything. When this happens, I might take a week off from reading, zone out watching a marathon of a favorite show on Netflix or find another hobby to concentrate on for a little while. After a few days, I will find myself missing reading and may finally be able to get lost in a book :)
    manning_J2004 at yahoo dot com

  20. I have so many in my TBR pile that I don't have time to re-read many but I make the exception for Jill Shalvis and Julia Quinn novels.


  21. Since I got back to romance reading last year (after almost 2 decades of hiatus), I haven't been in a rut. My TBR pile is more than enough to keep me busy for a decade.:)

    But there are books that I re-read just because... like The Malory Family series by Johanna Lindsey, any book by Judith McNaught (I got all her books & love them all!), Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James (this is my fave in the series), etc.

  22. When I get into a reading rut I tend to go with paranormals cause its a change. Plus, they tend to be full of action and sometimes you need to a little action.


  23. I used to re-read The Lord of the Rings and The Dragonriders of Pern but now I have so many new favorites that I just go to my keepers shelf and grab a book and get lost in it immediately (that's why it's on my keeper's shelf, lol). Thanks for the giveaway.

  24. My go-to book is Julie Garwood's Saving Grace. That was my first ever romance read and it never gets old. I don't really like going outside the romance genre but I do switch up from contemporary to paranormals and historicals. That's about as adventurous as I get lol

    ahui89 at hotmail dot com

  25. Thanks again to everyone who commented! Our winners are

    Victoria Roberts
    Anita H.

    I'll be emailing you both shortly!

    Have a great week,


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