Ten Tips to Get Your Reading Mojo Back

The world seems to be made of two types of people: readers and non-readers. Most of you visiting this blog are readers. But even avid readers who have towering stacks of TBR books (or long lists on e-readers), even you can hit a low spot where reading seems like a chore. If you’re there, use these ten tips to get your reading mojo back.

photograph of a young black man reading in a park smiling because he got his reading mojo back

1. Make it a Habit

To make it a habit, schedule a time for reading. Schedule thirty minutes every day. Too busy? Read twice a week. Or take your book (physical or electronic) with you. Use the pockets of waiting time in your day. Read for ten minutes while waiting for an appointment or transportation or your morning latte.

2. Make it Pleasurable

Remember, you’re not doing this for a grade or work. Choose a location that is comfortable, has few distractions, and is suitable for reading. Do you like low classical or jazz music playing? Find a reading area or room that allows you to escape into the book you are reading.

3. Decide Why You’re Reading.

Because the book club is reading it.

If you’re reading only because the book club is reading it, does the pleasure of the book club interaction counter act the discomfort of reading the book? If yes-great! Keep reading. If not, don’t read the book. A book club isn’t a good fit for some people. If you are one of those people—no worries. Do a little self check. What would you like to read? Why do you read that type of book?

Are you reading to check reality?

What do I mean “to check reality?” The books that check reality are nonfiction or fiction, but the story or subject reveals uncomfortable truths about the world and our place in the world. Books like Night by Elie Wiesel, the novella Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, The Flowers of Hiroshima by Edith Morris, or To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. What books have you read that check your reality?

Reading to escape reality?

No judgment here. We all need to escape once in a while.

What kind of escape do you want? Some will want something that makes them laugh. Others want a warm and fuzzy feeling from their reads? Romantic? Thrilling? Scary? Sometimes you might need light and romantic and other times you might need dark, gritty, and thrilling. No matter what you prefer, there is a book out there that will take you on the journey of your choice.

To learn a specific skill or specific information?

For pleasure?” you ask. Sure. Learning doesn’t have to be unpleasant. Maybe you want to learn a new language. Do you want to learn to cook an exotic dish? Maybe you want to learn to build a robot. It’s okay. Reading to learn can be pleasurable. Enjoy.

Reading to expand your mind or worldview.

Reading to expand your mind or worldview differs from a reality check, though they can go hand in hand. These are the books you read about different cultures or religions. It can also be books that make you see your own life from a different perspective.

4. Choose the book

If you read or write in your day job, it may be difficult to read for pleasure. Try reading outside your professional sphere. If you write science fiction, read contemporary romance or poetry. If you proofread science journals in your day job, try reading graphic novels or historical fiction. You get the idea.

If you feel you’ve read all the books in your preferred genre, try a different genre. It may surprise you which ones you enjoy.

If you can’t read because of stress (pandemic, anyone?), reread an old favorite or look through a coffee-table book during your reading time.

If you have a stubborn streak, choose to read banned books. (Don’t forget to tell friends or on social media.) To paraphrase Stephen King, the reason someone banned the book is the reason you need to read it. How will you know your own beliefs and ideas about it if you don’t?

5. Get the book

Your public library is your best and cheapest (free!) source. If they don’t have the book you are looking for, most likely you can ask and they will find and borrow a copy for you to borrow. (Remember to return or renew those books on time so you don’t have to pay late fines.) Of course there are subscription reading services, if you can afford them. Why do I recommend those two avenues? Because the authors get paid by the library or the subscription service.

6. Prepare to Read

Photograph of a tropical beach with a beach cabin in the background and a woman in a plastic chair, reading with her feet in the surf--woah she got her reading mojo back

Prepare yourself and your reading area before you sit down to read. Reduce or remove distractions. Go to the bathroom. Get a favorite drink and a snack.

Clear the cat, or dog, off your reading chair. Position your reading light. Want scented candles? Jazz playing in the background?Bare feet in the ocean? Prepare everything you need so that once you begin to read, you don’t have to stop.

7 Open the book.

If you’re still having trouble reading for pleasure, tell yourself you only have to read ten pages or for thirty minutes. Then do it. If you are enjoying the book, keep reading.

8. What if you decide you don’t like the book?

Most of the time, you don’t have to read a book you don’t like. Consider a couple of things. Sometimes books are slow to get started. Sometimes you’re distracted and need to try again. You can choose to give it 20-50 pages. If it’s not your cuppa after that, put it down. Pick up the next book.

Sometimes books are hard to read because of the topic or the author’s native language or cultural differences. That might be a book to read to the end to gain information that will expand your sphere of understanding and empathy.

9. Finish the book.

Celebrate and—(you know what’s coming, don’t you?) write a review of the book. If you borrowed it from the library, you can review it on a reader’s site like Goodreads or Bookbub.

10. Pick up the next book.

You have the next two or three books waiting in your reading spot, don’t you?

Bonus Tip: 

No one cares how many or what books you’ve read. Not really. You may enjoy making a list of what you’ve read. 

If you’re a member of Goodreads or Bookbub, you may say that those sites keep your list. Yes, they do. But what if they decide to do something else or remove the site from the web? There goes your list.

Keep a journal of the title and authors of books you’ve read. Include a word or two that tells you what it was about. Consider creating a rating system for yourself. Review your list every year. Perhaps you’ll reread a book or two and document how your rating of it changes.

Double Bonus Tip:

What if you can’t focus on reading? Give yourself a break. Choose to take a month or two off. At the end of that time, give yourself an opportunity to read something for thirty minutes. If it was pleasurable, there you go.

If it still isn’t a pleasurable experience, consider what’s making it less pleasurable. Too much stress in your life? Do what you can to reduce the stress. Not enough time? See number one.

Have your eyes checked. Maybe your prescription has changed. 

Maybe you need a new chair. *smile*

Fully dressed woman lying on her back on top of her unmade bed, reading a book with her feet in the air--she's got her reading mojo back

Get Your Reading Mojo Back

Even lifelong readers can get burnt out on reading and need a break. That’s okay. But if that break becomes a habit, these top ten tips to get your reading mojo back will help you re-enter the thousands of lives and thousands of worlds you can experience through books. 

The Book that Changed Your Life

Let’s face it. If you’re reading this blog post, you are most likely a lover of books. A lifelong reader. A bibliophile. That means you’ve read -a lot- of books. You may cherish some of those books and re-read them once or more than once. It’s a cliché to say some event or person or book changed your life. But there is truth in clichés. How and why can a book change your life?

A photograph of a young woman reading a book while curled up on a red sofa illustrates Lynette M Burrows's post, What book changed your life.

Reasons We Read

We read for pleasure or entertainment, for spiritual or personal enlightenment, or for information or education. Books can provide a sense of self-awareness, a feeling of connection, or an escape. Our brains benefit from the exercise with increases in concentration, focus. Stories tickle our imagination and our imagination grows.

Unexpected Consequences

You don’t have to be an avid book reader to discover that a book influenced you in unexpected ways. You read for entertainment and gain new perspectives or awareness of different races, religions, cultures, and places. Fiction and nonfiction can show us we are not alone in our thoughts, emotions, or troubles. Through books, we see how other people handle obstacles and conflict. And books can help us be better, kinder, more tolerant people. 

Books that Changed the Most Lives

According to the Library of Congress, the Gutenberg Bible is the most important book in history. It certainly has historical significance as the first book printed with moveable type. Arguably, the Bible is the most read book in history, therefore the book that has influenced the most lives. But let’s look beyond the Bible.

In a survey by Ask Your Target Market (AYTM) , two books stood out. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. Their respondents cited relevancy and emotional impact respectively as the reasons these books were so influential. AYTM noted men were more likely to cite 1984 by as their most influential book.

Books that Changed My Life

I agree To Kill a Mockingbird is a life-changing book and the story themes apply to issues we face today. I first read it in middle school. The story touched me emotionally. I could relate to Scout. It’s the first story I recall that made me aware of racial discrimination and “otherness” intolerance. I re-read the story from time to time. It touches me on a deeper and deeper level each time. Its relevancy both saddens me and increases my resolve to help spread inclusiveness and love.

What can I say about The Diary of a Young Girl? I first read this book as a young girl. It resonated deeply, personally. Her determination to live her best life despite everything influences me every day of my life.

I read 1984 in high school. I can’t say it didn’t influence me because it certainly did. It is difficult to say whether it changed or influenced me because of the frequent social references to the book.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle is a book I’ve written about on this blog. Its influence was vibrantly visual and emotionally impactful, but different from the previous two books. 

The cover of Little Women shows a young woman in a civil war era dress at the piano one of the books that changed Lynette M Burrows' life.

I feel the need to mention the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. It was a book that touched me so deeply that I reread it so often that my paperback copy fell apart. Etched forever into my brain and heart are the impact of war on the March family, the relationship between the sisters, and how their dreams and aspirations grew. And I have to credit Jo with inspiring me to become a writer. That changed my life in a very real way.

What Book Changed Your Life?

As a reader, I believe books change lives. It is my greatest wish that most people would be readers. Readers are my people. My tribe. I suspect you all agree that books can change lives. Do you agree with the top three most influential books in AYMT’s survey? I wonder how many of you will say the same books influenced your lives?

Please share: which book changed your life?

A Science Fiction First Lines Friday

First Line Friday is a series of blog articles posted on the first Friday of every month. The first line of a story, we’re told, must hook the reader. Implied is that the reader will not buy the book if the first line isn’t great. These entries are from Amazon, my personal library, or other online books. Today’s post features Science Fiction first lines. (And maybe a fantasy or two.) Are you hooked?

The cover for Joseph Nassise's book Eyes to See have a young man standing in an alley between tow brick buildings. He's got an electric blue haze around him and his entire eyes are that same blue. This SF & F First line is arresting.

I gave up my eyes in order to see more clearly.

 Eyes to See
(Jeremiah Hunt Book 1)
by Joseph Nassise

Cover image of Lightning Game is of a man looking over his shoulder and hovering in the air behind him is a larger than life face of a young blonde woman.

Rubin Campo stood in front of the small cabin made of mostly broken lumber his brothers and father had dragged or cut from the trees in the forest and pieced together. 

Lightning Game (A GhostWalker Novel Book 17) by Christine Feehan

Cover for the Eye of Elektron has a red-headed woman in the center wearing a off the shoulder metalic bodice and chain mail-like skirt, she has something in her hand that is causing swirls of yellow and red

Dawn knew death awaited her at the hour’s end. 

The Eye of Electron (The Sumrectian Series, Book 1)
by Leigh G. Wynn

Jane strained against the harness as the capsule shuddered around her, craning her neck for a better view of the ship they were hurtling toward. 

Fluency (Confluence Book 1) by Jennifer Foehner Wells

There were quite a few interesting things about Johnnie: replacing his left had was a golden claw, he had no scent detectable to any creature on Earth, and he was the most infamous mercenary in two out of three Confederate states.

Beyond the Last War: The Wayward Mercenary by Claude McKenna

No one could have possibly known what was truly in the container.

Europa Contagion
by Nicholas Thorp

Your name is Emma.”

Emma wiped the tears from her eyes.

Blue are the Hills by Lilly Piper

Charlotte knocked over her plastic model solar system toy when she heard her parents fighting again.

Brazen Planet (Tears of Venus) by Gayle Katz

I knew I was different the moment I awoke…or came online, as the Masters call it. 

Omega Force: Revolution (OF9) by Joshua Dalzelle


There are no affiliate links in this post. I don’t make a cent off of the books listed on this page. Usually these titles are pulled at random. They are here for your enjoyment. And to entice you to buy more books.

Do You Want to Read More Science Fiction First Lines?

Did you enjoy this list of science fiction first lines? Check out previous First Line Friday posts. You’ll put an enormous smile on my face if you tell me in the comments below— Which ones spoke to you? Did you buy it?

Holiday Stories Earn a Special Place on Your Bookshelves

No, it’s not a first Friday. But there’s more to the holidays than A Christmas Story or ‘Twas the Night before Christmas. Some stories cross all the lines no matter the plot, no matter the holiday. Holiday stories earn a special place on your bookshelves. Hopefully, in this list there are first lines from old favorites as well as new and different stories for you to explore.

Image of the cover of Night of the Moon is a colorful drawing of a girl looking up at the moon. It's one of the holiday stories you might like on your bookshelf.

It was bedtime and Yasmine waited for her mom to read her a story as she did every night. But this night was different.

Night of the Moon A Muslim Holiday Story
Hena Khan (Author), Julie Paschkis (Illustrator)

Old Bear awoke from his winter sleep. He poked his nose outside of his den.

Hanukkah Bear,
Eric A. Kimmel (Author), Mike Wohnoutka (Illustrator)

“Really. It’s fine,  honey. You couldn’t have predicted a bird bombing as soon as you stepped out of the house….”

Frisky Connections: A steamy, modern dating, Hannukah,
romcom novelette. (The Frisky Bean) Michelle Mars

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies.

The Gift of the Magi, O. Henry

The house is called Enysyule. 

Enysyle. The word lingers on my lips like honey from a spoon.

The Cat of Yule Cottage:
A Magical Tale of Romance, Christmas and Cats, Lili Hayward

It was biting cold, the sort of cold that burns into your bones. It was snowing and so dark that evening before Christmas. 

The Little Match Girl, Hans Christian Andersen

Santa Claus lives in the Laughing Valley, where stands the enormous, meandering aimlessly palace in which his toys are made. 

A Kidnapped Santa Claus, L. Frank Baum

And look at this! A storm system is making its way across the country, and it will bring heavy snow to the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes before wreaking havoc on the East Coast.

The Secret of Snow, Viola Shipman

’Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house,

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The Night Before Christmas,
Clement C. Moore (Author) and Charles Santore (Illustrator)


There are no affiliate links in this post. I don’t make a cent off of the books listed on this page. Usually these titles are pulled at random. They are here for your enjoyment. And to entice you to buy more books.

If you liked those first lines, I hope you’ll love these:

The giant bronze angel of death loomed over Miranda Clarke’s shoulder.

My Soul to Keep, Book One in the Fellowship Dystopia series by Lynette M. Burrows


Do You Want to Read More?

Did you enjoy this list? Check out previous First Line Fridays. You’ll put another enormous smile on my face if you tell me in the comments below— Which ones spoke to you? Did you buy it?

The Perfect Gift for Your Bookworm

It’s almost time but you still haven’t found the non-book perfect gift for your bookworm. Have no fear, I’ve found a few gems that will light up the most serious book nerd’s eyes. There are no affiliate links here. I get nothing no matter what you click, except for the joy of being able to help you. So click on the picture of the item you think will bring your reader friend you and be whisked to the online store page where you can buy it. 

Image is of a hard cover book with a plain beige cover. A silken rope is tied around it with a bow on top. Really the perfect gift for your bookworm is a book.

Your Reader’s Mug

I have never seen a more perfect gift for readers of this blog. Heck, I think Santa might bring me one of these first lines mugs. I’m not sure I’d fill it with coffee, because I’d spill it trying to read all the first lines.

Image of a coffee cup with first lines from books on it, the perfect gift for your bookworm

Fill a Reader’s Cup

Some like to sip coffee or tea while they read. Fill the tea drinking reader’s cup with something fun and flavorful. 

Photo of tea tins that look like books with tongue-in-cheek titles such as Peach and War a perfect gift for your bookworm

Others prefer something stronger but how boring to drink a beer or glass of wine. Give your book lovers a literary twist to their drinks.

The cover of the book Tequila Mockingbird, cocktails with a literary twist has a mockingbird perched on the rim  of a full martini glass. a book that is the perfect gift for your bookworm

Fill Your Bookworm’s Belly

Don’t forget to feed your reader friends. This cookbook offers a touch of the literary with each dish.

Image of the cover of book lovers cookbook--cook something from your favorite book

Your Book Lover’s New Favorite T

Available in Men and women’s sizes this book lover’s t-shirt comes in five different colors. 

Image of a t-shirt with the outline of a stack of books over the words get lit.

Keep your Bookworm Warm

This warm hoodie is sure to tickle the fancy of your most die hard bookworm friends. Get one in all five colors.

A hoodie with the words my weekend over a stack of books followed by the words is all booked.

Tote those Books

Believe me, a book nerd never has enough totes to carry books. And who wouldn’t love to carry a Kate Spade?

Image of a tote with a stack of colorful books on it.

Help Your Book Nerd 

Okay, I am a true book nerd and a writer and this appeals to me. If your book nerd is also a writer, this journal will be appreciated. 

Image of the cover of Book Marks, a reading tracker journal. Cartoon images of books sitting on and reading books

Don’t Forget Gift Cards

Find a local bookstore and buy a gift card for your bookish friends. Why would a reader want a gift card? Seriously? Have you ever met one that didn’t want need more books? Believe me, it will be their favorite gift.

Confession Time

Okay. The gig is up. This is my Christmas list. These are things I would love to have. Me– Your book loving friend. I’m kidding- sort of.

Seriously, if I love these items, I’m sure the friends on your list will love them too.

Make Merry

No matter what holiday you’re celebrating, I hope this list helped give you find the perfect gift for your bookworm friend. And I send a wish for you to be healthy and safe and comfortable during this holiday season. 

Image Credit

First Image by congerdesign from Pixabay