COLUMN: A bad case of reader’s block

We might gravitate towards the same type of books repeatedly, never venturing into unknown territory

“I don’t know what I want to read!” is a refrain I hear often in my life.

I say it, my sons say it and people coming into the library say it (with the hope that I can help them.)

Most of us at one point or another have probably experienced what I like to call reader’s block. That feeling of wanting to read something but you just don’t know what and sometimes nothing sounds appealing.

My sons can often be my biggest challenge as they seem to think of their mom as the magical book fairy, who makes the perfect book appear at will.

What they don’t realize is that for every book that they love I probably have six more in the book bag that just don’t make the grade.

Right now I am suffering from a bad case of reader’s block. Everything I pick up just seems unappealing.

I will read a few pages, just feel blah and yet another title ends up on the discard pile. If you feel the same way, fear not, help is on hand at your local library.

It can be a little daunting when someone stands looking at you expectantly, hoping against hope that you’ll be able to give them that perfect tome that will kick-start their reading again.

I often start with the question “Well what do you like?” as at least it gives me something to go on.

Sometimes it can be a process of elimination, figuring out what someone doesn’t like first. It can be helpful getting an outside opinion on what to read as sometimes we can box ourselves in a little.

We might gravitate towards the same type of books repeatedly, never venturing into unknown territory.

Having someone make suggestions that are completely different from this norm we’ve created can be refreshing.

I love the look of surprise people get when you introduce them to something new.

Many diehard fiction fans would never dream of looking in the poetry section for example. You never know what you might discover and learn in the non-fiction section.

I often encourage people to just try, the nice thing about the library is it costs nothing to try.

If you can’t decide what genre is for you then we have many collections of short stories, poetry and essays to get you started.

You might like to try The Year’s Best Science Fiction, by Gardner Dozois or Family Furnishings, by Alice Munro or I Am An Islander by Patrick Ledwell.

Our Okanagan Regional Library website ( is also a great resource. Not only do we have links to readers’ advisory websites such as Novelist but there are suggested titles built right into our catalogue. It is a great place to start your search.

So for those of you who are experiencing a little reader’s block why not come down to the library for a little inspiration. We might take you into uncharted waters but you never know you just might like it!

Adele Meadow is an Assistant Community Librarian at the Summerland branch.

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