What to read when you can’t read any book.
“I used to love reading when I was younger. But now, I’ve lost the habit of reading.”
If you resonate with this statement, then you could be suffering from reader’s block. You might be trying hard to get back to your reading habit, but every time you open a book, your mind starts wandering after a few pages. You can barely make it beyond the first few chapters.
The small bookshelf in your room always fills you up with guilt.
You long to love reading again, but no matter how hard you try, you can’t stick with a book long enough.
If this resonates with you, then don’t worry, I got your back.
In this post, I’ve listed three super addictive books that will make you want to tear through the pages so you know what happens next. They’re written in a friendly, non-intimidating tone, and are engrossing enough to keep you reading.
Read on, and become a seasoned reader once again by picking up one (or more) books from this list.
(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these books through them, it will help me earn a small amount — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)
1. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Genre: Contemporary fiction.
After suffering a deep personal tragedy, 59-year-old Ove has lost the will to live. He sorts all his personal affairs and prepares to die.
On the day he plans to leave the planet forever, a car crashes into his mailbox while reversing. It’s a couple of foreigners from Iran, Patrick and Parvaneh, and their two daughters. Ove is filled with anger at these two imbeciles who don’t even know how to drive.
But Patrick has an accident and Parvaneh is pregnant. And when they ask him for help, Ove can’t find it in him to refuse them. Little does he know that a small drive to the hospital would turn into a deep emotional bond.
Ove is a simple man. He was prepared to hate the world until his last breath. But he never anticipated that a couple of foreigners and their two unruly daughters would lend his life some meaning, and give him a lot to look forward to after waking up every morning.
Why I loved this book so much
I’ve read so many Backman books, and each of them wrecks me, in a different way.
A Man Called Ove hit all the right emotions at the right places. Some passages had me laughing out loud, while others gripped my heart in an icy clutch of fear. I read this book slowly at first, savoring every page, until about the last 80 pages when I just couldn’t stop. I flew through them, tears in my eyes until I read the final chapter.
And what an ending it was — a fitting end to a wonderful tale. I’m so happy this book found me. But more than that, I’m grateful I had the courage to read this emotional roller coaster until the end.
2. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
This is a memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, written about the one year she spent in 3 countries — Italy, India, and Indonesia — right after she got out of a long marriage and battled crippling depression.
This book is divided into three sections, each 36 chapters long -
- The first part is set in Italy and is about her search for pleasure. She lives the life of a tourist, has no permanent address, eats the best pizzas in the world, and indulges in hedonistic pleasure to forget the trauma of her heartbreak.
- The second part is set in India where Gilbert spends 4 months at an Ashram in a remote Indian village — scrubbing temple floors, eating the simplest vegetarian food, and living the life of a Yogi. Here, she learns to finally calm her mind and foster her connection with the divine.
- The last part is about the four months spent in Bali, where she seeks to strike a balance between pleasure and spirituality. She lives among residents, making several friends, impacting lives, and fostering lifelong connections that’ll make her keep returning back to Bali long after her four months are done.
Why I loved this book so much
This is a brilliantly narrated book dealing with some tough topics like the breaking up of a marriage, battling suicidal thoughts, finding the divinity within oneself, and striking a balance between pleasure and piety — peppered with Gilbert’s trademark wit and sarcasm.
The anecdotes shared here felt close to home. Even though I’ve never been to Italy, the stories of her wandering around the streets of Rome reminded me of the times I’d traveled solo in a new city, taking in its sights and sounds and making the most of my time here.
I’ve never been to an Ashram, even though I’ve lived in India all my life. Yet, the struggle Gilbert faced to first start meditation, and once she learned to empty her mind, the incandescent connection she felt with the divine — all felt close to home. I too have been practicing Yoga and meditation for more than a year, and everything she talked about how it benefits the mind and body felt like it was written for me.
The part set in Indonesia felt the most alien, but I could understand the appeal of living a life like a vagabond, making new friends, and fostering connections in the most unexpected of places. I knew nothing about Gilbert’s life, and yet, towards the end of the book, I was rooting for her to find the balance she’d been craving for so long.
If you’ve ever suffered through a devastating loss, this book will feel close to your heart. If you’re still recovering, this will be like a guiding hand telling you you’re not alone. And if you’ve made peace with the trauma and moved ahead, the book will be a testament to your strength and how much you have overcome.
No matter what phase you’re at in your life, I believe every person should read this book at least once. It’s an ode to human strength and resilience, and a reminder that no matter how badly things fall apart, we can still pull up the broken pieces and start afresh.
3. Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune
Genre: Urban fantasy.
Wallace Price never bothered to be nice to people. He got this job done and made lots of money.
On most days, it was enough.
Until one day, he dies and is met by a Reaper at his own funeral. He’s shocked to see only four people turned up. And among those who did, not a single person had anything nice to say about him.
Shaken by this rude awakening, Wallace looks back at his life and wonders if anything he did was worthwhile at all. He’s so filled with regret, that he’s unable to let go.
Understanding his plight, his Reaper, Mei, takes him to a tea shop in a village instead of leading him directly to the afterlife. There, he meets Hugo, the keeper of the tea shop, his grandfather, Nelson, and their dog, Apollo.
Cooped in with this motley bunch, Wallace learns more about life than he ever did when he was alive. He understands what compassion means, and the strength it takes to lend another person a helping hand.
He learns of friendship and love, and finds that death wasn’t the end at all, but the start of a brand new chapter.
The only problem is that Wallace gets too attached to his new “life” in just a few days. But since he’s dead, he has to leave for the afterlife sooner rather than later. Will he be able to give up all that he’s gained to make the final journey?
That’s the story of this beautiful book, Under the Whispering Door by my favorite author, T.J. Klune.
Why I loved this book so much
The characters we meet here are amazing. My favorite was Mei, the cutest reaper, and Apollo, the best dog in fiction. Hugo, the love interest was charming and hot, as was Nelson, the sassy grandfather. The protagonist, Wallace has quite a journey throughout the book, starting from a grade-A asshole and ending up as someone strong enough to defy the laws of nature.
But it’s the side plots that have my heart.
After you read the book, the book’s dedication will make you choke up. It is dedicated to TJ’s ex-fiance, who died a few years ago. The dedication was only a few words long, but it was almost too much to take. If TJ is able to write about his lover’s death means he’s now strong enough to go through those emotions without breaking which is awesome.
Read this book if you need a shoulder to lean on. Better still, listen to the audiobook by Kirt Greaves. Sheer brilliance.
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