5 Types of Books to Read When You’re Super Busy

November 16, 2017 Book Lists 13

5 Types of Books to Read When You're Super Busy


I recently asked y’all on Facebook what your biggest reading problem is these days. One reader talked about having trouble “finding consistent time to read” and said “if a book doesn’t hook me right away, I have a hard time sticking with it until it gets going.” Man, can I ever relate to this! This has been my overwhelming reading issue all year long.

Whether you’re juggling a million holiday commitments and prep activities, trying to fit in reading wherever you can while caring for young children, working a demanding job, or are just going through life events that take up significant mental space, it can sometimes be hard to focus on reading even though you want to. And, even though escaping into a book might be just what your brain needs to de-stress.

In a post earlier this year, I talked about different ways to keep reading when life gets crazy. What I didn’t cover in that post was selecting the right types of books to read when you’re super busy. If I’ve learned anything from my reading this year, it’s that choosing the types of books your brain and emotions can handle at any given moment is critical to successful reading. Sometimes what works won’t be the serious, award-winning novels and that’s okay.

Here are 5 types of books to read when you’re super busy…

Fiction that Grabs You from the Very First Page

These types of books hook you immediately and keep you frantically turning the pages because you must find out what happens right. this. very. instant. These are the books that you can’t put down and force you to put other things aside because you just have to keep reading.

Recent Examples:

Engaging, Easy to Read Novels

While these books aren’t grippingly frantic like the pure page-turners of the previous category, they are still easy to sink into. They have engaging storylines and the language doesn’t require a lot of concentration (i.e. they “read easy”…which is key for reading through life chaos). These books definitely don’t feel like slogs even though some do deal with serious topics.

Recent Examples:

Essay Collections

Essay collections are totally underrated! Each essay can stand on it’s own, so you can easily pick up and put down the collections without losing your place in the story. These types of books also work great for me on audio, which is a great substitute when you don’t have a lot of time to read.

Recent Examples:

Light and/or Juicy Memoirs

Similar to essay collections, you don’t generally have to keep track of intricate storylines in these light memoirs. Plus, you’re probably getting some juicy gossip or mind-blowing “truth is stranger than fiction”-type stories. These tend to also be audio winners for me!

Recent Examples:

Re-Reads of Old Favorites

Re-reading old favorites can be incredibly comforting. And, you probably remember the general plot if not the details, meaning you don’t have to concentrate quite as hard!

Recent Examples: Honestly, I haven’t re-read a book in a few years. But, prior to that, I re-read one Pat Conroy novel (he’s an old favorite author for me) every year.

Do you ever feel so busy that you can’t concentrate on a book? What are your favorite types of books to read when you’re super busy?

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Choosing the right types of books to read when you're super busy is the key to continuing to read through your stress. Here are 5 types of books that work for me! #reading #bookreviewblog #book #bookish #bookworms #booklovers #booklist

13 Responses to “5 Types of Books to Read When You’re Super Busy”

  1. Susie | Novel Visits

    I’d never put much thought into types of books for busy times, but I think by instinct I try to match books with my mood. (Though there have been plenty of failures on that front this year!)

    It’s funny you mention re-reading. I almost never re-read books and I don’t like seeing movies twice either because once I know the story, I don’t want to be going back. However, I’ve been thinking about re-reading The Secret History. It came out 25 years ago (can you believe that?) and I’m still constantly telling people they need to read it and that it’s one of my all time favorite books. I want to re-read it and see if it still holds up. Part of me is afraid to do it, but I think I’m going to. Want to join me?

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I hear ya on the mood. I’m trying to be better about that.

      And see my comment on your post today about Secret History!

  2. Angela

    This is a great list! If I know I have a lot going on, or too many books out from the library that I need to read, I tend to look for the shortest book and start with that. I still get to read, which I love, but it’s not a huge commitment.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Yep – I agree. There’s something about seeing quick progress that makes it easier to read through the chaos.

  3. Kim@Time2Read

    Good list! Roanoke Girls has been on my radar for awhile, but I haven’t yet picked up a copy. I’ll have to do that soon.
    Another thing I like to do if there is a book that I really want to read, but it isn’t compelling enough for me to stick to (usually some nonfiction history) is to read a light fiction book at the same time. I pick up the nonfiction and read it when I have time, usually just before bed….but after a couple of days I give myself a break and pick up the nonfiction and read a few chapters. It seems to help my concentration when I go back to the nonfiction then next day.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Be ready if you pick up Roanoke Girls…it’s some kind of messed up!

      I have trouble reading more than 1 book at a time (other than an e-book and an audiobook), but I know lots of others who do that!

    • Rebecca Foster

      Yes, I was going to add short story collections — just read one story in a sitting whenever you have time — and novellas. I’m doing Novellas in November and they’re easy to race through.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I thought about putting those on this list, but I still have an odd relationship with them. Sometimes they don’t pull me in enough to keep me eager to keep picking them up.

  4. Tara

    I love this list, Sarah! I’ve not read all of these (surprisingly, since I get most of my recommendations from you!) so I have some to add to my list for these particular occasions. Way to go!

  5. renee

    I think I tend to gravitate to engaging types of reads when I’m busy, however, if I’m really into a story I can get lost in it even if it’s heave…hello A Little Life which I started during the hectic days of xmas and new years 2 years ago and I just stopped caring about the holidays at that point haha. I’ve heard SO many people loved The Royal We and now it’s on your list too, so I’m going to read it for sure! Great post Sarah!!

  6. Jenny @ Reading the End

    Aaaaaaaaaaand romance novels! They probably can be covered in the “light, easy to read” category but yeah, romance novels are my very favorite books to read when I’m feeling swamped. I have read A LOT of romance novels this year. :p

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