HomeFeaturesBook ListsGreat Reads for When It's Hard to Concentrate

Great Reads for When It’s Hard to Concentrate

Great Reads for When it's Hard to Concentrate

I know I’m not alone when I say I am having a hard time concentrating on my reading lately. Some people are able to dive right into their reading worlds and escape during times of stress. But for me, I find myself needing to force my mind to stay focused, my attention ultimately drifts, I get lost, I get frustrated with the read, and eventually enter the dreaded reading slump.

2020 is a bastard of a year, but I find myself in this position from time to time on a good year. So I thought I would pass along some of my best suggestions for excellent reads that don’t require a lot of attention and are easy to escape into.

I’ve also attached my Summer Reading playlist because it is so calming, peaceful, and can help distract and ease an anxious mind.

Daisy Jones & the Six

Daisy Jones & the Six book coverWritten by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Published by Ballantine Books

Not only does Taylor Jenkins Reid have such an incredible way with words and sentence structure that easily flows for the reader, but she writes with a subtle, pulsing intensity that has you compulsively turning the pages to read what happens next. Of her great catalogue I picked Daisy Jones for this list because it has all the wonderful aspects of a TJR book, but the short, quick chapters make this a fast and easy read. (I’m told it is also an amazing cast audiobook.)

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Flatshare

The Flatshare book coverWritten by Beth O’Leary

Published by Flatiron Books

A charming rom-com filled with heart, delightful compelling characters, that is grounded in believable realties. I did struggle with one small aspect of the book, that you can see in the review, but it definitely doesn’t take away from the whole and for most people it will be no big deal. Ultimately this is intelligent romance at it’s finest and a great pick for someone looking for a light romance.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The House in the Cerulean Sea

The House in the Cerulean Sea book coverWritten by TJ Klune

Published by Tor Books

This gentle, charming, sweet, heart touching and inclusive little story is the feel good book with incredible depth that you need in 2020. A guaranteed mood booster, this is the one story on the list that I know will be a cure for a bad day or reading slump or difficult time. It’s just a gem and the characters will steal your heart.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

My Lady Jane

My Lady Jane book coverWritten by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Published by HarperTeen

If you want to laugh out loud (and why not, it’s not like you can go anywhere in public and be embarrassed by this!) then pick up this awesome YA. Packed with humour, witty banter, romance, castles, talking horses, and an incredible likeable heroine – you’ll be churning through the pages in record time.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society book coverWritten by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

Published by Dial Press

In a similar style to Daisy Jones & the Six, this touching story is told through a correspondence of letters. Centring around Europe at the very end of WWII, this may seem a heavy topic but don’t be dismayed. This story is ultimately full of beloved, eccentric characters, humour, and so much warmth and heart. A book for lovers of books and historical romances – this is one of my all time favourite reads.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Writers & Lovers

Writers & Lovers book coverWritten by Lily King

Published by Grove Press

This novel took me completely by surprise this year, specifically Lily King’s stripped down writing and sentence structure which at first I found a bit off-putting but quickly became compulsively readable. This is such a smart book, with an incredibly real & flawed main character that I know many people can relate to some part of her journey to becoming an “adult”. A great introspection to the writing process and the life of a creator, this story discusses grief, relationships, friendships, creative spirit and ultimately hope, confidence, and self resiliency. One of my favourites of 2020.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Sugar Queen

The Sugar Queen book coverWritten by Sarah Addison Allen

Published by Bantam

I don’t think there is a list I’ve made that doesn’t include a Sarah Addison Allen novel. She simply has a way of combining my personal favourite literary elements of magic, romance, smart generations of women, with southern charm and food. I am hard pressed to pick a favourite, as Garden Spells or The Girl Who Chased the Moon would also be excellent for this list, but The Sugar Queen is the literary combination of chocolates & romance novels … literarily. This is our main character’s ultimate hobby, until she finds an unexpected visitor in her reading spot!

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Bringing Down the Duke

Bringing Down the Duke book coverWritten by Evie Dunmore

Published by Berkley Books

If you want regency romance, and I mean steamy romance, then this will the book for you. Romance novels are my go to when I’m in a reading slump or cannot concentrate. I especially enjoy a romance that can ground itself in realities, and in this case centring around women’s suffrage and women’s struggles to enter Oxford and higher education. If you like arrogant Mr. Darcy types and witty, stubborn leading ladies – you’ll love this pairing.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

A Curse So Dark and Lonely book coverWritten by Brigid Kemmerer

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing

I had to include this Beauty and the Beast YA retelling because it is simply one of my favourite YA reads! It isn’t necessarily “deep” or “profound” but it is so much fun to read and I flew through this book! Harper, our main character, is one of the most likeable, strong YA heroines I’ve read, the supporting characters are so well developed, and the retelling breathes new life into a very classic (and maybe overdone!) story.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Suitors and Sabotage

Suitors and Sabotage book coverWritten by Cindy Anstey

Published by Square Fish

I guess there is just something about a good a regency romance to distract and take your cares away – which is why I have two on this list. But where Bringing Down the Duke is steamy and takes on real historical issues – Suitors and Sabotage is a combination of a sweet, light romance, humour, and a whodunnit mystery. There is enough brevity and depth to the characters to prevent the saccharine and ridiculous. Just an all around plunky, fun read full of misadventure & mishap humour.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org


Any purchases made via retailer links provided in this article may result in this site receiving a share of that sale.

Welcome to And other tales. The little corner of the interweb where we don’t count cups of coffee, believe cancelling plans to stay home & read is just good life advice, refuse to acknowledge the calories in baked goods and will never judge you on the number of marshmallows in your hot chocolate or the size of your TBR piles. Curl up, get comfy and click through for book reviews, life chats, playlists, vegan & gluten free baking recipes, gift guides and more.

Newest Articles