Mood Reading: How to Pick a Book for How You Feel

I pride myself on being a mood reader. I follow a lot of bookstagrammers who can set a goal list for the month and just read those books. A book club I’m a part of sets a theme per month, and I couldn’t even adhere to that. One month, our theme was “True” (think true stories, memoirs, etc.) and I told them, “I was true to myself and read what I wanted to read.” Luckily, they all got a chuckle out of that. In the midst of this pandemic and all the solitude, I’ve take to reading some of my favorite books from when I was growing up. #throwback

As a self proclaimed mood reader, I’m always happy to help a friend or family member pick the perfect book for how they’re feeling. The other day, a girlfriend asked me to pick between two of my favorite books: Gone Girl and Where the Crawdads Sing. First of all, rude. How are you supposed to pick between two fantastic books? Secondly, get both. However, my question to her was “How do you feel?” Her goal was to read something that kept her engaged but wasn’t too all-consuming. Like me, it can be difficult for her to separate from work, especially as she is working where she lives now. Thus, I recommended Where the Crawdads Sing.

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Mood Reading: How to Pick Your Book

The whole point of mood reading is just to read what you’d like for how you feel. Thus, to start, you must determine how you feel. This is not “how you want to feel” because that puts a lot of pressure on the book. You are in control of your own emotions.

Once you know how you feel, consult the lists below! It’s super simple to embrace the concept of mood reading once you are more in tune with your feelings. It sounds mushy, but it’s rewarding.

Mood: “I need an escape.”

Now, this mood can go a few different ways. You could select a book with a really intricate plot. You could do a throwback to a book you read when you were younger (like I’ve been doing). You could opt for a book set in a really exotic location (since none of us are traveling right now).

Artemis – Andy Weir
Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
The Other Boleyn Girl – Philippa Gregory
Oil & Marble – Stephanie Storey

Mood: “I need to feel empowered.”

I don’t do well with motivational videos for the most part. They always come across as too preachy. These people don’t know my life, so why are they telling me what to do? What does resonate with me is empowering books. Tell me your story and tell me that I can be successful too.

Untamed – Glennon Doyle
Carry On, Warrior – Glennon Doyle
You Are A Badass – Jen Sincero *Looks like Jen Sincero has another book coming out this December and I am PUMPED.
Wild – Cheryl Strayed
Girl, Stop Apologizing – Rachel Hollis

Mood: “I need a good cry.”

Don’t you ever feel like this? Sometimes your feelings just get big and bottled up and you just need a reason to cry. Most people I know turn to a movie (P.S. I Love You comes to mind), but you can also get the same kind of feeling from a book!

The Supreme Macaroni Company – Adriana Trigiani
Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
13 Reasons Why – Jay Asher
Our Town – Thornton Wilder

CAUSEBOX | A Membership That Matters

Mood: “I want to learn something.”

Yes, this can be a mood! I can have days where I feel like I’m just doing and mindlessly staring at a computer screen or TV. Sometimes I do want to learn something or work my brain in a different way.

Living Well, Spending Less – Ruth Soukup
Now, Discover Your Strengths *The quiz does cost extra.
Dan Brown’s books about Robert Langdon

Note: I know that the Robert Langdon books are not non-fiction. However, it is researched well so there are facts in there, especially for art and/or history fans. You can learn something new.

Mood: “I want to feel like a kid again.”

I’ve been sitting in this mood a good bit recently. I’ve allowed myself to reread some books from past years (and my childhood) and I love it! Books from when you were younger just take you back.

Harry Potter
The Chronicles of Narnia
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Mood: “I’m overwhelmed.”

This is also a fairly common mood right now. Work can get overwhelming. Maybe you’re home and teaching your kids while also trying to work full time. NO ONE BLAMES YOU FOR BEING OVERWHELMED. When I’m overwhelmed, I need to find something to focus my mind elsewhere. Nothing fluffy or froufrou here.

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
The Good Girl – Mary Kubica
The Couple Next Door – Shari Lapena
The Woman in the Window – AJ Finn
Recursion – Blake Crouch

Let me know if I missed a mood you frequent. Seriously, nothing brings me more joy than helping people find amazing books. Well, organization and planning may make me happier, but I still really love helping others embrace mood reading.

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