Mood Reading: What It Is & Genre Recommendations by Mood

Are you a mood reader, or do you prefer to follow a TBR list (to-be-read list)? Maybe you do both! Here’s a little guide on what mood reading is, plus some book genre recommendations for certain moods (to help you decide what to read).

mood reading and book genre recommendations by mood

What is mood reading?

Mood reading is what it sounds like: it’s a type of reading method where you decide what to read based on your current mood. Sometimes, that means reading multiple books at once. Mood readers might choose to read a certain genre because it will match well with how they’re feeling at that moment.

Mood reading is the opposite of TBR list reading, which focuses on following a predetermined to-be-read list or TBR pile (based on any number of factors, such as a book you have to read for book club, a reading challenge, book recommendations from friends, or ARC (advanced reader copy) books you need to read before the publication date).

There is nothing wrong with either method! They’re both absolutely valid reading habits. I personally like to do a combination of both.

stack of books on a white book cart with a coffee mug

How does mood affect a reader?

Your mood can absolutely affect you as a reader! If your mood and your current read are at odds, your enjoyment of that read will likely suffer, and you could end up feeling frustrated.

For example, if you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, you’ll likely have trouble staying focused when reading a complex story. In that case, it would be better to read something lighter, like a young adult book, graphic novel, light romance, or light contemporary fiction novel.

Depending on the person, a novel that whisks you away to a faraway place (like a fantasy or science fiction) may or may not also be a good choice. Nothing wrong with a little mental escape!

On the flip side, if you’re feeling at ease and curious, it might be a perfect time to tackle a classic tome or scientific nonfiction book. You’ll be more likely to absorb what you read and better able to digest it mentally.

How to Get Into the Mood to Read

There are some things you can do to help you settle in and get into a relaxed reading mood. That way, you’ll be more focused and ready to dive into your book.

Reading Location

Settle in to your favorite reading spot in a quiet area, such as a comfy chair or reading nook. Grab a blanket if it’s cold!

To set the ambience even more, stream an ASMR reading room video on your TV or laptop in the background. They range from fireplace videos (complete with crackling fire sounds) to cozy ancient libraries on a rainy evening.

book cart with piles of books next to a comfy reading chair

Reduced Distractions

The number one worst reading distraction: cell phones! Put your phone on silent, or – better yet – put it in another room so it won’t distract you from reading.

You’ll enjoy your reading experience more if you aren’t constantly interrupted by text notifications or social media alerts.

Reading Snacks & Drinks

It can help to have some reading snacks handy to keep you energized while you read! Here are some ideas:

  • popcorn
  • dark chocolate (or milk chocolate – whatever you prefer!)
  • fruit
  • granola bars
  • cheese & crackers
  • nuts
  • brownies or cookies (nothing wrong with a treat!)

Staying hydrated is important, too! Grab some water to set beside you, and/or your favorite drink, such as tea, coffee, hot chocolate, seltzers, wine, etc. Whatever you like!

reading snacks and tea in a vintage teacup next to a yellow hardcover edition of Little Women

Book Genre Recommendations by Mood

And now, here are some recommendations for different genres to try reading, based on your mood! These are just general recommendations – each book within a genre will vary.

  • Happy: anything – whatever feels right to you!
  • Sad: Romance or Upbeat Contemporary Fiction
  • Contemplative: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Literary Fiction, or Non-Fiction
  • Bored: Mystery/Thriller or Horror
  • Relaxed: Classic Literature, Historical Fiction, or Memoir
  • Overwhelmed: Children’s Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, or Short Stories

Cozy fantasy books and cozy mystery books are also great genres for a variety of different moods!

If you decide you aren’t feeling a book after a little while, you can just put it down and start another one. Life’s too short to read books you don’t find interesting!

Whichever reading method you prefer, I hope you at least give mood reading a shot! It’s such a great feeling when your mood and your current read perfectly align. 🙂

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