Out of the Box Reading Recommendations

The summer months are the perfect time to relax on the beach, catch a few rays on the pontoon, or simply enjoy the sun from a city balcony. With the warm weather comes longer days, and more hours to put our creative minds to use.

What better way to kick back and relax this summer than with a book (or ten) that will help us to fuel our creative fire or inspire us to work on a creative side venture?

Try leaving your comfort zone and read some of our out of the box reading recommendations to get your creative juices flowing.

Comic books.

Despite what you may be thinking, comic books aren’t just for kids, and they aren’t just the superhero stories we remember and love from our youth. Comic books cover dynamic, unique, and complex themes on just about every topic you can think of.

You can purchase comics by the individual issue, or read several comics at a time when the series (if it’s successful enough) comes out in Trade Paperback form. Since they’re relatively quick to read, and lend themselves to being read in smaller chunks, comics are great for consuming during the lunch hour, on public transit, or when you need a small jolt of creativity. Since the artwork often carries the action of the comic, look for ones that appeal to you aesthetically.


Not sure where to start? Check out Panels.net, Book Riot’s comics-focused sister site for recommendations and other goodies.


Japan’s ultra-popular comic format. Categories cover topics appropriate for varying ages, and the black and white, often pleasantly-chaotic artwork is read from right to left. Most large book-sellers will have a section tailored specifically to Manga. The funnest way to pick out a volume to read? Go browse the shelves and see what artwork appeals to you.

The wide array of genres can be a little overwhelming to someone new to the format, so you may want to reference a genre guide like this one before making a selection.

Experimental or non-traditional poetry. 

Think poetry is too complicated, whimsical, or outdated to spend much time with? Think again. Countless poets our age are connecting with readers right now using inventive poetry techniques. Poetry is now more accessible than ever, and sometimes it’s exactly what we need to read to connect with our inner creative spirit.

Check out Steve Roggenbuck or Sara June Woods for a taste of inventive and inspiring poetry.

Non-fiction on the creative process. 

Sometimes pursuing a creative passion can be so overwhelming that it stops us in our tracks. Artists, writers, and other creatives recognize these creative blocks, and there are several books on craft and the creative process out there to guide us.

READ MORE  The World Needs More Love Letters

Feel unmotivated, uninspired, or just plain stumped? Try reading Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art.

Read outside of your comfort zone.

Think you dislike Westerns, but have never actually read one? Skip the Historical Fiction section of the library because it’s just not for you? Challenge yourself to read something you wouldn’t normally gravitate toward. You might be surprised by how stepping outside of your comfort zone can fuel your creative fire.

Sometimes the best way to stoke the creative fire is to step outside of our comfort zones. Reading books in unique formats or unfamiliar genres can help us to expand our literary horizons, and ultimately fuel the creative spirit.