I am in a horrible reading slump. All voracious readers experience this from time to time. Life gets busy, work gets hard and all of a sudden reading time turns into binge watching Pretty Little Liars on Netflix. When you (by which I obviously mean me) are in a reading slump everything in the to be read pile seems wrong and there’s nothing you want to check out from the library. You start salivating over books that haven’t even been published yet, knowing full well in your heart that there are literally millions of perfectly good already-published books out there, many of which you already own because you cannot resist used book stores.
Is this ringing true with anyone around here? Of course it is. The internet is full of memes that express what happens when the bookish experience a slump. Lots of whining around, like the entirety of this post so far, is what it amounts to. Fear not, I plan to stop soon, because what a lifetime of being a reader has taught me is that there’s only one tried-and-true way to get over a reading slump:
Read your faves again.
It just so happens that I have been in a reading slump as of late (could you tell?) which fortuitously corresponds with Nicole Brinkley’s suggestion on Twitter that we re-read some favorites in June. Full disclosure: I having been in such a slump that I haven’t actually done this yet, but I pulled out a pile today and here’s my picks for #junerereads that might help jump start my passion for reading again:
Books that might inspire me to write (because as luck would have it I also have writer’s block):
Harry Potter (1-7), by J.K. Rowling. Look, you all know everything there is to know about Harry Potter, so I’m not even going to say anything here, other than that I haven’t reread any of these books for years. I’m really interested in them from a craft perspective as I head into the second half of my WIP.
A Great and Terrible Beauty, by Libba Bray. These books are so strange and completely creepy. It’s been a long time since I revisited Gemma Doyle and her friends at Spence Academy. Again, from a craft perspective, these books are incredibly captivating and the spooky factor is something worth looking at again.
A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy—jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.
Books I love to revisit time and again:
Wise Child and Juniper, by Monica Furlong. These are some of my absolute favorite books of all time. They’re a perfect example of historical fantasy. I have probably read them both dozens of times each. I didn’t even know that Furlong wrote a third book, Colman, but I picked it up at the used book store a few months ago, so maybe re-reading Wise Child and Juniper might help me get out of the slump.
In a remote Scottish village, nine-year-old Wise Child is taken in by Juniper, a healer and sorceress. Then Wise Child’s mother, Maeve, a black witch, reappears. In choosing between Maeve and Juniper, Wise Child discovers the extent of her supernatural powers—and her true loyalties.
The Darkangel Trilogy, by Meredith Ann Pierce. I try to write a post about this series every few months because I love it so much and everyone I recommend it to ends up loving it as well, but my words always fall flat. Maybe if I re-read them I’ll finally write that post!
Aeriel is kidnapped by the darkangel, a black-winged vampyre of astounding beauty and youth. In his castle keep, she serves his 13 wives, wraiths whose souls he stole. She must kill him before his next marriage and comes into full power, but is captivated by his magnificent beauty and inner spark of goodness. Will she choose to save humanity or his soul?
The Dragonriders of Pern, by Anne McCaffrey. Seriously, have you read any Pern books? They’re incredibly re-readable. Dragons, time travel, a mix of sci-fi and fantasy. Pern books are comforting classics and it might feel great to revisit them.
Books I’d like to recommend:
There are some books I read and enjoyed before we started Coven Book Club that I probably would have recommended at the time. I like to write my recommendations right after I read something (or reread it as the case may be), so I’d like to revisit these books to consider writing recommendations:
The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield. Everybody I know who’s read this book loves it, but I find that not everyone’s heard of it.
Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father’s antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain’s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history.
The Tiger’s Wife, by Tea Obreht. We’ve talked over doing this for a Coven Read a few times and it’s been a while since I read it, but I was blown away by it the first time I read it.
In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets hidden in the landscape itself.
Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman. I love this book, and I’ve read it a few times, but I know that I’d like to write a recommendation for it soon, as well as hosting a live tweet of the film (which is nothing like the book).
When the beautiful and precocious sisters Sally and Gillian Owens are orphaned at a young age, they are taken to a small Massachusetts town to be raised by their eccentric aunts, who happen to dwell in the darkest, eeriest house in town. As they become more aware of their aunts’ mysterious and sometimes frightening powers — and as their own powers begin to surface — the sisters grow determined to escape their strange upbringing by blending into “normal” society.
Wish me luck, all. A reading slump is no joke, but hopefully with my pile of #junerereads I’ll be back on track before I know it. What books are your favorite rereads? Or does anybody have any other ideas about how I might get out of this slump?