Books to Get You Out of a Reading Slump

I’ve been following the Top 5 Wednesday (T5W) group for a while and I’ve decided to try and do a few each month. This week’s is “Books to Get You Out of a Reading Slump.”

When I get in a slump, it’s never because there’s a lack of good books to read. Instead, my slumps happen because:

  • I’ve been busy with other things and I don’t have much time to read,
  • I’m too tired to commit to anything big, or,
  • I’m bored..

So, when I’m in a slump, I tend to turn to strategies to fix the problem, not books. But, the prompt is for books, so I’ll give you 5 books, and the strategies behind them.

  1. How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens

This book is an anthology of stories about immigration: being an immigrant, the aftermath of immigration, deciding to emigrate, hosting an immigrant, etc. It’s published by the independent publisher Upper Rubber Boots (URB), so the variety of stories and authors is a bit bolder than what you’d expect from the big publishers (indie presses often focus on content, not dollars). It’s science fiction, so the stories include aliens, other worlds, links between vastly different eras (real and imagined), etc. I picked this one because it’s topical given recent anti-immigrant non-sense and I really loved this collection.

I love reading anthologies when I’m in a slump because I can pick a favourite author, genre or topic and discover new things. If you don’t know what to read, why not read something with a lot of different little things to pick from?

  1. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Sometimes, when I’m in a slump, I’ll turn to an old favourite. I love HHGTG. I’ve read, watched, and listened to every version. I know it well enough that I can skip to my favourite bits or just read a few pages at a time with =out getting confused. It’s great for times when I want an easy read or I’m feeling too lazy to really focus.

Also, it’s pretty hilarious …Unless you’re one of those people who hates the book. Apparently, this is one of those books that people either love or hate. If you hate HHGTG, then pick up an old favourite – anything that’s an easy, relaxed read. If you’re in a slump, you may just need a familiar favourite that you don’t need to commit to.

  1. Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 3

I was tempted to suggest North End Love Songs, Milk and Honey, or even this page is black as excellent poetry books, but this is one gives you three books in one.

The Floodgate Poetry Series are edited by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum who happens to have his own poetry book, Ghost Gear, which is also an excellent choice. The reason I picked Floodgate Poetry Series Volume 3 is because  it’s the most recent of the series. Each volume is a collection of three chapbooks by different poets, so the reader is introduced to several different poets (five, in this collection, because two sections have poets who collaborated together) and their different perspectives on life.

Collections like this are great for the same reasons that anthologies are great – variety! But, you also get to see more than one poem by an author, so you get a good feel for their work. Had I only read one of the poems by Anders and Kai Carlson-Wee, I don’t think that I would have been that interested in their work, but the collection as a whole reads like a Ray Bradbury novel (think Dandelion Wine) and paints a picture of their life and surroundings. Once I’d finished their section, I realized that while no one poem stood out for me, the collection as a whole was quite atmospheric.

  1. Etta and Otto and Russell and James

This book is so beautiful, and sad, and lovely, and wonderful. It’s also a pretty quick and easy read. It tells the life story of Etta, Otto and Russell, who are now in their eighties. They’re lives seem forever stuck together through love, friendship and unrequited love. But, one day, Etta decides to walk to the ocean. On the way, she meets James, a wolf.

There’s something almost surreal and quiet about the writing. It was such a delight to read. And, though the end is sad, it’s incredibly beautiful.

It’s a good book to read in a slump because it’s so lovely, but also because it’s an easy read. Sometimes you just need to have a quick and relaxed read when you’re in a slump. Kids books, graphic novels, and even audiobooks (short ones!) are also excellent options.

  1. Wildwood

If you haven’t already read this book, why not? It’s a great story of a girl who’s trying to rescue her little brother from the wilds of an ancient and magical forest. Her classmate joins her and they both have to fight or work with a whole host of intelligent animals, while trying to defeat a magical woman intent on sacrificing the little brother. It’s fun, imaginative, adventurous, and filled with delightful art (done by the author’s wife). It’s also followed by 2 other books (I haven’t read the last one, yet).

Sometimes the best way to escape a slump is to escape reality. While the characters are from modern day Portland (?), most of the story is set in the kind of forest we all wished existed when we were children. It has heroes, villains, mystics, magic, and a few very worried parents.

***

If you want to see what other people suggested, look for blog posts, videos, etc. from the Top 5 Wednesday group (#T5W). And, if you have any recommendations, please let me know – I’m always open to book suggestions.

Unless it’s horror – get your creepy, nightmare inducing horror away from me! ;)

 

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