This image of pine trees (see what I’m going for there? Pine…pining) blanketed in fog is how I’m feeling about my reading lately. 🙁 I feel lost in the fog, pining for that book that will sweep me off my feet. I’ve started and stopped four books recently because they were just not sticking for me! I’m longing for the read that will make me swoon just as The Summer Before the War did a few summers ago.
Mind you, I am thoroughly and completely enjoying listening to East of Eden and I’m reluctant to stop the audio and switch to the paper version because it is just So Good, I am wanting to drive around and around so I can keep listening to it! Therefore I don’t want to break the special audiobook spell I’m under and risk replacing it with something that won’t be as great.
I am wondering too if maybe I’m forcing myself in reading only those I’ve placed on my various challenge lists? I feel like so many of those aren’t the ones I’m in the right kind of mood for right now? I’ve created a number of lists like my 20 Books of Summer and the Reading with Style Seasonal Challenges (found on Goodreads), and perhaps I’ve become too worried about focusing only on those listed and not giving myself the freedom to stray? I have read some good ones so far, but they are just that – good – but not exactly sweeping me off my feet.
Before, when I would feel this way, I would reach for someone I knew to be tried and true – just a couple of years ago I fell into another reading funk and reached for Bryce Courtenay… I knew I could count on his storytelling to fulfill my craving, and Whitethorn did exactly that. (Wow, that was way back in 2014!)
So then I started searching out books similar to The Summer Before the War and it led me down a small rabbit-hole to titles like, The Passing Bells, The Storms of War (which I actually bought for a mere $6 at Indigo recently!) and Behind the Scenes at the Museum. I’ve had wonderful success with WWI stories (I may just prefer those over WWII ones) and Atkinson’s book sounded similar to Life After Life, which was one I really enjoyed…
…and then I started thinking perhaps something chunky or maybe something like a Classic would help me reset? I do own both Middlemarch and The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot, but wasn’t 100% sure I was ready for something like those just yet?
By searching those out though, it led me to Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone and I also considered A.S. Byatt’s Possession. Those two are good and chunky so I thought maybe they would be successful reads!
And I have to say The Moonstone was coming close to being the clear winner for me – it was checking off so many of the boxes I felt were fitting my mood right now – a Classic, definitely chunky, and a mystery usually fits me very well. This would be a great historical mystery to boot! It’s also long been languishing on my shelf. But then I got to thinking and remembering a time so long ago when I was in a really deep slump, a (now long ago and former) co-worker recommended Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley series. As soon as I started reading that (I started at #8) I was hooked and my reading slump was banished! So I thought, why not? Why not go back to an Inspector Lynley I haven’t read yet? This brought me to the one right before I began reading – #7, Playing for The Ashes. I started reading yesterday and so far so good, and oh! Lynley still has his great love, Helen, by his side.
So this is what I finally settled on to read! Not a worry about feeling like I “should” be reading something else – I’m reclaiming reading what I want, when I want! But, I’ll admit to a slight pang because after I started reading Playing For The Ashes, a new book was just released and it’s one I’ve had my eye on….a chunky saga, so I might be going right into it after I finish Elizabeth George. 😉 That one is The Most Fun We Ever Had by debut novelist, Claire Lombardo.
I also put on hold at the library, Berta Isla by Javier Marias because it looks like a great and sweeping epic too! I hope it arrives soon!
Oooh! I just received notification from Netgalley (leave me alone okay! It’s a problem, I’ve never apologized for it before! 🙂 ) that I’ve been given access to Dragon Lady by Louisa Treger. Isn’t this a gorgeous cover? And listen to how right up my alley this sounds!:
‘A daring blend of romance, crime and history, and an intelligent exposé of the inherent injustice and consequences of all forms of oppression’ Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions
Opening with the shooting of Lady Virginia ‘Ginie’ Courtauld in her tranquil garden in 1950s Rhodesia, The Dragon Lady tells Ginie’s extraordinary story, so called for the exotic tattoo snaking up her leg.
Thank you for reading my ramble about my reading slump! 😉 It has been something occupying my brain for what feels like forever recently, but I’m happy to be resetting my reading. I think by casting everything I thought I wanted to read to the side and resorting to free-range-reading will help me out considerably! How do you reset your reading? Get out of a slump?
I have been in a bit of a slump the past couple of months as well. I’m glad your out of yours! I empathize with that start and stop process of trying to find your next good read. Isn’t it an odd sensation, when there are so many books that we know we might like to read but don’t feel like reading at a certain moment? I think I’ve broken my slump by reading some narrative non-fiction, which is a genre I haven’t read for a very long time!
I found a few narrative NF that caught my eye too Jenna! I may turn to those to try and keep on my reading boost. Resetting was a good step to take. May still need that extra boost/reset. 😉