Ever since quarantine began, I have been reading much at a much more slower pace than usual. Books that would usual take me 4 days to read have taken me up to two weeks to read. I just haven’t felt that magical spark to read lately and at this point, I really want to get back into my reading groove. Considering the state of things and the issues finally being discussed by the world and the country I’m in regarding racism and discrimination, this is really not much of an issue. But reading is the way that I arm myself in these discussions. The Knowledge!!! The Facts!!! The Viewpoints!!! Which is why I have to get myself out of this slump! Because of this, I decided to use all the tricks I have used in the past to get back into reading regularly and I’m here to share them with you, along with some books I plan on reading to go along with them.
Take a break
The month of June itself was probably just one big break for me in terms of reading. If you also find that cracking open a book has become a bit of a chore, take a few days or a week or a month to do something different and come back to it with a fresh mind.
Reread a favorite book
Rereading a favorite book is like visiting an old friend. For the most part, you know what you are getting into and you get to experience it with a different mindset than when you first read it. I’m planning on reading Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand this month, a 5-star book I read last year about a young girl dealing with depression who retreats to her fantastical world of Everwood with her cousins. I really loved the way the author handled some tough subjects and I am still restraining myself from buying a bunch of copies and forcing them on my younger cousins. I believe this is also a YA book, but leans more towards a younger audience.
Read a middle grade book
Books intended for middle grade readers tend to pluck at my heartstrings way more than YA and adult books do. I think we also all have that book (or books) that we read as a kid that impacted us in some way and continues to hold a special place in our hearts. This reading slump definitely calls for me to actually get to those books. A couple of my special childhood favorites are Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan, probably the first book I ever read featuring a character that was Mexican like me and made me feel so seen, and The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages, a book that elicits strong feelings of nostalgia even though I can’t recall the plot. My mom also gifted me with a newer middle grade book several months ago, Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper, and I want to finally get to it.
Read a graphic novel
Every now and then, I will read a graphic novel to “reset” my reading. Reading a book that is a different format like this will provide some variety to your TBR and are typically much faster reads (so it feels like you are getting something done). I currently have two graphic novels checked out through my library online. They are both memoirs too, which I love reading in graphic form because they make reading about a person you may not know so much easier to get invested in.
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei is a graphic memoir about the author/actor/activist’s experience being imprisoned at American concentration camps during WWII. When I was a child, my parents took my brother and I to Manzanar in California, where 120,000 Japanese Americans and others were imprisoned. It is an experience that stayed with me and I am interested in learning more about this horrific era in American history (just like every era of American history to be honest).
Gender Queer is a graphic novel memoir by Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns. I’m always on the search for more gender queer stories so I’m super excited to jump into this one.
Listen to an audiobook
I’m a huge proponent of the fact that listening to audiobooks is just as great as reading physically. Audiobooks help me to concentrate when I’m having trouble with physical books. Plus, I like multitasking! Because of this, I almost always have an audiobook on deck through my library’s Libby app. I just started listening to Locking Up Our Own by James Forman Jr., which is a nonfiction book about America’s criminal justice system and the disproportionate impact that it has on people of color. I have read similar books before, but I like reading multiple viewpoints so I can get a fuller picture of an issue I may not experience myself. So far, it’s an easy to understand book that is helping me learn more about this complex and absolutely infuriating topic.
What about you?
Do you have any books that fall under these categories that you are excited about reading? Any rereads or favorite childhood books that you want to get to soon? Let me know in the comments!