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Sunday, July 16, 2017

sometimes i read and i don't feel a thing

(photo by me.)


(Also entitled: ideas for getting out of a reading slump [when books have let you down] or a book hangover [when books have heightened your expectations way too much]. Maybe it's for the times when your brain is too crowded with important life stuff and reading feels like a job instead of escaping, too.)

The thing is I read mainly because I want to feel things. I want to feel sad, happy, confused, mad, hopeful, whatever the story makes me feel. I want to get excited about amazing writing. Emotional reading (if that's even what you call it) should be a given, yeah? Except that's not how the world works, so I have a list which I made last time (actually recently) I felt meh about every novel I picked up. It's:

a small list of the kinds of books to try reading when you don't really feel like reading
(and maybe [hopefully] at least one of them will make you feel excited about reading once more)
 
X Re-read a favourite book. Either the best book you read in 2016 or you own childhood classic. The point is you're reading something you know you'll love, even if you already know the story inside out. Your faith in great literature will be restored. Also, reading a favourite book is like a hug, really. (i.e. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery, The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock) 
O Read the sequel to a book you really liked. This is like a welcome home party where you snuggle up in bed with tea or lie on the grass trying not get eaten by mosquitoes; take it fast or slow. There's less pressure on you to learn about a whole new world and cast of characters, and, I think, you already trust the author to deliver a wonderful story. (i.e. Gemina by Amie Kaufman + Jay Kristoff, Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson) 
X Ask a friend or family member or bookshop owner or librarian for a recommendation. (Ask anyone really.) Sometimes deciding on your next book is too much, so why not take a chance on someone else's ideas? Especially if they know you well, they'll know the kinds of books you like to read or they'll help you discover something new. Also, you can discuss the book when you've finished which can be great fun (depending how opinionated you are). (i.e. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkein)
O Read a biography/memoir/autobiography about or by someone who interests you. The few times I've read biographical books I found them to be quite rewarding. Although it might be hard to get through, at the end, you can feel knowledgeable or inspired or proud. Learning, people, is always a good idea. Also, real people's lives can crazily be as interesting as fiction. (i.e. Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature by Linda Lear)
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So tell me this: do you ever feel down about reading and what helps you get the happiness back?