Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Unsettled Reader

I think I'm in my very first reading slump of the new year, and it's entirely too early for that, in my opinion. After Great Expectations I expected to jump into Clown Girl, but I'm finding it tough going. Understand, it's not the book's fault...just my unpredictable mood. Last night I went trolling for books in the portion of my "to be read" pile that lives in the corner of the kitchen.* Sometimes I pick my next read very specifically, and other times I just snap up a book at random and start reading. Other times a book seems to call to me. I can hear its little squeaky voice crying out from under its compadres stacked here and there.

This time I got nothin'.

I have no idea what I want to read. The four books I snatched out of the TBR to contemplate last night (contemplate = pet for signs of good reading vibes) are Dreams from My Father, by Barack Obama; 1001 Nights of Snow Fall, by Bill Willingham; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon; A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson.

I usually do well to bust a slump by reading non-fiction, and I love me some Barack Obama, so that one sounds like a good bet. On the other hand, A Walk in the Woods is humorous non-fiction, and that usually helps me along. On the other other hand, a graphic novel usually does the trick, and it's been a while since I read anything related to my beloved Fables, so 1001 Nights of Snowfall seems like a logical choice. And even though I'm out of hands, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is supposed to be GREAT fiction, and it's about comics, so I get a vicarious dose of the graphic arts in a fine novel. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.

Or maybe I'll opt for a really short read and knock out The Bluest Eye for my Febrary Year of Reading Dangerously book.

Any recommendations? They can be related to the books I've picked or something completely different.

*Note: this picture is slightly misleading since there are a bunch of books in there that I've already read, but the other night I culled the already-reads, restacked, and reboxed some of the unreads. Yes, the boxes are full of unread books, too.


  1. Bryson. Hands down. :)

  2. Bryson is so hilarious. I think that sounds like a good choice for this time of year when life itself can feel like a 'slump'.

  3. 1001 Nights of Snow Fall by Bill Willingham!!!!!

    It is SO good. Amazing even. The story is great, the artwork even better than usual, I would think it sure to please. And I have long been wanting to hear what you thought of it.

    Of course, I loved A Walk in the Woods. And Kavalier and Clay. I think you would love that one. In fact, for you, I'd pick K&C over Bryson. But, knowing YOU, I'd pick Fables over them all. :)

  4. I think Morrison is the way to go.

  5. Bryso in the lead with 2 votes, 1 for Willingham, 1 for Morrison, and one for Obama! Y'all are not helping at ALL! LOL

    Keep those votes a'comin'.

    Heatheroo, I flipped through 1001 Nights last night and it looks delicious! I haven't yet read several in the series (Arabian Nights, Wolves, etc.) but since this one is an offshoot I don't feel too bad about going out of order.

  6. And look at all those typos of mine. Ugg!

  7. Hmm...I absolutely adored Kavalier & Clay (and chances are you will too), but in my experience, picking up a chunkster when experiencing a reading slump is a bad idea. If I feel like I'm getting nowhere with my reading, a huge book will make me impatient.

    On the other hand, like you said a graphic novel often does the trick, so even though I haven't read that one volume of Fables yet, I'm voting for it.

  8. I'm breaking out of my big reading slump with some non-fic as well; some lit crit and, well, I have to admit, some cookbooks.
    My husband made me feel better by pointing out that a study has said the last full week of January is the most depressed time of year. So I blame it on January!

  9. I didn't care too much for the Bryson book (that's why you wound up with it!), so I vote for the Obama book.

  10. I had a pretty bad reading slump last fall -it was very disturbing! It usually happens when there are too many other things on my mind, and I simply can't focus the attention I need to on a book.

    I would pick some comfort reading - a genre you know always interests you, maybe even a re-read of something well loved. Perhaps the Kavalier and Clay might be a good bet...

    Wishing you a great night of reading!

  11. Girl, I know how you feel. I've been there and everyone is different when it comes to coming out of it. Sometimes nothing seems right. Hang in there though because the reading is even better coming out of the slump. I just read People of the Book (review coming) and loved it!

  12. K & C might be my favorite book ever, although I love Bryson as well. I just finished reading Inheritance of Loss, which I really enjoyed. I have a link to it on the book list on my blog.

  13. Oh I hate the slumps, but you can't avoid them. I'd go for the Bryson myself as I am always thankful to any writing that makes me laugh. But I always need to choose something really short as well when I'm in that mood, as simply getting sucked into a book and drawn through to the end is important. Hang on in there! This too shall pass.

  14. Good choice, Nymeth! I'm with you...a chunkster can really screw up my reading if I'm already dragging around.

    Melanie, I'm going to blame it on January, too!!! Great idea. And, hey, cookbooks are a great idea. Since I joined I use that for mood alteration, too. hehe

    LOL, thanks, Les! I Am Legend arrived yesterday, by the way. ;)

    Ravenous Reader, comfort reads are a good bet. I even turn to children's or YA lit sometimes. Things I really enjoyed when I was younger. I have a couple of Joan Aiken books lurking around that I owe a re-read soon.

    Kristy, I can't WAIT to read your People of the Book review!

    Lu, I've heard so much about The Inheritance of Loss over the years, but I have no idea what it's about! Isn't it weird how that happens. I'll check it out. And Kavalier and Clay just got bumped up another notch because of your recommendation.

    Thanks, Litlove! Short and funny are usually good bets for me too. I seriously thought about picking up Naked, by David Sedaris (makes me cry I laugh so hard), but I'm saving it for a slump emergency.

  15. Kavalier & Clay, just do it, you'll thank me right after Michael Chabon.


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