For the last couple of weeks, a lot of us have been transitioning from a normal routine to a work at home routine. We have had to try to find new ways to balance our time and manage to get everything done. The world is changing and being in quarantine is causing lots of anxiety and confusion. I have seen a lot of people (myself included) say they feel like they are in a reading slump or have lost all enthusiasm for reading!
So, to combat this reading slump I have put together a list of 10 books (all of which I realized I rated as 5 stars) that might help you escape for a little while and get out of a reading slump. These are all books that I love and I hope you will love too. Try a new read, find the book you need, and possibly a new favorite.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis —Technically you can count this as 7 books, but they are great stories set in the world of Narnia. What I love most about these books is that they are all about Narnia but in different times throughout its history. Some characters repeat and come back to embark on another journey, but for the most part, they become the history in the next book. These are fun to read and C.S. Lewis has a great writing style that is sure to suck you in. When I finished reading these for the first time I immediately wanted to turn to the beginning and start again.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens — This book is amazing and has been on the best seller list for 82 weeks! This book follows Kya Clark, also known as Marsh Girl, as she survives on her own in the marshes of Louisiana from a young age. When the star athlete of the town is found dead, all eyes turn to Kya as a suspect. This is a beautiful story of love, nature, friendship and independence all wrapped into one. When I read this for the first time, I felt absolutely transported to the marshes and the beauty that Kya (and Delia Owens) created. It was vivid and raw. The murder mystery was intriguing and realistic. The entire time I read this I found myself connecting to her quiet way of life and her deep, delicate connections to nature. This is definitely going to be a reread soon.
Tales from the Perilous Realm by J.R.R. Tolkien — When this book crossed paths when mine, I was definitely in a rut. I had been reading books that I couldn’t really get into or feel a connection to. It was mundane and boring. This book helped me reconnect to the fantasy side of my reading and truly see what a writing genius J.R.R. Tolkien was. This book has multiple short stories that are wildly different but all very entertaining. The stories made me laugh, and choke up, and feel adventurous. I love reading short stories when I get stuck because it doesn’t feel like as much of a commitment and it is something that I can read and then move on from. But these tales have yet to leave my heart.
The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason — This book was first published in 1902 so the writing style is a little bit different. But my goodness, I fell in love with this book. Before sailing off to war in Africa, Harry Feversham quits his regiment to marry his fiancee. Believing he acted in cowardice, his three best friends and his fiancee send him four white feathers. In an attempt to regain his honor, he wears an Arabian disguise and goes to the war in Sudan where he meets all three of his friends again. I can’t say more without giving away spoilers. But this book is a beautiful tale of love, courage, heartbreak, and honor. This book will transport you back and forth from Sudan to Britain and away from the trials of today, hopefully leaving you with another piece of yourself.
Winter Moon by Dean Koontz — Beginning with a shoot out in L.A. and a lonely man on a ranch in Montana, Winter Moon begins to wrap the tales of these two separate stories into one. This book weaves horror, family, loss, and power into one. With some fantastical/sci-fi elements, Dean Koontz has written a chilling story that I could not put down. This book came as a recommendation from my boyfriend and I was super pleased when I finished it. I have continued to come back to this book time and again because of the writing style, the ingenuity of the story, and the way I could easily connect to the isolated life on a ranch. If you have never experienced that, and pick up this book, just know that he did not make anything up.
Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton — I am a big fan of everything nordic. So when I came across this book I was pretty intrigued. It is different than anything else I have ever read! I couldn’t tell if it was nonfiction or fiction. There were countless footnotes that added to the depth of the story and my own confusion of its genre. It follows Ibn Fadlan, a refined Arab courtier, as he journeys with the Vikings back to their home. He is exposed to their customs, many of which he finds odd and unrefined. He then realizes that he has been enlisted to help fight against the monster of the mist. This monster has been terrorizing a village in Scandinavia and slaughtering the Viking people. Not a super long book, but definitely a wonderful one. It will challenge your thinking and transport you to the northern parts of the world, in 922 A.D.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr –This book follows the lives of two young people, in the heart of World War II. Marie-Laure lives in Paris with her father before fleeing to live with her uncle in Saint Malo, carrying the Museum of Natural History’s most precious jewel. Werner Pfennig is an orphan who had to leave his sister to attend a school for the training of German boys. This story is told from both character’s perspectives and was definitely a book that helped me get excited about reading. It has short chapters so I could escape quickly and immediately be immersed in the story. Anthony Doerr did such an amazing job with the characters and their trials that I couldn’t bear to leave them somewhere unsafe.
Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks — Another book of short stories for you to enjoy. I really like short stories when I am feeling more or less disinterested because it is such a minimal commitment. Unlike other short stories I have read, Tom Hanks uses the same characters in multiple stories. It was really fun to see all the different writing styles that he experimented with and how he weaved the characters into their narratives to give them a unique voice. This was definitely a gentle read for me and it was something that I felt like needed to be shared.
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien — This is the first installment of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. These books came to me at a very important part of my life. I had completely disengaged from reading, reading very little and hardly any of it spoke to me the way books do now. What I loved about these was the depth of Middle Earth, the intricacies of the story, and the fact that I could continue to escape reality for two books after that (more if you read The Hobbit, too). I would recommend these books to anyone who needs an adventure and a reminder of how precious home, friendship, and family are. These are and will continue to be my favorite books.
11/22/63 by Stephen King — Don’t be intimidated by the length of this book. I know when we are in reading slumps, a monstrosity is probably not our go to. BUT! This book is absolutely incredible and transports you to a different place and time. Jake Epping, becomes tasked with the responsibility of going back in time and stopping the assassination of John F. Kennedy. But the date he goes back to gives him 3 years to spend in this alternate time where he has to be careful of the butterfly affect. Blended with history and King’s imagination, this book was easy to fall in love with and disappear into. It might just be long enough to help you get out of the reading slump.
More than anything, listen to what your heart is telling you. I hope you find a book that speaks to you during these difficult times.