Tag: light reading

How to Deal with Reading Slumps

Posted November 23, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 16 Comments

I’m currently in a reading slump and about to start another semester of university. This is not a good combination; I don’t want to struggle through my reading while trying to get good grades. This is not the first time I’ve fallen into a slump and I find it so frustrating and stressful. When I finally do break out of a slump, it is so refreshing and I feel so relieved.

So I want to talk about slumps and see if there are other ways to manage and break them. I’ve looked around and have found some peoples hints and maybe I am missing something. We will find out what works for some and open a dialogue about reading slumps here. So here are some suggestions I’ve found.

  • Read something light: I recently tried reading Moon over Soho which was light and enjoyable and made me want to read the next in the series, if I read the next book does that mean my slump is over? What would happen if I try something heavier?
  • Read a favourite genre: This can be problematic because I’m a literary explorer and sometimes not too sure what my favourite genre is. Maybe it’s hard-boiled crime but this sounds similar to reading something light, assuming they are talking about reading genre fiction.
  • Try something short: Short stories, novellas and short books might work, this way you are not spending too much time in a story and feel like we are making progress. I’m not sure if this works, I’ve never tried it.
  • Recommendations: I’m really don’t think this will work, I’ve got plenty of books recommended to me sitting on my TBR just waiting to be read.
  • Take a break: While this might be the answer, the idea of not reading at all does not appeal to me.
  • Revisit a favourite book: This could work; I do need to reread Frankenstein for this semester of university, so if I break that out now and start reading it, will I get out of the slump? At least I know the book is great.
  • Make time: I’m not sure this would work, this feels like forcing myself to read when I struggle. The stress is already there and being forced to read doesn’t sound like a way to reduce stress.
  • Read a classic: This could work, classics are normally great books, so reduces the likelihood of reading a dud.
  • Try non-fiction: Someone suggested trying some non-fiction as a way to break the slump, instead of looking for a great novel to break the slump, maybe learning something new might help. This is a suggestion from my local indie bookstore, so I’ve been trying it out.
  • Put all books on hold and just read whatever looks appealing: This is what I’m trying at the moment, I had a few books on the go and they have now been put aside and I am just picking up a book that looks appealing. I’m willing to put it aside if it’s not working but at the moment I’m trying to work my way through The Martian and NW.

Now I’ve talked about solutions, I want to see if I can work out the root cause. Is there a way to avoid this in the future? I don’t think so, sometimes life gets in the way or you read too many below average books at a time. For me, I think what caused my slump this time was the fact I read some great books like The Bell Jar and If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler followed by some books that I felt were less than average; The Tale for a Time Being and Harvest, followed by some novels I needed to finish in a limited amount of time (due back to the library or for book club).

I don’t think I can avoid average or bad books, but I should try and be better with abandoning books. I’ve never been good at quitting a book, but I’m getting to a point in my reading career where I feel like I now have a good baseline for judging books. I don’t want to fall into a slump again, and now I know the signs of it coming on maybe I can avoid it. How do others manage slumps and try to avoid them altogether.


The Fix by Nick Earls

Posted May 21, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Contemporary / 0 Comments

The Fix by Nick EarlsTitle: The Fix (Goodreads)
Author: Nick Earls
Published: Random House, 2011
Pages: 291
Genres: Contemporary
My Copy: Personal Copy

(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

I started reading The Fix thinking this was going to be a literary novel but found this to be more like a YA novel with adult content. It took me a while to adjust my thinking about this book from literary to light hearted but when I did get into this mindset, I did start to really enjoy this book. In the back of my mind I was wanting something with more substance; something that would make me think.

Josh Lang is unemployed with aspirations of being a respected investigative journalist but all he can get is a job as a blogger expressing the opinions of a Gen Y male living in Brisbane. His brother offers to get Josh a job at the Star of Courage doing PR work which eventually leads Josh into a much more complicated situation involving a gunman, mini golf and a stripper.

While this book could almost be classed as a mystery novel, there is nothing really in the book to make it suspenseful or even a page turner. The characters feel very shallow which might be a way to portray some Gen Y character types. This book was light and easy to read but also felt too predictable. I can see what Nick Earls was trying to do in this book by slowly building up the tension but it felt like it was being built too slow that any feeling of tension was lost on me. I was waiting and waiting for a twist or a burst of excitement to come that when it did come I was expecting it.

While I did enjoy reading this novel there were a few things that stopped this book from being exciting. I love the whole blogging element in this book; as a blogger I can relate to the way his mind worked when it came to possible blog posts. There were enough little quirks in this book to make it a light and enjoyable read. I would say this felt like a transition book between YA and adult fiction more than anything else. I’ve only read one of Nick Earls’ short stories before reading this book so I can’t really judge this book in any way, shape or form. I think this book would be a great Summer read for someone on holidays and wants something quirky and easy to read.


Light Reading?

Posted April 27, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 2 Comments

Recently my mother complained about my taste in books, calling them difficult or weird books to read. This led to her saying that she wouldn’t trust me to recommend her a book because she wants light and frivolous books. I’ve recommended her two books in the past; one was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón which was not really light or frivolous but it is just a brilliant story and it has something for everyone in it; everyone except my mother. The other book was a lot lighter and easier to read, it was the exciting debut novel, S.J. Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep; which she didn’t like either. So what do I recommend to someone that doesn’t want to think or feel any sad thoughts?

Light reading is an interesting concept. While some people read too many romance novels that it can’t be healthy (Yes, you know who you are but at least you try my book recommendations), others turn to fantasy, science fiction and thrillers in the hopes to escape reality. Everyone has a different concept of light reading. For me; I think I do a lot of light reading but my concept of light reading normally involves pulp fiction or a dark thriller. Then again I seem to enjoy reading all types of books and find great pleasure in reading literary fiction, classics and others books people might think isn’t light.

Which brings me to an interesting article, found on Book Riot about The Problems of Reading for Pleasure, which talks about people’s favourite books and how they are never the type of books they actually read. The author of this article tries to understand why crime and romance novels are so popular but they never seem to on people’s favourite books list. Also he mentions the fact that maybe diversity in reading will lead to a richer and more diverse reading life. I love this article because it pleases the book snob in me and it also raises a very interesting point.

While I hope people are willing to try new genres and willing to listen to recommendations from fellow bibliophiles, I wonder; do people know a reader like my mother? What do you recommend and do you secretly try to help expand their minds with great literature that may also be light and enjoyable for the reader.

I thought about this for a long time and I think I’ve found some books I would recommend to my mother;

  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon