Dump the Reading Slump

Reading slumps. They happen to almost every reader at some point. Some come because of a bad book, others because of what is going on in the reader’s life.

I’ve been in a bit of reading slump this year that doesn’t seem to have been caused by any one thing. It just kind of happened. I didn’t even realize I was in one until I took a look at my Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge and saw that I am behind. A lot.

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Since I’ve been keeping up with my yearly reading, I’ve only had one really bad year where my depression spiraled out of control. That year I only read 59 books. Normally I can hit 100, no problem. My highest year was last year with 116.

This year, I’m not sure what my deal has been. I listen to a lot of podcasts, so I’m thinking that with everything going on in the world, there’s been more to keep up with so podcasts have just taken precedence. I also sometimes just prefer to listen to people talking to each other (it sometimes helps my anxiety) so that’s another reason I’ve probably been utilizing podcasts more.

I’ve also been watching more television. One of the ways my husband and I spend time together is by watching our favorite shows. We have several (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Good Place, Supergirl, Flash, Arrow, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend…just to name a few) so whenever we get a night in together, we’re usually watching something.

I also have this bit of fear that accompanies starting a new read. I’m finding that more and more I’m having to push myself into taking that first plunge. Once I’ve started, everything is fine and back on track, but getting past each beginning has been difficult.

What does all this mean for me? I think it means I have to be more intentional about my reading. I’ve already started challenging myself to read or listen to so much of a book before doing something else. It’s worked well so far, but I am still 23 books behind goal, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. October is often a great month for reading for me because of the fall atmosphere and my love of picking up spooky stories, so hopefully that will give me a nice big push to finish the year strong.

How’s your reading been this year? Any suggestions in how to dump a reading slump?

 

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Six Sad Childhood Books

Recently BuzzFeed published this listicle: 16 Books You Read As A Kid That Were Actual Emotional Torture.

I read the list. Exactly zero books listed match the sad books from my childhood.

Of the sixteen books, three I’ve read as an adult, six I’m aware of but have not read, and seven I’ve never heard of prior to this list. Some of these books weren’t even out when I was kid.

I’m not sure who comprises the BuzzFeed community that submitted those titles, but I’m going to guess millennials. I’m technically a millennial, but an old one, so I decided to share the six saddest books from my (very ’90s) childhood. I know some are still around and read, but I hope I’m not the only one that remembers the others.

Oh yeah, spoilers incoming.

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The Gold Cadillac by Mildred D. Taylor

Reading this book was the first time I learned about and understood racism and injustice. Seeing the family in the book be treated so terribly for being black and driving a fancy car made me so sad and angry as a seven-year-old and I’ve never forgotten it.

 

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A Dog Called Kitty by Bill Wallace

At some point we all read a book or see a movie where the dog dies. This point for me was first or second grade. I remember being really happy that the main character went from being mean to dogs to a dog-lover, but then the dog, Kitty, dies, because elementary school kids need more reasons to cry.

 

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The Christmas Spurs by Bill Wallace

Bill Wallace really had it out for me as a kid. That, or he really thought kids should learn about death and how to deal with it. I don’t remember the exact specifics of the plot, just that there were two brothers, a pair of spurs, and that the younger brother dies from cancer. It has some kind of little twist that made the ending bittersweet.

 

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On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer

This book was read to my class during library time by the librarian in fifth or sixth grade. I hated it. And then, when it got to the crux of the story, that one of the two main boys actually dies because they were being silly kids, I hated it even more. Then you have to actually be there when the surviving boy tries, and fails, to tell the other boy’s parents what happened. It’s The Worst.

 

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Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

My sixth grade reading teacher was a Lowry fan, so we read two of her books that year. This was my first Lowry book and the first time I’d read anything about the Holocaust. The oppression and terror the characters experienced was awful, but at least this story didn’t end too terribly (leaving everything to escape to a different country because your people are being kidnapped and killed is pretty happy, right?).

 

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The Giver by Lois Lowry

This short, simple book is full of terrible things. Infanticide, senicide, forced birth, forced suppression of biologic functions, and a complete and total lack of individualism make up the main character’s world. He doesn’t realize these things are terrible (or even happening) until he meets The Giver and receives the memories of the past before everything changed, and some of those memories are terrible and painful. Then the little kid narrator has to leave everyone and everything he knows to save a baby and escape his controlled existence, only to end the book near death in the snow. Talk about emotional.

 

These books taught me things, the main lesson being I prefer books where the overwhelming feeling at the end isn’t sadness. I’ll still read a sad book from time to time, but they are harder for me to start than most others. Is it because of these early forays into sadness or because currently, the world is sad enough as it is?

I’m going to go with both. Both is good.

What books would make your saddest childhood books list?

 

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