So for the first time in an age, I’m in a bit of a reading slump. I’m very much a mood reader and normally, once I’ve started a series I will binge read all the available sequels in a row but at the moment, I’m really struggling to commit to anything. In the past, if I’ve ever had a slump I just change genre and I get all excited about reading again. This isn’t really working for me this time and it’s making me feel a bit lost. I love to have a book on the go so I can just turn off, escape into a different world and forget reality for a while, and the knowledge that I have that escape at the end of my fingertips is calming. So it’s weirdly uncomfortable not knowing where to go next.
I’ve branched out a lot with my reading this year and I’ve been able to juggle multiple books on the go at once, which is something I wouldn’t have even considered last year. For the past three months I’ve managed to have a Jim Butcher audiobook on the go (The Dresden Files – the narrator is excellent!), a historical romance on my kindle/kindle iPhone app and a physical paper/hardback. I have a long drive followed by a half hour or so walk each way for my commute so the discovery of the Dresden Files has been brilliant. I’d tried a few different audiobooks and returned nearly all of them. I was almost at the point of giving up with them until I tried Storm Front. It’s got a first person narrative which works really well in this format and I’ve often been going for longer walks on my lunch to just so I can keep listening. (Side note: I also hugely enjoy the Louise Rennison audiobooks for her Georgia Nicolson series but they’re on sale for cheaper than the Audible subscription so I’ve been a bit reluctant to use my credits on them. But the nostalgia factor when listening is immense. So much fun.) Because they’re urban fantasy stories I find it easy to then pick up my kindle and delve into a historical romance when I’m out and about. I often read these on my phone app as I can read snippets here and there or when I’m in a long queue (this happens way more often than you’d think. So British) or have a few minutes waiting for someone or if I have to stay in the office on my lunch break. There’s such a difference in genre I don’t get mixed up with characters/plot etc.. and as a genre in general, romance is usually very easy and quick to read . Finally, the physical books I read I’ve started to keep at home. I’ve had a few that have been ruined by being chucked in my bag, even though I have a little bookbag thing to keep them in! Lately, they’ve been Georgette Heyer novels or epic/feudal fantasy stories, so again a different genre. While this has been working very well for me, I think this is why I’m struggling with this slump. As I said, normally I’d just pick up a different genre and away I’d go. But having three different types constantly on the go means I’ve managed to lose interest in a lot more than normal.
This year has been a bit different for me readingwise as it’s the first year I’ve properly tried a new genre. Previously I’ve never had any interest in romance reads and made the terrible mistake of thinking the writing was normally pretty low quality. I know. I’m sorry – it’s an awful assumption to have of any genre and I was definitely mistaken. I’ve been lucky in finding ebooks of some great authors whose writing is excellent and really engaging and fun. It’s a super easy genre to binge and I can fly through a couple of them a week – it’s definitely how I’ve managed to read 70 books already. Especially as I read them on my phone in any spare minute. They’re always either historical or fantasy romances rather than contemporary, that is still a genre I can’t seem to get into. The historical/fantasy aspect of them draws me in as they are settings I’m very used to and happily comfortable with.However, there are a lot of tropes involved and there are always *eye-roll* moments (“no-one has ever made me feel this way etc..”) but even then they make me smile. It’s cute and happy. I need these sorts of stories in my life, especially as reality at the moment can be very scary with all the turbulent global and domestic politics and threats. But I do think I’m slowly coming to the end of that obsession. I still really enjoy it and I will continue to read them but I think I’ve overdone the genre for the moment.
Saying that, I am still on a Georgette Heyer high. She’s brilliant. She wrote in the 20th Century and is commonly known as the Regency Romance Queen. She’s like Jane Austen but much more prolific and perhaps a bit more accessible. I was pleasantly surprised by how readable her stories are and I’ve found that a lot of the themes and feelings translate well into modern day. They’re all squeaky-clean romances but so far I’ve found the romance culminates right at the end and the main plots have been full of fun shenanigans and misunderstandings. The dialogue is so witty and hilarious and each book just makes me happy and cosy. I’m not sure I’ll ever get bored of reading those and can’t recommend them highly enough, but I have just read five in a row so I’m ready for a break. My favourites so far have been Devil’s Cub, Venetia and The Grand Sophy. Lots of fun.
Last year was definitely a fantasy fest. I do adore fantasy and every time I go to Waterstones (which is pretty much every day…) I go straight to that section. Yet for the first time in recent memory, I’m not overly excited about picking any up. Such a bizarre feeling for me as I’d say it’s my main genre. My tbr bookcase is overflowing with fantasy books so I have no excuse at all. Maybe that’s it? There are so many great fantasy stories out there that I can’t pick just one.
I have always enjoyed a variety of genres and it was only really last year that I fully delved into the fantasy world. I love, love, love CJ Sansom’s Shardlake series and SJ Parris’ Bruno series which are both Tudor historical crime books and I’m quite sad that there are no recent releases for me to lose myself in. Similarly, I really like Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. I’ve not managed to get into any contemporary crime novels but stick the detectives in the past and I’m there. The most enjoyable aspect of these crime novels for me is that I can never guess the outcome. Spoilers are awful at the best of times but in fantasy I find I’m more worried about finding out spoilers about my fave characters (Are they dead? Do they make it to…? Does so-and-so and so-and-so finally realise they’re made for each other?) rather than the overall plot. With crime, if you can guess ‘whodunnit’ there’s no point in reading it, so I’ve been very lucky so far not to have that disappointment.
When I was younger I used to read a lot of historical fiction about queens and I kind of miss it. I think. There are a lot of queens and princesses in the fantasy that I read as I largely stick to the Sword and Sorcery sub-genre. These are normally set in feudal worlds so I get my royalty kick from there. More recently when I’ve picked up historical fiction I keep missing the magical elements so I’ve not managed to stick to them. I do hate a slump!
Do you have any tips to help me get excited about reading again? What do you normally do get out of a slump? Any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated!
PS. If anyone can recommend me some historical fiction with a bit of magic in, that would fab!