A Reading Slump

It wasn’t my plan to chat about my reading slump this week, I was hoping for something a little more stimulating to discuss. Alas, my reading slump has become a blogging slump and writing has become as uninspiring as finding a book I actually want to read.

Slumps seem to be a common occurrence amongst bloggers at the moment. Charlie made a very interesting observation, that slumps can become circular. A continual move back and forth between barely reading and reading everything under the sun. I definitely find myself experiencing this monsoon-drought reading cycle.

I’ve also found that blogging can often bring on a slump. The need to write a review weekly – especially when books are okay but don’t scream ‘write about me’ – can be a hindrance as well as an enjoyable experience.

Neither of these thoughts has brought me to any sort of conclusion, so the slump continues.

Perhaps all I need is another good book to rejuvenate my mind. Any suggestions? By good, I mean The Secret History or Parade’s End good.*

* I probably mean epic.

Poetry: I Live I Die I Burn I Drown by Louise Labe

I live, I die, I burn, I drown
I endure at once chill and cold
Life is at once too soft and too hard
I have sore troubles mingled with joys

Suddenly I laugh and at the same time cry
And in pleasure many a grief endure
My happiness wanes and yet it lasts unchanged
All at once I dry up and grow green

Thus I suffer love’s inconstancies
And when I think the pain is most intense
Without thinking, it is gone again.

Then when I feel my joys certain
And my hour of greatest delight arrived
I find my pain beginning all over once again.


Quick Review: The Bone Clocks, Mãn & The Marriage Plot

I’ve not the energy or enthusiasm for a long review, so here are some thoughts on some books I’ve read recently.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Well constructed, vivid imagery and fairly gripping. The Bone Clocks didn’t cling to me as Cloud Atlas did, but Mitchell has knitted a very interesting history here. The fantasy element was not my cup of tea, I prefer my fantastical elements to be more subtle, but this is not a criticism of the novel. Only negative I had was that it read more as a children’s novel than the adult novel I expected, I’m not entirely sure why.

Mãn by Kim Thúy

Mãn is literature in translation. It will sneak up on you, it seems as though it is a small and simple piece of literature, but it’s feeling reverberates for days after. It packs a powerful punch for such a tiny piece. From birth to adulthood, we travel with Mãn as she is pulled from fields as a baby, marries, moves to Canada, becomes a famous chef and learns the emotional depths she can reach.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

Eugenides has wowed me with The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex, books that make you think. The Marriage Plot isn’t a bad book, it is especially good if you are a bit of a book snob. However, the pretentious element of the novel is difficult to escape. While Eugenides again attempts to tackle the impact of depression on the young I found the characters too self-aware – or perhaps to arrogant – to be of sympathy. Not liking characters is a sign of a good book and although I enjoyed it I don’t think it is as good as his previous novels. Beautiful writing, less than perfect story.

What have you read recently?