What Happened to… Reading? 😯
Recently, I’ve been hit with the sudden feeling of not reading enough.
Which isn’t exactly true, but all those classics I’ve been reading lately have been munching up a lot of my reading time, making me feel like I haven’t been reading as much as usual. I’ve spent several weeks decoding Hermann Hesse’s Demian, both in its relation to BTS and the impact it has had on me. Then I spent time analyzing Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” and combined with the fact that I’ve been reading Jane Eyre for school…
I kinda feel burnt out by the abundance of insightful themes, philosophies, and life lessons those classics have repeatedly pelted at me for these past few weeks.
Despite the fact that I love super deep books, I realize that, like an athlete has to have rest days for their body to recover, I also need to vary the types of books I read so that my mind can recover. Learning all those life lessons from Demian is great, but it’s exhausting, especially since I’ve devoured and analyzed two extremely thoughtful books and one short story in such a short amount of time.
Starting last year, I began to branch out in reading genres of books and started to make an effort to read more contemporary books. Before last year, though, when I saw contemporary books:
Ew. I live in the real world. Why would I want to read about the real world? Fantasy is all I need! 😄
*returns to rereading Harry Potter for the tenth time*
Ah, ignorant past-me. Little did I know how much I was missing out by not reading contemporary books.
The thing about contemporary books is that the emotional and mental feel of the books are very different than, say, fantasy books. There’s something really light and airy about them; I’m reminded of bright colors and spring and lemonade, even when the book might not have the happiest story. I used to view contemporary books as shallow romances, but I’ve learned in reading them that contemporary books can offer an abundance of insight into the workings of life while having the story flow in a setting that all of us can relate to: Earth. In addition, not all contemporary books are romance-centered.
The aspect of fantasy books that will always amaze me is how much I can learn about the real world while reading about a completely made-up setting, which goes to show how fantasy worlds are just a reflection — no matter how twisted, altered, or blurry that reflection is — of our own.
So whenever I feel burnt out by classics (as I am right now) or even fantasy books, what do I do? Not read?
Pppft. What a ridiculous suggestion. 😊
I now actually tend to reach out to contemporary books when I feel like I’m going to fall into a book slump or book burnout, which, if you told me this in my early middle school years, I would have scoffed at.
So, let’s quickly evaluate this situation:
Suffering from a book burnout after a too-large ingestion of insightful and deep classics.
Books/Short Stories include
🥝Demian by Hermann Hesse
🥝Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
🥝“The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin
Method of Recovery: Don’t read books I know I’m going to spend more than a week analyzing, and make sure to reach for light-hearted contemporary books for my next read!
Alright, now that we have identified the book burnout sources, as well as a solution, let’s discuss what books I’m really looking forward to reading these next few weeks before summer starts!
(By the way… YAAYYY SUMMER!!! 🎉🎉🎉)
First up we have…
The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee
I’ve been wanting to read this book for literally forever, but I haven’t felt like picking up a contemporary book until now. My friend adores this book, and the thing that absolutely hooked me in was the fact that a character in this book, Court (yes, his name is actually Court as in basketball court), has an Epipen.
Let’s take a moment to let that sink in.
For all of us people who have severe allergies, whether it’s to nuts or fruits or bees, we finally have a book we can relate to. I have nut allergies, so consequently I have an Epipen, and it astounds me to realize that I have never read a book with a character who carries around an Epipen, which is so sad. People with allergies need characters to relate to, and here we have Court, who carries an Epipen and gets stabbed with it by page 24?
Brilliant. I’m reading this book right now and I’m already loving it to death.
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
When I finished the second book in the ACOTAR trilogy, A Court of Mist and Fury, last year, I literally thought I would be unable to function as a human being if I didn’t read the third book immediately.
Nevertheless, I survived. 😆 And I finished rereading the first two books in this trilogy in four days just so I could start on the third book, which I’m also now reading… and for some reason I’m not feeling that “WOW!” factor I felt when I read the first and second books last year?!?! Which worries me because I’m already two hundred pages in and I’m started to feel meh for Rhysand and the book better pick up in pace before my ship for — oh, wait. I should probably stop talking before I spoil something. 😋
Anyways. Ahem. I’m really excited to continue reading this book and see how Feyre and you-know-who’s arc ends (*wink wink*), and hopefully the story will pick up soon so I can fall in love with this series again.
Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
Yes, another Stacey Lee book! I’m surprised that I haven’t read more books infused with the Chinese culture, so that is something I definitely want to make sure I read more of. I read Eleanor & Park last year and loved Park’s POV. I found some aspects of his experience as a half-Caucasian and half-Korean boy very relatable and fun to read about, but I’m hoping that, as someone who is half-Cantonese, that I’ll be able to relate more to the Chinese culture in Outrun the Moon.
This book takes place in San Francisco, year 1906, and follows Mercy Wong, who tried to escape from Chinatown’s poverty by entering St. Care’s School for Girls. The school only admits girls of the wealthiest white families, but Mercy manages to get in — and then the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and conflagration happens.
I’m looking forward to see what San Francisco was like in the early 20th century, as well read about the historic San Francisco earthquake from the Chinese perspective of Mercy. The Secret of a Heart Note so far has not disappointed me — and I’m hoping this won’t either. 😊
None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio
You have no idea HOW EXCITED I AM to read this book. None of the Above explores the intricacies of gender — specifically, what it means to be male, female, or none of the above. The story follows Kristin Lattimer, a girl who has the information that she is intersex leaked out to her school, and the way she handles coming to terms with this new information about herself. The same friend who recommended The Secret of a Heart Note to me also loved this book, so this is definitely up there on my TBR list.
I’ve actually started reading this book already, and I. W. Gregorio does a fantastic job exploring and explaining the medical aspect of someone finding out that they’re intersex, as well as the social and emotional aspect.
The book also mentions Caster Semenya, a South African runner who had information about her being intersex leaked out. Kristin is also an avid runner, and her being intersex brings in the question of whether she’ll be able to participate in races. Overall, this book has been really enlightening so far, and I can’t wait to see how Gregorio wraps this story up.
Gretel and the Dark Eliza Granville
There’s actually a pretty interesting story regarding how I bought this book — okay, perhaps not that interesting, but it’s definitely unique. I got this book at a beautiful bookstore in Hong Kong, and at the time, I was obsessed with buying UK edition books because I couldn’t get any of those easily in the U.S.
The cover for Gretel and the Dark was captivating and gorgeous. It seemed dark and horror-movie like, with a hint of mist entwining the tree trunks of the picture of a forest on the cover… creepy, but intriguing. The description within the book gave very vague information about the plot, so what did I do in that situation?
Completely judge a book by the cover and BUY IT.
And now it’s finally time for me to get around to reading it. 😊
And lastly, I shall wrap this list up with…
The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn
I read Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn, and it was insane — in the best way possible. I’ve never read anything with Kuehn’s style of writing, and the planning of the story was just brilliant. The way the story wrapped up so unexpectedly at the end and left no loose threads when so many were flying in the air throughout the novel — pure amazingness.
Charm & Strange definitely was a book that took a lot of mental energy to read — I needed to be focused at all times, and I did have to reread some parts to comprehend them. Even then, I felt like I didn’t fully grasp the meaning of the story until that brilliant ending that clarified everything. I would say that Charm & Strange is the kind of book you have to go into reading knowing that you will be wading in a sea of confusion and seeming nonsense until the very last page.
I have no doubt The Smaller Evil is going to be just as amazing — if not even more so — as Charm & Strange. I’m curious if this book is going to be as confusing as Charm & Strange, but either way, I’m looking forward to losing myself in Stephanie Kuehn’s fantastic writing again. 👍
…And that’s it for this list! I’m hoping to do a book chat on most of these books, or at least a fun post relating to each of these books, so look forward to that! 😄
Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to read any of these books now that you know of them? Does anyone else find the fact that Court has an EpiPen so purely amazing??? Tell me in the comments below!
Thanks for reading, and I will cya next time! 🤗