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27 April 2020

How I Got Out Of My Most Recent Reading Slump

When you're a big reader, and especially when you're a book blogger, there is one thing you dread: a reading slump. I'm generally quite lucky and manage to avoid prolonged slumps, I think that my longest was a week. Until this last month. I decided that I'd join in the OWLs Readathon and then life decided to majorly conspire against me and in the entire month of April I've managed to read only three books. And two of them were books that I'd ordinarily read in a single evening.

I'm the type of person who escapes into books. They're my lifeline, the stories I read are what keeps me going. When I can't read I can feel myself getting more tense and stressed and anxious, and when a slump hits that is quadrupled and quite frankly I feel like crap.

The trigger of my most recent slump was health issues, hospital stays, and a another chronic illness to add to my list of conditions. And all I wanted to do the whole time was escape. Except I couldn't. I'd pick up a book and I'd read a couple chapters and nothing was staying. My attention and retention was shot, I was exhausted and fatigued and I couldn't even handle audiobooks.

How I Got Out Of My Most Recent Reading Slump


So here we go, what I did to help myself get out of my mega month-long slump. A lot of it has to do with generally feeling better physically, but I know that if I hadn't done something I'd still be staring at the ceiling. These are my top reading slump tips to help get you reading again.

Rereading

This is pretty much my fail safe, my go to for when I'm in a slump, but this time it did't quite work. I picked up an abridged audio version of my all time favourite, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. It was only about 4 hours, so because I listen at 2-3x speed it was quick to get through. It made me smile and remember why I love reading, and it hits up all the highlights of the story.

Take a Break

I just... Stopped. I stopped trying to make myself read. I binge watched trash telly (Has anyone else watched Too Hot to Handle on Netflix? It's a trash fire but wow) and I started playing The Elder Scrolls Online (I run around and pick flowers and fish and cook, mostly). I tried to take the reading pressure off, and although it felt good to do other things I still desperately wanted to read because I was still filled with anxiety.

Indulgence

I got myself some Mills & Boon and I just indulged in the romance and the fantasy and got lost in a luxury resort. I embraced the cheese and the comfort and the familiar storyline. It was such a lovely thing to do, to just kick back and read a book that I picked solely because it would give me the warm fuzzies. It's romance, so I knew I'd get a happy ending.

Something Different

I picked up a novel in verse, Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew (review copy). It's very much outside of my comfort zone, a format that I tend not to read. It pushed me a little, but being in verse it was quite easy to read, especially with how the writing flowed. I was able to finish something, and it was different, a bit of a challenge, and it was a review copy. I felt very much fulfilled.

Podcasts

I tried taking in stories in a different medium. I love Real Life Ghost Stories, the hosts have excellent chemistry and Emma is incredible at storytelling. They're pretty short episodes, there's a bit of chat between the stories and discussing theories and experiences, and it was a bit of a treat if I'm honest.

Bookstagram

My inspiration was pretty much nil, but I balanced a book on a branch in the tree in the garden and snapped away. I posted a picture, asked a question in the caption, and chatted away. Making myself produce something vaguely artistic, even when I didn't feel it, felt good. It proved to myself that I still can, and it meant I could talk about books and self-care.

Book Club

I joined a couple of book clubs, and just talking about books helped a lot. I haven't finished a single one of the book club picks, but I have enjoyed discussing what I have read and talking about the next picks. It's nice to connect with other bookish people too.



So, I'm extending my OWLs dues to extenuating circumstances. I'm sorry Hufflepuff that my points won't count, but I was there in spirit!


How do you get out of slumps?


22 April 2020

Book Review: Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew * AD - Gifted

Walker Books sent me a free electronic review copy of Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew via NetGalley.

Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew coverAdd to Goodreads button
A timely feminist YA novel in verse about periods, sex, shame and going viral for all the wrong reasons.


BLOOD MOON is a YA novel about the viral shaming of a teenage girl. During her seminal sexual experience with the quiet and lovely Benjamin, physics-lover and astronomy fan Frankie gets her period – but the next day a gruesome meme goes viral, turning an innocent, intimate afternoon into something sordid, mortifying and damaging.


Amazon UK | Amazon US


Source: NetGalley, Review Copy

5 Word Review: Friendship, first-love, shame, hope, periods.


Content Warnings: Slut shaming, bullying.

I very rarely read novels in verse. They're not something I commonly stumble across, and when I do find one I tend to be a little apprehensive about picking it up. I couldn't tell you why - every one I've read has been good. I think perhaps it's because it is very much different in style.

I can't say that I enjoyed Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew. It's not that I disliked it, it was excellent in fact, it's just that it's a bit of a tough read and if I'm honest with myself, I wasn't in the right head-space when I picked it up. It is funny, so funny, but it also made me despair with the world and the cruelty levelled at teenage girls. And that's not what I needed at the time.

I loved Frankie. I loved her intelligence and passion and drive and resilience. She felt so real, she came off the page. I could almost see her gazing at the stars.

The exploration of relationships in Blood Moon is truly magnificent. I never knew that inter-character relationships could be so well developed in this medium, but here we are. Things are messy and complicated and deep.

I found that I read Blood Moon quickly. The verse flows easily, it was difficult to put it down even when I was a little over-whelmed. The humour in the story helps to lift it a lot. And I loved that it's about periods - for something so many experience it's something I rarely find in books.

This is definitely an empowering read, it has so much hope in the pages, and the end is pretty uplifting. It's one I will absolutely read again when I'm in the right place, as I know I will appreciate it a lot more.

Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew mood board