ESometimes even the most avid readers find themselves stuck in a slump and no book is right for them. In times of uncertainty it is difficult to find a book that will inspire you to stop worrying and put your phone down.
If you’re in a slump right now, grab one (or more) of these books and see if it can help you get back on track.
Winter Counts, David Heska Wanbli Weiden
There’s nothing like a fast-paced, twisty thriller to keep you turning pages, even when you should be doing chores, working, or sleeping. David Heska Wanbli Weiden’s The Winter Counts A literary thriller that takes place on a Native American reservation is a great choice for those who are looking to break out of slumps. This novel is about Virgil Wounded Horse (an enforcer of the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota). Virgil is a self-proclaimed justice seeker when the authorities are unable to do so. After his nephew dies from heroin overdose, Virgil begins to investigate how the drugs get onto the reservation. Winter Counts This film combines an extraordinary setting and unforgettable characters with a propulsion plot with a sophisticated exploration of the criminal justice issues in reservations.
In Theory: A Princess, Alyssa Cole
Because you don’t have to decide what next, falling in love with a series will help you break free from a slump. The Reluctant RoyalsAlyssa Cole’s series is an excellent choice. It features charming characters and royal antics as well as swoon-worthy love stories. This is the first volume in the series. Theory and the Princess, scientist and former foster child Naledi keeps receiving spam emails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. They are ignored until Naledi receives a spam email claiming she is engaged to an African prince. This sparks a wild romance. It’s a joyful, smile-inducing book, as are the two novels and two novellas that follow it. As a bonus, Cole’s Runaway RoyalsSeries are set in the same universe. This gives readers more options to read.
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Five Tuesdays in WinterLily King
A short-story collection is a great way to get back into reading. These collections allow readers to complete a story quickly and feel accomplished. Lily King‘s November 2021 short-story collection Five Tuesdays in Winter has something for everyone—a love story, a sci-fi story, a coming-of-age story—all written with King’s signature empathy and wit. Although the final story in this collection is outstanding, it’s a magic realist tale that satirizes sexism within the publishing industry. However, each story in the collection are great.
The Country Dentist, The Cadaver King, and The Country DentistRadley Balko; Tucker Carrington
The Country Dentist, The Cadaver King, and The Country Dentist The book is both engrossing as well as enthralling. It will have you turning the pages. The writers—veteran criminal justice journalist Radley Balko and founding director of the Mississippi Innocence Project Tucker Carrington—carefully document the way Mississippi’s death investigation system, a relic of the Jim Crow era, keeps innocent people in jail. They focus on Dr. Steven Hayne, a medical examiner who conducted hundreds of autopsies each year, and Dr. Michael West, a self-proclaimed “forensic dentist.” Both men provided misleading, if not outright fraudulent, testimony at countless trials, causing innocent Mississippians, often from poor and underserved communities, to be imprisoned while letting murderers and rapists go free. True crime fans, in particular, won’t want to miss this one.
Sounds Like Titanic, Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman
Sounds Like Titanic is one of those books that’s impossible to put down because you’ll keep thinking, “How is this real?” In it, Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman recounts her time “playing” the violin in a fake orchestra. Hindman would pretend to be playing their instruments while her coworkers recorded music that sounded very much like it. Titanic, The music blared from the speakers. It’s an absurd, fascinating coming-of-age memoir that explores the nature of truth (or truthiness) in post-9/11 America. It’s one of my favorite books of the last five years.
Numerous People TypeCalvin Kasulke
Calvin Kasulke wrote Many People Typing A satirical take on virtual work. All messages were sent in Slack between colleagues at a New York PR firm. The form, combined with the book’s humor, makes it a fast read, ideal for jump-starting a reading streak. Its premise is Numerous People Type This is admittedly strange: Gerald, an employee at the mid-level, accidentally uploads his mind to the instant messaging site. Gerald asks his coworker Pradeep to help him escape—and to check in on his soulless body still sitting in his empty apartment. It’s a tricky plot to pull off, but Kasulke nails it. Numerous People Type This is a funny and timely reflection on how digital connections work in today’s world.
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These precious days, Ann Patchett
An essay collection offers the same advantages as a short story collection, namely the ability to write a complete narrative in one sitting. These are the most precious days Ann Patchett’s coronavirus epidemic essay collection features thoughtful, engaging essays that cover topics such as Snoopy and her fathers. The title essay focuses on Patchett’s friendship with Sooki Raphael, Tom Hanks’ personal assistant, who spent the early months of quarantine in Patchett’s Nashville home while receiving experimental cancer treatment. It’s a beautiful, moving piece about life, death, and friendship.
As a sisterKellye Garrett
The first line of Kellye Garrett’s Just like a Sister sets the tone for the rest of the novel: “I found out my sister was back in New York from Instagram. I found out she’d died from the New York Daily News.” The book’s narrator, Lena Scott, is estranged from her half-sister, reality star Desiree, and the hip-hop mogul father they share, and she’s convinced the official story of her sister’s death—an overdose—is wrong. So, Lena scours her sister’s Instagram feed looking for clues, finding a wide chasm between Desiree’s public image and real life. While the plot has its fair share of twists and turns, Lena’s voice makes the novel shine. She alternates between interrogating suspects in her “Super Black Woman Cape,” and making funny observations about music, reality TV, and more. Lena’s wit plus a packed plot will grab and hold your attention.
Sheets, Brenna Thummler
Sheets This graphic novel, a middle-grade graphic book in the middle grade category, can be completed in one evening. It is an excellent choice to end a slump. Brenna Thummler writes about Marjorie Glatt, a 13-year-old grieving her mom’s death. In between attending school and caring for her younger brother and dad, Marjorie works to keep the family’s laundromat open, a task that becomes even more complicated when a young ghost begins haunting the business. Sheets It is one of those books kids and adults both love. It is beautiful art and a poignant story.
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Self-Care This is a delicious and juicy satire about a wellness startup with goopy slant that makes readers think differently about online behavior. Leigh Stein, who drew on her background running a 40,000-member Facebook group for women writers, focuses on the three women behind Richual, “the most inclusive online community platform for women to cultivate the practice of self-care and change the world by changing ourselves.” The once-promising company’s future is endangered after the COO tweets a threat against Ivanka Trump, and one of its top funders is accused of sexual harassment. Self-Care It’s both fun and informative and a great read.
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