Updated: Apr 28, 2021
Let's acknowledge that it's been a minute, actually many minutes, since I lasted posted. The pandemic-induced interruption of spring morphed into the long slog of summer. Like many of you, I was building a house of cards made up of childcare, working from home, and finishing my master's degree. As for reading, well, that just wasn't in the cards most days. To be more precise, reading for pleasure wasn't in the cards. I read loads of research for the final paper in my MBA program. I read plenty of alarming news stories about the spread of the coronavirus. I read more than a healthy share of social media posts. What I didn't read was very much from my TBR stack over the summer months. My mini-mountain of book waited patiently, but hopelessly, on my night stand through June and July.
The summer wasn't a complete loss. I did finish the wrenching memoir "Know My Name" by Chanel Miller. Written by the sexual assault survivor of the Stanford rape case whose powerful victim statement made international headlines, this was a book that stayed with me long after I closed the pages. After that difficult read, I turned to something lighter. "The Maze at Windermere" by Gregory Blake Smith fit the bill. This book jumped between character perspectives and time periods with multiple story lines loosely connected by place and space. It was an easy enough read and kept you guessing, but in the end the exploits of badly behaving rich people (and wannabe rich people) are only so satisfying to me.
As summer comes to a close, I find myself lamenting the reading time I missed. So much lost time! So many lost chapters! What about the reading goals I so optimistically set back in January?! It's time to get back on track.
First, I've decided to grant myself some grace. Surviving the summer of 2020 was no small feat for anyone, and completing my graduate work is its own reward. So I'm turning the page from those lost chapters and starting fresh. I jumped back in to my books last week with "I'd Rather Be Reading" by Modern Mrs. Darcy herself, Anne Bogel. Since her title perfectly captured my attitude the past couple of months, Bogel's book seemed like a great place to start over. Her love letter to reading, books, and the literary life was a quick boost of inspiration to re-engage with my reading list. Her essays on why and how we read lifted my spirits in just the way I needed.
Up next for me was my son's well-worn copy of "The Westing Game" by Ellen Raskin. This 1978 book and Newberry Medal winner has been one of my son's favorites for a few years now. He's been asking me to read it so we could talk about it. With this great invitation, I dove into this mystery book, and it did not disappoint me! I read the short novel in one day, thoroughly enjoying the colorful characters. "The Westing Game" may be a children's book, but I never felt like it talked down to its readers. In fact, the book expected you to keep up as it zipped to its climax! I guessed some of the plot twists early on, but others truly surprised me. My son and I finally had our long-awaited book talk the morning after I finished it.
So now with two quick reads on which to build a foundation, I'm feeling ready to tackle my TBR stack once again. I'm letting go of the lost chapters and getting ready to write some new ones in my reading life!
Did you experience a summer slump in your reading? What inspires you to get back on track?