Tag: tbr

Five Ways to Fight Reader’s Block

Do you live under the looming weight of the sword of Damocles that is your TBR pile? Does it watch you day and night, unconquerable and ever growing? Do you fear you’ll be crushed one day if you close a door too hard? This article is for you.

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Image via Dr. Bristol’s Prescription

It happens to all of us. Plenty of good books to read, at least a little time (there’s always time for books), and yet, do books get read? There are a thousand comics about how many MORE books we’ll buy, even when the TBR pile starts to take on a life of its own. I don’t know what’s to be done about that, but I do know some tricks for getting out of a slump and back to what matters.

 

Read Something Shorter

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It can work! Have you been reading every LOTR book back to back like I tried to when I was twelve? I was a FOOL, and you are too, no offense. I know why you’re not reading. Get yourself out of a rut with something lighter, or even just physically smaller. I like to pick up poetry chapbooks for this, but anything will do, poetry, short stories – try and pick something with bite sized pieces, so you can feel accomplishment with much less focus.

 

Borrow from the Library

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Image via Stamma

I know, I know, you have them in your house! But hear me out. No, It’s not about the fines, though I obviously don’t want to pay the fines either. If I keep library books too long, I feel bad! They expected it back! Someone might be waiting for it! I gotta get it back on time. This might be more of a me thing, but do you want to let librarians down? Please. The ticking clock might lead you to finish the book quickly. Plus, checking out books proves that people use libraries, making it harder to cut their funding.

 

Try Audio Books

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Image via Medium

I’ve never been an audio book person – at least since I was a kid – but they’re great for reader’s block, or if you’re super busy. You can cook, or clean the house, or listen on the bus. Plus, if you just don’t find yourself reading, an audio book takes almost no effort to experience. If you’ve ever felt like you don’t read like you used to when you were a kid, this might be a good way to get back in your stride, and quickly check a few things off your TBR.

Also, and you didn’t hear it from me, you can get audio books from libraries for free. Ask a librarian!

 

Try a New Genre

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Have a huge pile of science fiction you can’t seem to get through? Maybe grab a biography or a graphic novel. Too much historical fiction got you confused on who had affairs in real life and who was made up? Read some manga or get a book that’s pure fiction. If your book is already all biographies or something, try something a little less dry, throw a thriller or some high fantasy in the mix. Maybe even a genre you really don’t read. Shake it up!

 

Reread a Favorite

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Image via Book Riot

Everyone has a handful of books they could read a thousand times. Even if it doesn’t feel productive, rereading a book you love can get you back in the swing of things, and remind you what you love so much about reading. Plus, it’s always nice to revisit an amazing book, whatever the reason. After that, you can go on and find a new favorite book, or three. I miss reading. Let’s get on this, friends.


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Literary Canon Update

Have you ever been given a reading list that’s written, translated, and selected exclusively by and for men? Odds are you’ve rarely seen any that aren’t. If you want to appreciate the cannon while also living in a world where women exist, this is the list for you. These books and translations are some of the best and most lauded of all time, and yes, they’re by women.

It was, I must confess, a little hard to compile. The Odyssey was first translated by a woman only in 2017! But don’t despair. It’s all here for the taking.

 

The Iliad and the Odyssey

 

Homer’s epics have been translated MANY times, but these, by Caroline Alexander and Emily Wilson, respectively, set an incredible standard.

 

The Iliad

 

 

Close as can be to the ancient Greek, this translations has garnered heaping praise. “[T]he guard has changed, and a new gold standard has appeared”, said New Criterion at the volume’s publication. This edition even manages to retain the original line numbers from the Greek.

 

The Odyssey

 

 

This work, too, matches the original Greek as closely as possible. “A staggeringly superior translation―true, poetic, lively and readable, and always closely engaged with the original Greek”, said Harvard classics professor Richard F. Thomas. Iambic pentameter imitates the lyricism of the original Greek, and the volume also includes translation guides and maps.

 

 

Antigonik and An Oresteia

 

 

For both of these it is possible to turn to Anne Carson, a Canadian translator and classics professor. Carson’s translations are modern, elegant, and never condescending. In stead of translated, the works seem brought into the light, with all their strangeness and fierceness intact.

 

 

Jane Austen

 

How is it that Jane Austen, often the only woman on a reading list, is still under hyped? I had a guy in a bar tell me once that if people like Austen it’s because they haven’t read a lot of books. He really said that. Family conflict, human stories, and scathing humor makes Austen worth reading, with characters you really will love, and hate.

 

Pride & Prejudice

 

It’s a staple for a reason, and if you’re not sure you’ll relate to these people’s problems, you’re wrong. Fuckboys, impending poverty, poor decisions, and character growth you can get behind. Plus, it may be a period piece, but people still love their sisters. You’ll relate.

 

 

Jane Eyre

 

 

Another classic people want to avoid, but it has everything: deaths, fire, lies, weddings, blindness. I wouldn’t exactly call Jane a relateable character, but she’s understandable, I think, when you see everything she’s been through. And she’s incredibly decisive.

 

 

 

Images via Amazon 

4 Upcoming Sequels and Where to Start

There are a lot of exciting sequels coming up, and if you’ve left preparation for the last minute, don’t panic: here are four forthcoming books and how you can catch before they come out!

 

-SPOILER FREE-

 

1. When She Reigns – Jodi Meadows

When She Reigns
Image via Amazon

 

Where to start: Before She Ignites and its sequel As She Ascends

A lush fantasy world and slow burn plot that’ll keep you thinking until the final book on September 10th, pick up this book if you want an amazing story that’ll make you feel things. Plus you’ll love the complexity of the characters and their relationships.

 

 

2. Wayward Son – Rainbow Rowell

Wayward Son
Image via Amazon

 

Where to start: Carry On

This series is a great take on wizard school. We start in the last year. Simon Snow’s got a lot of power, but he’s not good at using it. Also he’s pretty sure his roommate is a secret vampire. And something is eating magic in great, horrible swathes. Also, LGBTQAA+.

 

3. Supernova – Marissa Meyer

Supernova
Image via Amazon

 

Where to start: Renegades and its sequel Archenemies

This is a post-Utopian urban fantasy about villainy and revenge. Superpowers, syndicates, and spy craft make this different from other entries into the genre, and you’ll find the characters awfully charming or charmingly awful. Sides are set in stone, and one person’s interests might contradict.

 

 

4. Children of Virtue and Vengeance  – Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Virtue and Vengeance
Image via Amazon

 

Where to start: Children of Blood and Bone

Magic and it’s users were killed off by ruthless invaders, but now there’s one chance to bring it back. To do so will require crossing territory filled with beasts and magic, side by side with an enemy, but the greatest struggle may be controlling the magic that’s left.

 

 

Featured image via Hope Walks Blog

Five Fringe Poets Not to Miss in 2019

If you’re wondering what poetry to read, look no further. Here’s a shortlist of five niche offerings for this year, released and forthcoming. Light enough to throw in your bag and rich enough to spend hours on, this is the best of small and breakout poets.

 

 

The Twenty-Ninth Year – Hala Alyan

The Twenty-Ninth Year
Image via Amazon

Alyan’s book explores her life as it is now, while also wandering through the earlier years of her life with a tone of distant, soft-focus nostalgia. Spanning nations and years, this spare, lyrical, and highly personal, Twenty-Ninth Year uses highly individual stories to capture some element of the human experience and growing older.

“It takes a romantic to leave a city; I understand this now.” Hala Alyan, The Twenty-Ninth Year

 

If My Body Could Speak – Blythe Baird

If My Body Could Speak
Image via Amazon

Baird’s poetry is characterized by sparsity and organization, and covers girlhood, culture, and identity. It’s an exploration of the things we overlook, the things we make of ourselves, compassion, and how we forgive others and ourselves. It’s a record of healing, from the one side of suffering to the end of the tunnel.

“You do not owe your progress to anyone.” Blythe Baird, If My Body Could Speak

 

In a Dream You Saw a Way to Survive – Clementine von Radics

In a Dream You Saw A Way To Survive
Image via Amazon

Von Radics writes with patience and with astounding feeling. Compassion, heartbreak, and survival are measured out and deployed with the most precise diction. This is the hard work after you’ve gotten through the heart of something unbearable, but triumphant. It’s not about the moment, but about all the moments after, when you’re stronger but still reaching for the light.

“No one else can decide what your tough looks like.” Clementine von Radics, In a Dream You Saw a Way to Survive

 

 

Life of the Party – Olivia Gatwood

Life of the party
Image via Amazon

This book is forthcoming August 20th, but you can expect Gatwood’s passion and her reverence for the mundane. She writes about youth and about looking back, about the things we overlook, about the ugly things we do that aren’t really so bad. This is a book about fear, but Gatwood never lets fear get of the best of her.

“I want to know what it means to survive something.” Olivia Gatwood, Life of the Party

 

Swallowtail – Brenna Twohy

Swallowtail
Image via Amazon

This book is forthcoming October 1st, and you definitely have to pick it up. Twohy’s poetry is modern and funny and tragic and electric. It dissects the strangeness of life, of loss, of becoming someone else. It takes not just the ordinary but the boring and makes it into something worth thinking about, something that tells you more about yourself. Her topics may not initially seem like the basis for poems, but she always finds the through line of universal feeling.

“You’ve just never seen the close-up of a haunting.” Brenna Twohy, Swallowtail

 

 

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