In which the answer is… not a lot
Reading slumps are the actual worst, am I right?
I mean, given all *gestures wildly at the mess of the outside world* I think I can be forgiven, but I still hate it. Especially this specifically dreadful form of reading slump where I actually want to read SO MANY BOOKS but just can’t focus or motivate myself to do so.
Dammit, world. Pull yourself together.
On Wilder Seas was an eARC I requested on a whim from NetGalley and ended up being my favourite read of the month. From the scant facts about the existence of a woman named Maria who travelled on the Golden Hind for part of its voyage around the world, Nikki Marmery weaves an engrossing and evocative tale of hardship, courage and resilience, and a protagonist – a black woman fleeing slavery despite the very real danger she knows awaits – who shines from the page.
State of Grace is an #ownvoices book for autistic rep, something I try to seek out as it’s still fairly rare in mainstream publishing. This is a quiet YA book, dealing with the trials and troubles of teenage life, friendships and families, rather than any huge drama or danger, and it’s one of the best on-page renditions of autism I’ve come across. It pervades the whole of Grace’s life, but it isn’t her focus or her only characteristic; she’s not a stereotype but a real teenager with autism as an added complication to a life that’s full of plenty of other challenges.
A Long Petal of the Sea was so lauded, and from an author with such a good reputation – I really wanted to like it. And in sections, I did. It was very powerful where it dealt with the personal impact of war and becoming a refugee. But it’s the second Isabel Allende book I’ve had the same problem with – too bogged down by detailed recitations of the history to be a gripping story – so I have to conclude this is her particular writing style not gelling with me.
In a completely transparent effort to improve my numbers for the month, I ploughed through a few short stories I’ve been meaning to get to. Dolor’s Legs was creepy and definitely whet my appetite for Deeplight (it’s a piece of background lore from that world). Mothmen was erotic romance – or maybe just erotica – with polyam and kink rep and shapeshifters, too short for my liking even if it hadn’t confirmed that this just isn’t my thing. The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky was short and sweet and had Monty and Percy in it; what more do you need to know?
Oh, and I also read a book of children’s poetry. Homeschooling in the time of COVID, folks.
How was your reading month?
Is the lockdown giving you more time to read or too much stress to manage it? What was the last book you picked up on a whim and ended up loving? Tell me all!