Pretending the world isn’t shut down

So, with everything going on in the world, I’ve obviously been taking advantage of all of the free time I have recently found myself surrounded by, by getting back into reading. Even with the world’s most avid of readers, there are still lulls of time in which you lose all desire to pick up any book, even books you’ve read before and loved. Nothing pulls you in or excites you, you don’t have the energy to read even one chapter, can’t seem to focus on any of the words on the page. This is such a crappy feeling to have especially when it’s towards something you really love and enjoy doing, and I’m sure everyone who has a hobby they’re passionate towards can relate. I tend to get like this most when I have a lot going on in my life, because there are truly so many other things to do other than reading words on a page. I’ve made a significant dent with the piles of unread books scattered throughout my room, and figured what better time than to write a blog post recommending my favorites in the hopes of helping someone get their mind off of the scariness enveloping the world right now.

The first book that really kicked my ass out of the reading slump is called The Chain by Adrian McKinty. I found this one on Goodreads and three pages into the book I was already hooked. I’m very bad at giving book synopsis’ without giving away the full ending and every single plot twist that exists, so I’ll do my best but this book had a super unique plot that I hadn’t seen before. Basically, and I’ll just go ahead and say possible spoilers ahead because, who knows, but “the chain” is a long line of ordinary families/parents being forced to kidnap a child – any child – and being forced to hold them for a ransom until the family of that child kidnaps another child, and the cycle continues. Your child is only released when you kidnap another and collect ransom from that family. You can see how some parents, especially including the main character, single mother Rachel, will go to the absolute ends of the earth for their children, no matter what it takes. Rachel makes a handful of decisions that I can’t imagine anyone making, including whether or not to murder this child which she has taken, in order to save her own. Rachel eventually finds the leader of this terrifying scheme, and the author makes it so you can’t figure out who might be behind the whole thing until the author decides to reveal it, which I loved. This book hooked me in immediately and I can guarantee the hell that goes on in this book will get your mind off of the hell that’s going on in our own world.

I really fell in love with a book called The Animators by Kayla Rae Whittaker. I love me a good feel-good novel, or even just a book that follows someone’s normal, everyday life; a book that you can really relate to, and this book filled every expectation I had and then surpassed them. It follows two cartoon animators (which already makes the book unique – how many books have you read where the characters have professional careers in animation and film?) Mel Vaught and Sharon Kisses. It’s one of those books where the author paints such a clear picture of not only the main characters but the surrounding ones as well, and if you’ve read anything like this before, you know how quickly you can forget every single other thing going on around you and get sucked in for six hours without blinking an eye, and that’s exactly what I did. I raced through this in two days because I didn’t want to put it down, and really felt as if I was experiencing everything in real life as it was happening in the book. And THEN I was hit with one of the biggest plot twists, which shocked me enough that I had to walk away for a minute. I am a private investigator in my heart and soul, and can usually see a twist in a book coming from miles away, but I completely missed this one, and before I ruin it, I’ll stop talking about it. But go read this book.

Aphrodite Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer. This book is phenomenal. I am the first one to make fun of those little “poem” books by Rupi Kaur and whoever else, so I was definitely skeptical going into this one, and just honestly bought it because I liked the title and the cover was pink and pretty. Poetry written on the goddess Aphrodite tied into a modern story, connecting past and present. It’s full of beautifully written lines like “I’m afraid of never loving someone as much as I loved the last person who broke my heart” and “what brings us together will always be more powerful than what keeps us apart,” combined with gorgeous images (that I have vscoed about fourteen of). The book has been my “nightstand book” for about two months now because it’s that good and I can’t stop looking at it.

The last one (though I can talk about books for eighteen hours straight and will do so with anyone at any given time) is Theft by Finding Words: 1977-2000 by David Sedaris. Each chapter is a year, and it’s literally just a journal of everything that is on Sedaris’ mind at that time. Some entries are one sentence, some one paragraph, some one page. The entries are about nothing in particular, basically whatever is happening in his life at that moment, any funny people or things he comes across, or crazy situation he gets into. It’s a really laid back book, and because it’s not really a story per se, but a collection of events, it’s easy to come back and fall right back into after a couple of days of not reading. It’s become one of my favorites, even though it’s essentially a man’s journal full of seemingly insignificant things, you kind of get to see how even the smallest of events, or any stranger we run into, has the power to make a big impression in our lives.

Take this chance of self-quarantine and isolation and pick up a book. With everything going on, it’s the perfect chance to lose yourself in another world among made-up characters and problems, and if you need a book recommendation based off your other interests, I got you. If you want to check out new books but don’t want to spend the money, understandably, at this time, Thrift Books is my favorite site to buy off of. You can get both classics and new books for incredibly reasonable prices, I just bought a new edition of Gone With the Wind for literally six dollars. And if you don’t know where to start, Good Reads is basically just like Twitter but for book recommendations and reviews. There are lists of the top books of all time, or top books of a certain year, or in a certain category. When you make a profile, you can choose the book you’re reading and set it as “currently reading” which then shows on your profile. They also allow you to set up your virtual bookshelf, and then everyone can see whatever books you’re reading, and vice versa. Even if it’s not reading, take this time to absorb yourself in a hobby you never saw yourself doing. Yes, things are scary right now and there’s a lot to worry about, and a new hobby isn’t on everyone’s agenda, but having something to wake up and do has really helped my mental state a ton. Stay safe!

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