Friends, lately I'm having trouble reading.
I am reading books I seemingly like, like I can't think of a reason to dislike the books I'm reading, but I just have the hardest time committing to reading.

I broke it down into 25 page increments, but it's so slow.

I want to read in theory but in practice I seemingly don't.

Advice?

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I have a suspicion of what my problem is. I THINK I need a break from Kidlit (YA and probably MG). What are grown-up books I should start reading? Like, a friend on here gifted me a copy of Legends & Lattes and I plan to read that soon, but what else. Preferably stuff I can get from my library if I lack it (so in short: keep in mind what series are hot right now and if I have to wait two years to read it via library lol)

I read SFF, contemporary, historical, romance, literary, etc

Boost ok

@lapis maybe toss some nonfiction in there as palate cleanser?

Stiff by Mary Roach is one I remember as a delight. I think you would also enjoy Assassination Vacation which is probs best as an audio book bc it is written and narrated by the voice actress who did Violet in the Incredibles and also has an npr show lol.

Chuck Jones has a delightful autobiography. I also think that Peter Falk's autobiography is lovely but depends on you being a columbo fan lol. Also it's more like a series of vignettes than a cohesive narrative

In very casual silly autobiography stuff, Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher is based off her stand up routines and I think you may appreciate the joking thru ECT that happens lol

@lapis but with a bit of luck, I think that I remember a book that you would like very much perhaps- if it aligns with the special interests - I just need to figure out where it is on my bookshelf so I can reference it. It's a biography of Marie Antoinette's hairdresser, cuz it turned out he was actually a big mover and Shaker in that era of fashion and of course his fortunes Rose and fell very definitively with hers. Let me prowl around my bookshelves to see if I can find the thing

@lapis good news I found it! The book is called Marie Antoinette's head, by Will bashor. And I'm honestly deeply impressed that Google Voice to Text got his name in one where I didn't have to correct it at all well done Google voice text. As I remember it can be a little bit dry from time to time, however it does a good job of making the history a little bit theatrical and easily readable, a little bit closer to a novelization than a textbook. It also has a wonderfully chunky bibliography and quite the pile of academic research put into it, plus is nicely peppered with illustrations from the time, which is really what you need when talking about a biography entirely rotating around this huge mover and Shaker in fashion. You just have to see how things were changing in terms of looks when you're talking about looks. But I think I remember talking about this with you, and there's a non-zero chance I've already recommended it to you, knowing that hidden sympathy for Marie Antoinette is something you also have lol!

One more nonfiction recommendation to toss in another Wild card, I remember it as being far more dry and there's a lot of architecture-based drama which may or may not be your thing. However the Devil in the White City is a pretty good book as it flips back and forth between its two subjects and does a pretty decent job of discussing both. So if you really want to lean into your inner white girl who wants to read some true crime, but with the thin respectable veneer of architecture and World's Fair planning in there too just to make sure that there is some redeeming artistic Merit in what you're reading instead of just trashy True Crime, you can do a lot worse!

@lapis the one good thing about Peter falk's autobiography in all of these recommendations is that it might play very well into how your brain is currently not wanting to focus on things. It really is more little chapters of a few anecdotes than a big overarching story. It very much feels like you're sitting down with a grandpa and getting little stories from his life instead of a big interconnected narrative. So if your brain can only concentrate for about 25 pages, you may as well also consider a book that will just roll with that.

Another complete category of wild cards to toss in there- maybe graphic novels. I know that Scott mccloud's understanding comics was a pretty big part of me appreciating them and the college course I took, and it's just a really good book for understanding how a lot of communication takes place- he does a great job of quickly but thoroughly discussing these Concepts in ways that can be easily understood. Sometimes it's easier to pay attention to a graphic novel than a wall of text, simply because the information is coming at you from a very different perspective and so you get to process it differently. If you're looking for something more lighthearted, though they're very much a product of their time and I'm not going to say that I fully agree with all of the political Vibes within them, especially not for the ones going into the Congo that even Herge apologized for at the end of his life, the tin tin books are still pretty solid, and the little narrative Arc that includes red rackham's treasure is a solid one- right now I cannot remember all of the titles of the two or three books in there that contain the story and which comes first. I'm not sure how libraries are handling ebooks and graphic novels, I think sometimes it may wildly depend on what reader someone is trying to use them on, so they may be something better reserved for physical copies instead of ebooks. However Tintin books were also fairly widely circulated and produced while not having their moment in the sun right now, so I'm going to guess they are availability will be pretty high, and if nothing else they tend to appear fairly frequently and used bookshops for very reasonable prices. On a similar vibe, though a different artist in a different country I believe, the Asterix books are also fairly funny and there are some gems in there- though the same disclaimer applies of them being a product of their time Etc. Asterix tends to be more replete with puns, and if you're wanting to seriously practice a foreign language, they actually translate all of the puns to make them new or at least work in the new language, even if this requires totally rewriting a joke, so it's actually really good language practice. I know that some of my favorite childhood memories are of my dad reading Asterix books to me in a language that wasn't English, whether that was French or Latin, and explaining how the new puns worked. They tend to be a bit more light and fluffy, focused more on humor whereas Tintin is more about Adventure. And they are incredibly silly. I can't think of any specific recommendations off the top of my head for story lines or individual volumes to look for when it comes to Asterix, though I do remember the ones where they're going up against Cleopatra to be fairly funny- as you can imagine the number of Roman men Cleopatra had wrapped around her finger is a pretty good source of Comedy.

If nothing else, there's always Discworld! Apparently the new audiobooks have multiple voice actors doing the reading, and have been highly praised, though I haven't yet tried them myself.( for some reason my brain likes tuning out the so-and-so said part of the narrative, and this is fine when it's a radio play and everyone that has a different voice- this is not so great when it's one or two people reading an entire book.) But that's an old standby. You really can't go wrong with Discworld. So I don't remember if you've gotten into the series yet or not- fortunately it's made up of little mini arcs or groupings of protagonists, so you don't actually have to start it book one and then figure out how to slowly and ponderously make it to the one you actually wanted to read, you just have to figure out how to get on that Loop of the larger- much larger! - course of Discworld so to speak. Two great starting points are Mort, a book about a guy who become deaths Apprentice, and guards! Guards!, about the Night Watch of the big fantasy City where in most Discworld books are set. There are a few books which concerned death and his family, and then there are a few books that are focused around the city watch and they're captain, so it's too easy points to slide on into the world. Also I imagine that libraries will have plenty of copies of these books thanks to their popularity, but right now everyone is probably fussing and huffing about Lord of the Rings because that's getting in better press right now that will lead to people doing Mad things like actually reading the cimarillion, and I'm not even going to correct Google Voice on that one, it did its best. So I'm betting the availability of even things like the new audiobooks will be pretty high. That is however going back to fantasy novels, and you may just need to read something more radically different to get your brain out of being bored in a rut.

@lapis I realized that all of these recommendations are depressingly white and largely male, which is entirely on me, and something I'm seeking to fix, but also these are kind of easy answers of old standbys, instead of getting into really nitty-gritty and often justifiably tragic books. These are very much keeping it light, because sometimes you want stupid puns instead of a Frank and necessary conversation about how racism ruins lives internationally. And also a book about Marie Antoinette's hairdresser, which isn't really all that light when you think about it given the whole Revolution thing, but I'm still sticking with that. And also Devil in the White City which is even more grim, but you know what, I think I have dug myself into enough of a hole here so I'll just stop lol

@lapis @porsupah I recommend The Last Watch to anyone who likes Sci Fi. It’s Battlestar Galactica meets the Expanse, with good characters. Warning: it’s an unfinished trilogy with two books out.

@ejk @lapis @porsupah Pah! Local library has it physically only, time for the "get the actual book or not" debate.

@lapis one of my current faves for SF is Adrian Tchaikovsky. He's written some fantasy, but his SF is generally more to my liking, contrary to my usual preferences.

Though be aware he's got a thing for spiders in many of his books.

@lapis Another favorite is T Kingfisher. She writes she horror, which I've been meh on, but there's a horror-tinged fantasy series with a lot of humor in the narrative voice set in the "world of the White Rat." The first is technically Clockwork Boys, but I think Paladin's Grace (start of a subseries) is a great starting point.

@lapis I should add that there's plenty of queer folks in Kingfisher's books, in amongst the guilt-wracked paladins seeking meaning.

@naga I'll look into it. The only thing I'm familiar with of T. Kingfisher's was "Jackalope Wives" as read by LeVar Burton (and that may have been under Ursula Vernon) though I did LOVE that story 👀

@lapis Dead Astronauts or Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, and The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley!

@MmeLibertine @lapis I liked The Stars are Legion but I would point out that it is full of really upsetting body horror. The setting is a fleet of bioships that have been inhabited for thousands of years and are breaking down, and because all the technology is meat the attitudes of the inhabitants are very...functional towards anything made of meat, such as other people.

@robotcarsley @lapis that is a very fair watchout, ty!! I forget my friends and I are little goblins about that kind of stuff

@lapis Murderbot diaries are good and fast in my experience (i’ve also been struggling to get in gear with books)

@ejk @mood @lapis 👍 came here to signal-boost this. Murderbot Diaries I think won Hugo Best Series last year. Divine.

(Separately, let me know if library doesn't have something you want to read, I can sponsor some of your reading list.)

@lapis my recommendation would be The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson. It's about a fantasy empire at age of sail/Enlightenment era development and the indigenous lesbian who resolves to destroy it in retaliation for its destruction of her life and her home.

@lapis
Have you read the books by @vicorva ?
(I can't find that you have, on the Storygraph)
Non-Player Character is one of my favourite books.

@storydragon @vicorva I don't think I have? I'll add it to the list, thank you!

@lapis While I haven't read it, I've heard The Seven Husbands of Evelyn by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Historical, Romance) a lot in booktube lately, so hopefully it's hot enough. Though if you're looking for series:

- The Drowning Empire by Andrea Stewart (first book being The Bone Shard Daughter): Fantasy
- The Locked Tomb by Tamsyn Muir (first book being Gideon the Nint): Fantasy, SciFi
- The Bloodsworn Saga by John Gwynne (first book being The Shadow of the Gods): Fantasy
- The Green Bone Saga by Fonda Lee (first book being Jade City): Fantasy, SciFi

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