I think I’ve busted out of my mini reading slump. For about a week I was adrift. I couldn’t sustain any momentum in reading. I picked, I dabbled, I put books down. I was tired; I slept. I watched Downton Abbey and General Hospital. I frittered away time on the internet. Inwardly, and melodramatically, I wondered if I could trust myself to choose books anymore.
And then I finished a book! It started slowly, but quickly picked up the pace and ended up being really fun. It’s a Teen/YA book called The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, the first in a series called The Shades of London. It’s a ghost story and a mystery, with a smidgen of teen romance in it – nothing cringe-inducing, though. And it didn’t have any of the teen angst that sometimes is too much for this grumpy almost-forty-year-old reader to take. I look forward to reading the other two in the series. I don’t read a great deal of Teen/YA fiction, but I like to read a little bit to be able to recommend titles to my library patrons.
Speaking of YA, I’ve read (or listened to) probably the BEST novel of that kind that I’ve ever read. It’s Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Alexie read the book himself, and he was amazing. It took me forever to listen to, simply because we had a lot of bad weather in February and I wasn’t driving to and from work like I normally would to be able to listen to it. (And at this point I’m a CD audiobook listener.) This book alternately pierced my heart and made me cackle out loud more than once. There’s a scene between the main character and his one of his friends in the school library (which I call the “metaphorical boner scene”) that I had to listen to three times because it was so funny and perfect. Part-Time Indian centers on Arnold “Junior” Spirit, a 14 year old member of the Spokane Indian tribe who lives on the reservation with his mom, dad, and older sister. Junior is smart and hilarious and wants bigger things than life on the res can give him, even as that causes him great guilt. This is a terrific book for reluctant teen readers, but it does have a good deal of cursing in it, and heavy themes, so be warned about that. But Junior and his family and friends sparkle with life and wit and charm, even in the midst of some truly heartbreaking events. If you’ve ever felt like an outsider at any point in your life, you will relate to this book. This is a read I’ll never forget. It earned its spot on my “Favorites” Goodreads list.
Spring is coming! Warmer weather, green shoots emerging from the earth, changing the clocks forward… the signs of the new season are out there. Maybe my slump was induced by the last gasp of winter – one can only hope! Happy reading, everyone!