Yes, that’s right. Top Ten Tuesday is making a return on my blog. It was very short lived before, but I feel it’s the perfect way for me to get back into scheduling posts once I’m back at Uni while still getting to talk about the books I love!
This week’s prompt is ‘Books to pull you out of a reading slump‘, something that happens to me during Winter pretty much every year for around five years. I read a hecka ton during Summer but once school starts and the temperature drops to freezing I lose the desire to read, so I feel I’m quite qualified to suggest books that helped me get back into reading during/after these slumps!
1&2: Gotham Academy and Giant Days
These are my two favourite comic series, and ones that I love, regardless of my reading mood. I wholeheartedly recommend them to people struggling with reading slumps. Also, if you want a gateway into comedy comics, Giant Days is the best, and for anyone wanting to get into DC/find they struggle with bigger titles, Gotham Academy is my favourite DC title to date!
Gotham Academy is currently a finished series, with five volumes [3 in first year, 2 in second] and a crossover with Boombox called Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy. It follows a group of kids at Gotham Academy as they uncover mysteries on and outside of campus, as well as their own personal issues with identity, family and relationships. It’s a wonderful series, and also has my two favourite DC characters- Mia ‘Maps’ Mizoguchi and Damian Wayne [in a cameo role], who have a WONDERFUL friendship.
Giant Days is written by John Allison and follows three friends- Daisy, Susan and Esther- as they navigate their way through undergrad at a UK university. I re-read these like mad during my first semester of university when I was in a reading slump, and they really helped. They are incredibly light hearted and fun, although there is a fair share of hard moments- if you struggle with homesickness, course loads, family stuff, there’s going to be something in there for you. There’s also a novel adaptation by Non Pratt that I LOVED, and I hope to upload my review on the blog, so keep an eye out for that!
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa3: Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
I read Station Eleven when I was in year 11 during the height of GCSEs, barely reading a thing at the time, and I loved it. It’s slow paced, focused around characters more than anything else, which can be the exact thing you need during a slump. I know that some people need energetic plots to get them out of a slump, so this recommendation may not be for everyone, but I know it was perfect for me at the time, and I definitely think it’s due a re-read as I go into my second year of university in September [approaching 4 years since I first read this book!]
fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff 4: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
I started The Upside of Unrequited once before around a year ago, and never finished it. However after my first year university exams, when I hadn’t read anything novel-like for a while and was struggling with personal issues that kept me from enjoying reading, I decided to read this on a whim, and it ended up kick starting my big summer of reading. I’ve read around 60 things this Summer alone thanks to this book, and it also got me back into highlighting and writing in books. It’s by no means the happy read I was expecting- I cried a lot at how much I saw myself in Molly- but it gave me something to focus on that wouldn’t take an overwhelming amount of energy when I didn’t leave my flat for over 2 weeks, so I highly recommend it for getting out of a reading slump!
5: Coffee Boy/Peter Darling by Austin Chant
Beautiful beautiful novella-length stories are the way to go for slumps, and Austin Chant is perfect for this. Not only are his works diverse and challenge difficult topics wonderfully in the smaller page count, they also read easily and you spend less time having to read pages of pointless world building- the world building is all relevant and fun in these [I just can’t be bothered with pages and pages of info dumping that so many fantastical inspired reads have]- and can be introduced to the characters and romances in less time. I had a great time reading both of these, and I really cannot recommend them enough!
6&7: My Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi/Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa
Yes, that’s right. M a n g a.
I was reading both of these series the entire time I was in my reading slump second semester of university, as well as watching the animes for both. I find that manga, like comics, give you the chance to be introduced to characters and worlds easily due to the art- they are more visual and, while you are emotionally invested in characters, you can also speed through these in a way you can’t with novels.
My Hero Academia follows a world where nearly everyone is born with a ‘quirk’- a superpower. Teenager Midoriya is quirkless, but doesn’t let that stop him from trying to be like his idol All Might. You learn almost immediately that this series will follow Midoriya rising through the ranks to become the #1 hero, and is such a wholesome story about friendship and rivalries, as the students in Midoriya’s class come together to take down the League of Villains.
Fullmetal Alchemist is an iconic series, and my favourite manga and anime of all time. It follows brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, who commit the greatest taboo in alchemy- human transmutation- and pay the price. There are so many different characters and overarching stories in this series. While the main focus is always on Edward and Alphonse returning their bodies to normal, there’s also Roy Mustang trying to rise through the ranks of the military with the help of his peers; themes of war and destruction explored as Scar exacts revenge on the Alchemists who destroyed his land; a look into loss, religion and female empowerment; and them all uniting to go up against the ultimate threat, the Homunculus, and their leader, Father.
fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff8: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Through the Woods is a graphic novel, a collection of different stories that feel like very sinister and terrifying fairy tales you wouldn’t want your children to read. The artwork is stunning- the colour palette is beautiful, and the style/evocations of body horror that is present are horrifying- and each story is a delight. This is easy, easy enough that I read it twice in a day, and I think it’s perfect for pulling you out of a slump. Perfect for those Autumn/Winter reading slumps!
9: Poetry collections
I think poetry collections have kept my reading consistent this year. Not only do they offer me inspiration and a chance to look at what prompts other people write poetry based off, they are also just a compact look at poets and the things they find important. Like stories reliant on illustrations, poetry are also easy and quick to read.
Everything is Everything by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is one of my recent favourite poetry collections, and Howling at the Moon by Darshana Suresh is my favourite poetry collection of all time, so I would highly recommend them. Trigger warning for content, however- it’s been a while since I read Howling, but in Everything is Everything Cristin writes about themes of rape and bestiality [in the same poem, which is as horrific as it sounds].
I’ve been reading webcomics since Nimona by Noelle Stevenson was still available in its entirety online. Webcomics have been my reading slump friend- the best alternative to reading physical comics/graphic novels, because technically, they are free, and episodic, which makes them easier to digest [although you can support the comic creator, fund kickstarters, etc.].
Long Exposure by Mars [available through tapas.io] is a supernatural-esque romance following Jonas, a chubby nerd who likes to skateboard and do good in school, and Mitch, the guy who bullied him growing up who has recently returned to school after some time away, as they get drawn into a whole other world while still struggling through the mundane parts of life [AND ROMANCE] in highschool. I really love this webcomic- probably my second favourite webcomic of all time- and I highly recommend.
Heartstopper is written and drawn by my favourite author of all time, Alice Oseman. Set around a year before the events of her book Solitaire, it follows Charlie Spring [main character Tori’s younger brother] and Nick Nelson, a rugby player at Charlie’s school in the year above, as they make their way through secondary school and also get into a really cute romance. I’m not gonna lie, most of the webcomics I read are cute and gay, and I have no remorse for loving this. Lovely art, great characters, and tackles some difficult topics while still having adorable moments- the Alice Oseman way!
And finally, my favourite webcomic of all time: Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu. We start with Eric Bittle, 5’6 and one of the new freshmen playing for the men’s hockey team at his college, and we follow him all the way through to what is now his final year at college [the comic is separated into ‘Years’]. I have read this webcomic at least 5 times in the past 2 years. It’s so easy to just sit down and fly through, and there’s a physical copy collecting the first two Years available online now to pre-order for release on September 1st, which I will 100% be buying. It covers everything, from sexuality to finding your place amongst frat bros, and is just so wholesome. No matter the angst you feel reassured that the characters will end up happy, and that’s what’s so important about this comic to me. [Also, for any readers, Derek Nurse is my favourite. I have a music playlist for him and everything].
I’d also recommend: Paranatural, Countdown to Countdown, The Witch Journals
And that’s my top ten recommendations of books/kinds of reading materials to help you out of a slump! I’d love to know what you read to get out of a slump- Winter is coming, after all- and I would also love to know who everyone else’s favourite character is in Check Please!