I love to read, and I love to talk about the books I like best with other people. Every couple months here on the blog I choose my favourites from what I’ve read lately and write about them. As always, you can see everything I’m reading on my Goodreads profile. You can also check out what I’m reading in real time at #stephlovestoread on Instagram.
I had a great conversation this week with my friend Katie about reading slumps. Are you in one? I know for a fact I was in one for the past few months and my reading life (my precious reading life!) took a serious hit. We developed a great strategy for getting out of one, if you happen to be in one yourself:
- Ask your friends for recommendations
- Go to the library and choose whatever looks good
- Stop reading a book if you don’t like it
- Read what you actually like, not what you think you’re supposed to like.
- Re-read Austin Kleon’s reading rules
And voila! I cured myself this week with a one-two punch of my book club pick for this month (a fast, easy, fun read) and Commonwealth, which I’m devouring. It feels so good to be back in the groove, and I resolved to make June a month of reading. If you’re looking for something good to read this month, may I recommend one of the following?
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
This was my pick for book club when it was my turn to choose the book and I’m so happy I did! I might not have ever gotten around to reading it (it’s rather long) had I not had our book club meeting to hold me accountable. That said, since reading it I’ve recommended it to everyone who will sit still long enough to listen to me. The tagline is totally accurate – it’s a brief history of humankind – and it’s told in such a compelling and matter-of-fact way that it’s a really enjoyable read. I love the way it presents the facts without much nostalgia or romance: it made me feel very, very small in the best possible way. Highly recommended for those who are interested in humans, history, and big ideas.
The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz
I finally got around to reading this one in March – it had been on my list for years. It’s a short book but contains quite a few interesting concepts about relationships and love that I’ve kept with me ever since reading it. These were my top 2 takeaways:
- If you want a dog but you have a cat, stop trying to change the cat into a dog and go get a dog instead.
- Keep your “kitchen” stocked all by yourself. If you don’t, you’ll wind up desperate and eat whatever stale pizza comes your way.
These might seem like simple ideas, but they’re much easier said than done! I have been guilty of both of these habits in past relationships. Very helpful stuff if you can remember to put it into practice.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
This book and Homegoing were nominated in the same category in the Goodreads choice awards and having read both I was pretty surprised that this one won. Having said that, this was still an interesting and important book. Growing up, the author thought that the Underground Railroad was an actual bonafide railroad with trains and stops, so this book contains his imaginings of what that may have looked like, without being fantastical in any way. The story is harrowing and sad and hard to read (as of course narratives about slavery usually are) and brings up some interesting questions. Not my favourite, but still a good read.
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
I loved this one and especially loved the discussions it brought up both in my book club and with other friends who had also read it. Having lived in Korea for a while, it was so interesting to read a book set there. It was cool to recognize aspects of the culture that I had noticed while there, as well as learn more about family life and customs that I would never have seen since I was a foreigner. The story is about a woman who decides to become a vegetarian, and the implications that the choice causes within her family. It’s also about a lot more than that, but I don’t want to say more without giving parts away! It’s a fast read but an intense one.
You can see all my book recommendation blog posts here.
What’s the best thing you’ve read lately? Tell me your recommendations!