Am I in a Reading Rut?

If you follow my podcast, you know that I read, like, a lot. Usually 1-2 books a week. As an adult trying to do adult things, that’s a lot of books, but truly nothing compared to teenage me. I just finished Eragon (again) because I was looking for a cozy re-read. I remember loving Eragon when I was younger. Now that I’m finished, I’m like… where do I go from here?

It seems like out of the millions of books out there, not a single one of them is really calling to me. I’ve thought about reading Dune since it’s supposed to be iconic science fiction. I’ve thought about reading Shadow and Bone both because I love Leigh Bardugo and because the Netflix series seems like a good one. And yet, I feel like I’m in a rut. You know when you’re hungry but nothing sounds good? Yeah, it’s like that.

I wonder if my reading rut and my writing rut coincide. Because I’ll be honest with you guys: my writing has been seriously slow going. A couple hundred words a day, max. On a good day I can crank out four or five thousand, but I haven’t had one of those days in a while. I think I might be in a mild depressive episode, so I’m trying to be gentle with myself, productivity-wise. If motivation and inspiration strike, I pull up my document and get to typing. Even if I’m neither motivated nor inspired, I still pull up my document and get to typing.

I really should do the same with reading. Reading is just as important to being a writer as the actual act of writing. I use reading as a way to formulate new plot ideas, and to learn new ways to phrase things. Lately though, I’ve just been….blah.

The thing is, if we only ever do the things we must do when inspired or motivated, nothing would ever get done. Is my progress, like, impossibly slow? Yes. But am I still making progress? Also yes.

So, readers, I just bought Dune for my Kindle, and I have Scrivener up and ready for my horror novel. We’re making progress today, even if we have to do it kicking and screaming.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Okay, this book was a surprise to me. I’d see it on the Book of the Month Instagram page for what felt like forever (No, I don’t have a BOTM subscription — yet), and I was in a rut with my reading. Wasn’t sure what to pick up next. So I ordered this one on a whim and was pleasantly surprised!

Here’s a quick synopsis from Amazon:

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

Sounds interesting right? As we move forward, I’ll avoid major spoilers as much as possible, but proceed at your own risk!

The Good

This story really moved. It hooked me from the very beginning with the line, “Nineteen years before she decided to die…” I mean, talk about a hook, right? The book kept with this theme throughout, and it kept the events moving along at a good speed. I wouldn’t say it was quick, but the pacing was about perfect for the story at hand.

I also liked that the main character, Nora Seed, does undergo change throughout the book. Nothing worse than a character that goes to hell and back completely unchanged.

I really enjoyed the concept as a whole. I think we’ve all wondered what happens after we die, and this was an interesting exploration of that.

The Bad

This isn’t really a negative for me, but it could be for others. This book does focus heavily on suicide and the state of mind leading up to the act; this could definitely be triggering for some people. So bear that in mind as you move forward.

At first, for me, the main character was kind of…annoying? Insufferable? I’m not totally sure of the best word there, but I think you know what I mean. Her feelings of sadness at how her life turned out felt quite repetitive to me at times. However, as I read on, her state of mind became clearer and I was able to empathize with her, as well as see her change — what’s more, you could actually see her wanting to change.

My final negative is that I felt the story was a bit predictable in terms of knowing how it was going to end. Everything was all wrapped up in a nice bow and Nora came to an obvious realization (well, obvious in my opinion). While I do think there’s something to be said for a story leading to the ending that you expect, I thought there was opportunity for different decisions to be made with regards to the ending.

The Verdict

All in all, I still give this one 4.5 stars. Maybe even 5 if I’m in a good mood. It was a really enjoyable read, and overall it felt like a fresh, new idea.