This year started off hot in the book category (I absolutely loved Hamnet and Shuggie Bain proved well worth the effort), and I was finding myself handily able to hit my 2021 goal of reading three books a month. In fact, I read six books in the first six weeks of the year. But I’ve since fallen into a slump and am finding it difficult to motivate myself to read in the evenings. I’m sure this is partly owing to plans for a major life change, which have been consuming a lot of energy, thought, and conversation in the evenings, but I’m also coming off of reading a couple of slow-moving books that left me unfulfilled. I had high hopes for Matt Haig’s Midnight Library, which so many of you loved, and I did very much enjoy listening to it in Carey Mulligan’s lilting, soothing British accent on audiobook. But though the message was reassuring and uplifting (very Magpie-esque, I have to say), it also felt a bit heavy-handed and, by the end, overly didactic? (Trigger warning: the book deals with suicide.) I finished it in neutral, coasting to its end and then gliding back into my real life without looking back. I can’t parse why. I normally eat the glass-half-full type missives with a spoon, and I found some of the fiction in it exceptionally creative (the polar bear scene!) and the premise wildly, winningly novel. But. It left me lukewarm.
Then I started Anna North’s Outlawed (a feminist Western) in search of quick distraction. The plot is fast-moving but I cannot stand the narrator in the audiobook. Her performative accents are highly distracting. I’ve thought about toggling over to the Kindle version, but can’t say I’m so dialed in on the narrative that I’m willing to make the shift? I’ll finish it, as I’m about halfway through and it is easy listening, but — I can’t say I greet my evening dishwashing chore with as much alacrity as I normally do when I’m knee-deep in a good book.
I’ve simultaneously been making my way through Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which is interesting, but laborious, and Lisa Unger’s Confessions on the 7:45, a thriller with decent reviews that I simply cannot clip into. It’s got all the markings of a Magpie thriller favorite — questions about how well you know your loved ones! mysterious happenstances and path-crossings! narrative techniques that deliberately obscure and mislead! — but I am finding it slow and at the same time confusing.
What is going on with me?! Am I too clouded with other thoughts to make space to read at the moment? Has this happened to you? Magpies, lead me home!
In the past, the only way I have made my way out of the dreaded reading rut is to find something new that grabs me and snaps me back into voracious reading mode. I need a Dutch House or a Ruth Ware, please and thank you. Any suggestions on titles?! How do you get out of a reading slump?
+This $68 dress in the khaki or black – wow wow wow. So The Row chic!
+These folding chairs are so chic! (File under: things I have not thought I would ever need while living in Manhattan.)
+Your baby girl needs these denim shortalls. Too sweet.
+These neutral, patterned towels are SO chic, especially if you are into a Scandi-cool vibe. They look like Missoni or something! I’m obsessed!
+Get the D. Porthault coeurs look for less with this absolutely precious heart dress.
+This two-piece is fun. I have to say I have been seeing a lot of this brand over the last few months and…I’m very intrigued to jump on the bandwagon.