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As an avid reader, I’ve experienced reading slumps far more times than I’d like to admit. Luckily, with experience comes wisdom and knowledge. Stepping back and exploring new genres is a tried and true method that I’ve found to successfully conquer reading slumps. In my exploration of new genres, I discovered 3 books that were able to reignite my love for reading, and I would love to share them with you!

1. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki 

TW: Mentions of suicide & bullying

Sixteen-year-old Nao is a second-generation Japanese girl who finds herself uprooted from her home in California to move back to Tokyo after her father loses his job. She feels disconnected from her new surroundings and is severely bullied by her peers due to her foreign status as a Japanese American. Her family life is just as unhappy, with her only comfort being writing about her hardships in her secret diary. Feeling that there’s no escape from her misery, she contemplates suicide. Across the Pacific and several years in the future, novelist Ruth (the other protagonist, not to be confused with the author of this book), discovers a washed-up lunchbox containing Nao’s diary on the beach that she suspects to be an artifact from Japan’s 2011 tsunami. Upon reading her diary, Ruth is pulled into the past, investigating Nao’s unknown fate as their stories begin to intertwine. The book jumps between the two characters, with Ozeki expertly weaving together their voices to craft a beautifully told story. 

One of my best friends recommended this book when I was in a particularly horrid reading slump, and it’s not hard to see why they did. Nao’s narration is heart-wrenching, compelling, and poignant as she searches for meaning in her life and navigates trying to belong in a foreign place. I cried my heart out at the end of this novel (in the best way, I swear) and my views on life and time were completely altered. The book can be a tad bit depressing and overwhelming at times, but I would still highly recommend it to all who feel lost.  

2. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie  

Ten strangers are invited to a weekend getaway in an extravagant mansion on an isolated island by a mysteriously absent host. Their rooms were beautifully furnished with a framed famous nursery rhyme, titled “Ten Little Indians”, and a delicious dinner has been prepared. After dinner, the guests begin to mingle with one another until something unthinkable happens. Out of nowhere, a recorded message accuses each guest of having committed murder. By the end of the night, one of the guests ends up dead. The next morning, another guest dies. The remaining guests realize that the deaths are occurring as they’re described in the framed nursery rhyme. There’s a killer among the guests and unless their identity is discovered, the pattern of deaths will only persist until… there are none. 

This is one of my all-time favorite Agatha Christie novels. It’s incredibly well-written, and in my humble opinion, one of the best mystery novels ever written. It also completely jumpstarted my love for the genres of mystery and thriller. Christie is a master at crafting an engaging plot and building suspense, leaving subtle clues for readers to discover. This crime thriller is sure to keep you hooked and shook when the murderer is finally revealed.

3. A Man and His Cat by Umi Sakurai 

This endearing slice-of-life manga series follows the life of an old widower Mr. Kanda who adopts an unwanted cat, Fukumaru, as they gradually find mutual comfort and companionship together. 

This was my first taste of the Manga form of storytelling and it did not disappoint. It was such a wholesome read and it filled my heart with warmth seeing each interaction between the two characters. Sakurai’s illustrations are so charming and pair well with the light-hearted dialogue. Though it can be quite difficult to adjust to the Manga reading style, it’s immensely worth it. I would highly recommend this book to those who are in need of a dose of literary serotonin to lift them out of their reading slump! 

These three books have rebuilt my love for reading and have opened my eyes to different genres, as well as new forms of storytelling. I sincerely hope that these books also assist you in overcoming your reading slump!

Vivian is a second-year English major at UC Davis. In her spare time, she enjoys watching Studio Ghibli movies, attempting new recipes she finds online, and drawing.
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