Top Ten Tuesday: Books To Pull You Out Of A Reading Slump

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

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Hello and welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday! This one is interesting because everyone has different tastes and different ways of getting out of a reading slump. I’ve chosen these ten books for a few different reasons which I will, of course, explain below! I also should add that, for me personally, the Harry Potter books are my go-to for getting me out of a reading slump but I feel like I include HP every week so I decided not to include it in the list!

1. Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

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Summary: from Amazon

Noah was born a crime, son of a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the first years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, take him away.

A collection of eighteen personal stories, Born a Crime tells the story of a mischievous young boy growing into a restless young man as he struggles to find his place in a world where he was never supposed to exist. Born a Crime is equally the story of that young man’s fearless, rebellious and fervently religious mother – a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence and abuse that ultimately threatens her own life.

Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Noah illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and an unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a personal portrait of an unlikely childhood in a dangerous time, as moving and unforgettable as the very best memoirs and as funny as Noah’s own hilarious stand-up. Born a Crime is a must read.

Why:

This book was one of my absolute favourites of last year and I even bought the audiobook so I could listen to Noah tell his story himself. I honestly do not see how anyone could not be completely enthralled by this story. It is so funny and enjoyable but also such a fascinating and disturbing look at the day to day effects of Apartheid in South Africa whilst Noah was growing up. Born A Crime covers some dark topics but never feels like a chore to read due to the wit and warmth of the author. It’s a great book and I can really see it pulling someone out of a reading slump.

2. Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

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Summary: from Amazon

Catherine has been enjoying the single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic, spontaneous – Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell. But there is a darker side to Lee. His erratic, controlling and sometimes frightening behaviour means that Catherine is increasingly isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, and trusting no one, she plans a meticulous escape. Four years later, struggling to overcome her demons, Catherine dares to believe she might be safe from harm. Until one phone call changes everything. This is an edgy and powerful first novel, utterly convincing in its portrayal of obsession, and a tour de force of suspense.

Why:

It’s been years since I read Into The Darkest Corner but for some reason it has really stuck with me as one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve ever read. I think this genre is great for pulling you out of a slump and this book especially because it is so intense and electrifying. The book has a darkness running all the way through it and it’s also one of the best depictions of mental illness, and in particular Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that I’ve ever read. I would highly recommend this if you like thrillers and are in a bit of a slump!

3. Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit

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Summary: from Amazon

Rebecca Solnit’s essay ‘Men Explain Things to Me’ has become a touchstone of the feminist movement, inspired the term ‘mansplaining’, and established Solnit as one of the leading feminist thinkers of our time – one who has inspired everyone from radical activists to Beyonce Knowles. Collected here in print for the first time is the essay itself, along with the best of Solnit’s feminist writings. From rape culture to mansplaining, from French sex scandals to marriage and the nuclear family, from Virginia Woolf to colonialism, these essays are a fierce and incisive exploration of the issues that a patriarchal culture will not necessarily acknowledge as ‘issues’ at all. With grace and energy, and in the most exquisite and inviting of prose, Rebecca Solnit proves herself a vital leading figure of the feminist movement and a radical, humane thinker.

Why:

The reason I think this book is a good remedy for a reading slump is that it is a pretty short book which sometimes feels more easily manageable if you aren’t feeling like reading. I thought all these essays felt important, current and smartly written. They feel particularly timely because of the MeToo movement and bring up many additional perspectives and issues that I had not previously considered. It’s a great collection and I can see it being a good book for gently getting back into reading more.

4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Summary: from Amazon

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Why:

I think The Hate U Give is a really good book but the reason I think it would be good for pulling you out of a reading slump is that it’s immensely readable – if that makes sense. It moves at a great pace and the characters all feel real and complex. It was such a hugely popular book last year and so many people were talking about it and I think if you’re struggling to get out of a slump then reading a book that you can discuss with other readers is a good choice!

5. The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

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Summary: from Amazon

One ran. One stayed. But who is…the good daughter?

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s childhoods were destroyed by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father – a notorious defence attorney – devastated. And it left the family consumed by secrets from that shocking night.

Twenty-eight years later, Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer. But when violence comes to their home town again, the case triggers memories she’s desperately tried to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime which destroyed her family won’t stay buried for ever…

Why:

I will basically use any excuse to recommend a Karin Slaughter book and The Good Daughter is one of her fantastic stand-alone novels. It is relentlessly brutal and dark which I know may put some readers off but if you don’t mind reading a book with a lot of violence then this one has a really fantastic story which kept me totally hooked until I finished the last page. It’s a relatively longish book but it honestly flies by which is very good for a reading slump.

6. Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

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Summary: from Amazon

On the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, DC, he’s a top student and a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret: he is queer – an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except his best friend, Meredith – the one person who seems not to judge him.

When his father accidentally finds out, the fallout is brutal and swift. Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding towards a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine. Neither will escape unscathed.

Why:

Speak No Evil is a really special book and I think it would be a good choice for when you’re in a slump because it’s really quite short – almost novella length really. So much happens in this slim book, however,  and the story it tells is heart-wrenching and compelling. The characters felt so brutally real to me and I was so affected by this book and I think if you’re in a slump you sometimes need a book that you can feel emotionally attached to which Speak No Evil certainly is.

7. We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

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Summary: from Amazon

In the spirit of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, a powerful collection of essays about gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman.

One month before the release of the highly anticipated film The Birth of a Nation, actress Gabrielle Union shook the world with a vulnerable and impassioned editorial in which she urged our society to have compassion for victims of sexual violence. In the wake of rape allegations made against director and actor Nate Parker, Union—a forty-four-year-old actress who launched her career with roles in iconic ’90s movies—instantly became the insightful, outspoken actress that Hollywood has been desperately awaiting. With honesty and heartbreaking wisdom, she revealed her own trauma as a victim of sexual assault: “It is for you that I am speaking. This is real. We are real.”

In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support.

Why:

I listened to this on audio when I was in a little bit of a reading slump myself and the conversational, relaxed tone of Union’s book really helped me feel like reading again. Her memoir is really good fun but doesn’t shy away from some more intense and controversial subjects which held my interest completely. I would definitely suggest it if you are feeling like you’re in a bit of a slump and if you can listen to the audiobook, I would really recommend that, plus an audiobook can be a great way to get back into reading when you don’t feel like it.

8. The War on Women by Sue Lloyd-Roberts

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Summary: from Amazon

In 1973, Sue Lloyd-Roberts joined ITN as a news trainee and went on to be one of the UK’s first video-journalists to report from the bleak outposts of the Soviet Union. Travelling as a tourist, she also gained access to some of the world’s most impenetrable places like China, Tibet and Burma. During her 40-year-long career she witnessed the worst atrocities inflicted on women across the world. But in observing first-hand the war on the female race she also documented their incredible determination to fight back.

The War on Women brings to life the inconceivable and dangerous life Sue led. It tells the story of orphan Mary Merritt who, age sixteen, instead of being released from the care of nuns was interned by them in a Magdalen Laundry and forced to work twelve hours a day six days a week, without pay, for over a decade. She gives voice to Maimouna, the woman responsible for taking over her mother’s role as the village female circumciser in The Gambia and provides a platform for the 11-year-old Manemma, who was married off in Jaipur at the age of six. From the gender pay gap in Britain to forced marriage in Kashmir and from rape as a weapon of war to honour killings, Sue has examined humankind’s history and takes us on a journey to analyse the state of women’s lives today. Most importantly she acts as a mouthpiece for the brave ones; the ones who challenge wrongdoing; the ones who show courage no matter how afraid they are; the ones who are combatting violence across the globe; the ones who are fighting back.

Sue sadly died in 2015, shortly after writing this book, today she is widely recognised as one of the most acclaimed television journalists of her generation. This book is the small tribute to the full and incredible life she lived and through it these women’s voices are still being heard.

Why:

This book just made me so indignant, sad and angry for women all over the world that I had to finish it practically in one sitting. I think that books that provoke a strong reaction are very good options for when one is in a reading slump and this book will definitely make you feel strong emotions. It is such a thoughtful and intelligently written collection of stories of the difficulties and atrocities women face in all corners of the globe. It is a phenomenal book.

9. Dark Chapter by Winnie M Li

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Summary: from Amazon

An astonishing and unique novel inspired by the author’s own story

Vivian is a cosmopolitan Taiwanese-American tourist who often escapes her busy life in London through adventure and travel. Johnny is a 15-year-old Irish teenager, living a neglected life on the margins of society.

On a bright spring afternoon in West Belfast, their paths collide during a horrifying act of violence.

In the aftermath, each is forced to confront the chain of events that led to the attack.

Inspired by true events, this is a story of the dark chapters and chance encounters that can irrevocably determine the shape of our lives.

Why:

This is another case of a book that provokes emotion being good for a reading slump as it keeps the reader engrossed. Dark Chapter was a difficult book to read because of the dark subject matter but it was also skilfully dealt with and well written. I feel like its a bit of a hidden gem because I haven’t seen it around much on blogs/bookstagram but it’s a really worthwhile and important read that would definitely pull me out of a slump.

10. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

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Summary: from Amazon

Hyperbole and A Half is a blog written by a 20-something American girl called Allie Brosh. She tells fantastically funny, wise stories about the mishaps of her everyday life, with titles like ‘Why Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving’ and ‘The God of Cake’. She accompanies these with naive drawings using Paint on her PC.

Brosh’s website receives millions of visitors a month and hundreds of thousands per day.
Now her full-colour debut book chronicles the many “learning experiences” Brosh has endured as a result of her own character flaws. It includes stories about her rambunctious childhood; the highs and mostly lows of owning a mentally challenged dog; and a moving and darkly comic account of her struggles with depression.

Why:

This one is something a little bit different! It is a hilarious collection of illustrations and accompanying anecdotes from the blogger Allie Brosh. I hadn’t read anything like this but it was so enjoyable and easy to read which is great for a reading slump. I also think the fact that it is full of drawings makes it a good choice for a slump if you don’t really feel like reading!

Well, there you have it – ten books to pull you out of a reading slump! Do you agree with my picks? What books work for pulling you out of a reading slump? Please lets chat in the comments and link to your own Top Ten Tuesday so I can give it a read!

32 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books To Pull You Out Of A Reading Slump

  1. Veronika Éles says:

    Love your list! I’ve only read The Hate U Give from here, but that one is one of my all time favorite novels. The Good Daughter and Into the Darkest Corner are two novels I’ve super-excited for, so it’s great to hear nice things about them!

    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

    Liked by 1 person

  2. alltimechelsea says:

    I’m in the middle of reading ‘The Hate U Give’ and I am loving it. At times I have almost cried, and others I have laughed out loud. It has made me feel so many things, which is rare for me while reading a book, I would highly recommend! Great post and some excellent recommendations! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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