Your reading is dragging, and you can’t quite figure out what book to pick up. Maybe EVERYTHING looks good, and it’s stifling your ability to make an actual decision. You may be hovering on the edge of a reading slump. The best way to cure one is to read an unputdownable book with NO WAITING. Get your grabby hands on these backlist books to cure a reading slump right this minute.
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older is a book we’ve loved and loved and loved here on Book Riot, and it’s not without reason, obvs. This is a super-fast story about a girl discovering a web of secrets around her, and the power she’s poised to inherit. Older creates such a great atmosphere within Sierra’s community, and the magic system that moves through this book–combining ancestral spirits and art–is so unique. It’s a winner on paper, but the audio blew me away. Anika Noni Rose infuses the reading with such passion and personality…I blushed a bit during the kissy scenes. Swoon!
salt. by nayyirah waheed is a fiery collection of poetry. It sucked me in immediately but ultimately prompted me to slow the frack down to appreciate, savor, and wallow in it. waheed explores life as a person of color, an immigrant, cultural ideals of beauty and womanhood with stunning recurring themes and imagery. Her style is concise, and it knocked me on my ass. Everything about this collection screams: LISTEN.
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo centers on Amanda Hardy, a trans teen and the new girl in school in a small, rural school. She figures out how to traverse social cliques and make friends, and she finds herself falling for Grant, a cute, geeky, football player. Interspersed with her everyday life at school, the reader learns about Amanda’s past, and her decision to transition. It’s a great story, a fast read, and I soooo appreciated the author’s note in the back of the book that explains how and why she chose some of the paths she wrote for Amanda and how they fit (or not) into an understanding of trans life.
Princess Jellyfish Volume 1 by Akiko Higashimura is the best manga ever! Ok, it might be the first one I’ve read of my own volition, but it grabbed me enough to make me want to read the rest of the series and explore more manga in general. The publisher’s blurb describes this one as “fangirl taking on Tokyo” and yep, that’s it! Tsukimi, the protagonist, lives in an apartment building for geek girls, and they are hardcore in their fandoms. A chance encounter at a pet store puts Tsukimi in touch with a type of person she and her friends desperately try to ignore: a hip, stylish woman! That’s not all there is, my friends. Oh no. Nothing is ever as it seems.
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen is the SAA book I most want to re-read. It’s one of those quick, fun, quirky, sweet, comfort books that might give me a cavity if I wasn’t in the right mood. But hey, I am in the right mood, and I hope you are, too. It’s all about the Waverly sisters, tucked away in a quaint North Carolina town with an enchanted apple tree and emotions going into the food they cook. I got some distinct Practical Magic movie vibes, but this book is lighter and more delightful. It is just the thing for settling in by the pool or in an air conditioned living room. Anywhere. Settle down with it anywhere.
The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery is the audiobook I love to shove on people when they ask for recommendations. It’s so hard to explain why someone should pick up a nonfiction book about cephalopods. First, it’s a very personal book. This is not hard science, it’s a heartfelt story about Montgomery’s experience befriending an aquarium octopus. She’s as surprised as anyone to find that these creatures have distinct personalities, they are extremely intelligent, and by living this experience it challenges and opens her ideas on consciousness in general. Montgomery’s reading of it is so lovely and earnest. Just get it. Now!