Friday, November 2, 2012


    Today, a regular (and, dare I say, a favorite) customer came in with a quandary. In the midst of Scott Hutchins’ A Working Theory of Love (a book I haven’t read, but which everyone, including this beloved customer, seems to have enjoyed), he still couldn’t find the get-up-and-go to get excited about reading. As a certified expert in the field of prescriptive books (self-proclaimed), I had only one prescription: a slump-buster.
    Both fortunately and unfortunately, the phrase means something different to everyone. I won’t begin to tell you your own perfect slump-buster, because you might have different leanings than I do. Where some might go for Stephen King’s The Shining, I typically reach for something in our Young Adult section. Either way, slump-busters are the perfect excuse to whip out something you might otherwise have deemed too fluffy, juvenile, plot-based, or what have you. All bets are off, and all judgments get put aside (for at least a few chapters or so).
    Here are some of my favorite, most trusted reads that have gotten me out of a slump or two in the past:

    1. The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan -- This one’s efficacy boils down to its alternative format. Every entry is a dictionary definition, as applied to a relationship that may or may not be crumbling. The chronology jumps all over the place, which makes it almost more like a puzzle than a traditional book.
    2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins -- Sure, I had some issues with parts of this book, but when it boils down to it, the story will keep your eyes glued to the page. Sometimes it’s all about wanting to know what happens next, and personally, I’m a sucker for a good dystopian novel.
    3. Your Body is Changing by Jack Pendarvis -- Another example of a shift in my typical oeuvre bringing me out of my slump. I wouldn’t call myself a humor writing connoisseur, and YET, I could not put these hilarious short stories down. Literal LOLs.
    4. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket -- Returning to a childhood favorite has reawakened my interest in even the driest texts. After a stint with Snicket’s Baudelaire siblings (some of the best characters of all time!), I could return to college-assigned Faulkner with fresh eyes. Talk about a twisted plot!

Other suggestions: Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, anything by Charles Portis, any of Barry Hannah’s short stories, the Best American series, the Game of Thrones series.

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