Have you ever taken a break from reading, not because you are too busy or because you just can't focus, but because you chose to? Well, I have taken a vacation from reading. That sounds a little odd coming from someone who is literally paid to encourage others to read and give book suggestions. Sometimes it's all too much, though, and it can become more of a chore and less of a pleasurable experience. This is especially true if your entire life is books.
I haven't read a book in over a month, and it has been a glorious month! I've spent more quality time with my partner and cuddling with my pets. I've fallen back in love with some other hobbies of mine I told myself I didn't have time for anymore or that they weren't as important as reading. To be honest, after the emotional rollercoaster that was reading Carry On again, I needed a break. It's been interesting and fairly enjoyable (there has been a lot of time for Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Golden Girls marathons, after all). However, I'm ready to get back to "normal" and get to reading again.
The good news is, I have had plenty of time to mull over what I want to read, and I've gotten pretty excited about these new releases. They're some good ones in my opinion, so I suggest you add them to your reading list, as well.
Guillermo del Toro's award-winning The Shape of Water was hit or miss for people—some thought it was just creepy fish erotica, while others (like me) thought it was a beautiful masterpiece of modern-day fairy-telling and also, okay, so it was kind of creepy fish erotica. If that's your thing as well (no judgement here) then The Pisces is an excellent read-a-like. The second the book was compared to The Shape of Water, so I knew I would jump right in.
To be fair, Circe is probably already on everyone's reading lists. Just in case someone hasn't heard, though, Madeline Miller has finally released another book! Yay! She's most known for her stunning debut, The Song of Achilles, which I have to admit I have never finished reading. That's mostly due to the fact that her storytelling is so gorgeous, I kept having to stop and have a good cry at the magnificence of it all. I can't wait to read both and sob uncontrollably forever and ever.
Okay, so technically, this isn't going to be released until September, but this one will be worth the wait, I promise! I first heard about The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock last year when it was all the rage on British Booktube—it's already become a firm favorite of many, and it was even shortlisted for the Women's Prize For Fiction (Kamila Shamsie's Home Fire won). The premise is a magical realism take on historical fiction and it sounds like my new favorite novel, just waiting to be read.
Yet another huge hit on British Booktube! This book is essentially the queer coming-of-age story of my dreams. When I saw that we had received an advanced reader's copy of this book and that it was sitting on my co-worker's desk, I'm pretty sure I screamed a little and then sort of forcefully convinced her to give it up (sorry, Meredith). This little buddy has been living on my vanity for months, and I'm excited to finally get to it. I'm pretty sure it will make me cry.
I've started and stopped this book several times, for the same reason why I have yet to finish a Madeline Miller book. Fatima Farheen Mirza's writing is so poetic and captivating, I want to savor her words forever. She captures childhood and love and family in such a heartfelt and heartbreaking way. I love a good family saga, and I have a feeling this is going to be the best family saga. It might even be more of a favorite than my beloved Pachinko, which says a lot.
I've enjoyed my break from reading, but I have to admit I do miss opening a new book and being filled with the anticipation of what is to come. It's time to get back to it!
-Kimberly Lopez is a Reader Services Assistant at Lawrence Public Library.