nonexistent reads

The preteen me, on average, probably finished more books a year than the adult me does. I suppose it is a similar issue some others face, growing up an avid reader then managing to grow out of it. Books by Jacqueline Wilson were my favorite, because there was something so real about them, and although they were meant for a younger audience, they never completely treated their readers like kids. My life as an Arab child was far different from all of the main characters’ of Wilson’s books, but they still were so human, and I remember feeling that she didn’t really shy away from exploring the complexity of emotions and presenting them to children.

I grew, and the number of books I read on a yearly basis took a nosedive (let’s keep comics out of this now, shall we?) I only remember really enjoying murder mysteries during my teenage years, and even those I read very, very few of.

I grew, and tried to get back into reading. My cousin, (shoutout: theyoungdeer) a very, very active reader, especially compared to yours truly, has been lending me all of her favorite picks, and I enjoyed a number of them. But I still haven’t found a book that I’d give 5/5, and I wonder if I ever will.

For the most part, I try to stay away from the angry, all-caps reviews on Goodreads beforehand because I’d rather develop my own opinion (which eventually becomes that angry, all-caps review). I’m thoroughly disappointed by too many new releases, and although I struggle with plots and don’t even consider myself a writer in the first place, I’ve been finding most of my reads mundane and butchered and unworthy of the praise that I find on the back of their covers. Call me a pretentious prick, I deserve it.

But the books I love are very particular, I want them to unravel, to build up and then ease down, to entangle every word put into them and grow complex, then wrap up and conclude like a gift; I like uncomfortably real characters and complicated plots and simple, beautiful writing that flows and takes the reader along. I miss having a book that I don’t want to put down.

21 thoughts on “nonexistent reads

  1. If you are looking for an author to sink into and launch into incredibly complex characters that you cannot decide if you hate them or not, look into Chuck Palahniuk. He wrote the book Fight Club,. He has a fantastic way of making horrible people seem like people worth cheering for. My personal favourite was his book “Rant”. It is sci-fi by definition, but far from sci-fi.
    I do doubt you wrote this piece looking for recommendations, but I just had to put that one out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you! I actually did post this with the hopes of receiving recs without explicitly stating that. I actually haven’t read Fight Club, but will add Rant to my tbr. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was also ambivalent about commenting with a rec but since you’ve clarified, I’d recommend, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (Kingkiller Chronicles #1) in fantasy, and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr in historical fiction. Although they aren’t strictly mystery novels, I found them absolutely unputdownable.

    Hope you find the story you’re looking for!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For the most part I read romances, not really a conscious decision, but I enjoy them. I relate to your struggle of finding characters and plot with depth to them, it’s difficult for me to find books that truly captures my attention and keeps me reading till the end.
    I’ve found myself having readers block lately *massive sad face*. rediscovering a love of books is something I’ve had to do as well recently, I do hope you find something you enjoy, soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey thanks for checking out my blog!

    I did the same thing. I read all the time as a kid. But now time I could spend reading, is time I could spend adulting. So I end up just reading lots of short stories instead.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I struggle with getting myself back into reading regularly, and I’m an English major. I’m still consuming stories, just on Netflix instead. However, being a writer, I feel that I need to read more to sharpen my craft.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve found that the older I’ve gotten and the more I’ve read, it’s become REALLY hard to find books I fall in love with. I think part of that is that, as a genre reader, a lot of books I read now I’ve already kind of seen done before. Plus having read so much (both for pleasure and for school – I did a MA in Lit), it’s much harder to find really good books because many books are honestly average (enjoyable enough to read, but not really great). On the flip side of this though, when I do stumble on something I think is actually great, it stands out that much more.

    lol since other people are giving recommendations, I’ll throw a few more out too:

    -Uprooted by Naomi Novik – it’s fantasy and I loved it – couldn’t put it down! It’s also a standalone fantasy, which made me happy, too.
    -Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson – another fantasy (currently a standalone). It’s got fantastic worldbuilding and some great characters.
    -Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt – this is more lit than any genre (but I guess western?) My brother recommended it to me (actually my entire family read it, it was that good).
    -Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis – this is another book that my entire family loved. It’s an allegorical tale (lit, not genre fiction). I will caution you though that not everyone I’ve talked to who has read it has loved it – it seems to be a real love it or hate it kind of book.
    -Dust by Elizabeth Bear – absolutely fantastic sci fi story. I didn’t care for the second book in the series as much though, but I think it’s fine to read on its own.

    All five of those were things I couldn’t put down! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Shauna! thanks for all the recs!
      I’ve actually read Uprooted, and it inspired my short story “Constellations”

      That being said, I actually disliked the book a lot. It’s not the writing, and although I found the story messy, it wasn’t all about that either. I just had such high expectations because the person who recommended it to me is a favorite writer of mine (who also holds a MA in literature). Her writing is absolutely beautiful and the relationships she writes are healthy and just..wholesome. I wasn’t expecting her favorite book to be like that. I found the Dragon just too mean to the main character, no matter how much I tried to accept his character. I was waiting for the relationship to grow and flourish, but it didn’t. That’s how I saw it, and that bed scene felt so out of place and just made me uncomfortable. I wish there were more tangible signs of character development than one line at the end.

      Maybe there’s beauty in the book that can’t be seen by someone who hadn’t studied literature since high school, and I’m sorry this ended up being a rant at your expense. I’m super happy you took the time to recommend different genres, and will surely check them out.

      Thank you 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s interesting because I didn’t feel that way about Uprooted at all! I always saw him as trying his best, but he just isn’t used to dealing with people. lol

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I love helping friends find new books to fall in love with. My top pick: A Gentleman in Moscow. It starts slow, but stick with it. Thanks for the opportunity to chime in. Lida


  8. I recently just finished the first book of The Maze Runner. That was the first time in a long time that I felt any sort of excitement about a book. I really understand how you feel. I used to read nonstop when I was younger. Perhaps as adults, we’re just pickier? Like, we’ve “seen it all” and it’s hard to find something that grabs our attention and takes us into a new world.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that sums it up. We’ve “seen it all” although that sounds almost profane, since I didn’t read all that much as a kid, either. I’ve never read The Maze Runner. It’s YA, so we wouldnt get along, lol


  9. Oh my goodness, I have been feeling like this about a ton of the books I’ve read lately. I was starting to think that I am being too particular in my reading and expecting too much from a story. But, am I? What happened to all those books that I read long ago and really enjoyed? Why does that not happen anymore? I feel you in your sentiments on this blog. Glad I’m not alone. Although I still don’t know where we are to go to find a good read…?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no idea. I can’t really say that I’ve read so much that my standards are way too high,or that that’d trained me to nitpick at every fault. I just suddenly became this way. The last book that I really enjoyed was Educated, Tara Westover’s memoir, I think it’s worth a shot 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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