The Dreaded Second Book Slump

We all know the drill. We read the first book in a new trilogy. We fall in love. We gush, we hype, we yell about the best book in creation at the top of our internet-lungs. Then, oh the torture, we have to wait a year (maybe even two!) for the sequel! So we wait, and we dream, and we imagine all of the things the rest of the series is going to be. Let’s be honest, we probably over-hype the book. Then, the day finally comes! We get our beautiful pre-ordered copy in the mail, and we don’t wait to dive right it! But… it’s just… fine.

Okay, even if it doesn’t go quite to that extreme, we all know that the second book in a trilogy is usually the weakest. Why?

The conflict has no where to go.

This is, I think, the main sticking point. I notice that often book 2 seems to be chasing itself in circles. So, a lot of times, the first book leaves us having firmly established the main conflict of the series, and has left the main character with a clear idea of what they need to do. But in the second book you can’t start resolving anything yet. So, what do you do? How do you continue to build when the main climax of the series isn’t even coming during this book?

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Why reading about people who look different than you matters

So I was listening to a really interesting episode of Annotated, a BookRiot Podcast, about The Baby Sitters Club. They had so many interesting things to say, and I highly recommend it if you’re a 90s kid and a podcast listener. But one of the things that got me really thinking was when they started talking about Claudia and representation.

Pre-BSC (and honestly, post-BSC too) it was unusual for minority readers, especially young minority readers, to see themselves in a book character. This episode of Annotated talked at length about the benefit of that, which I won’t go into much detail about here because so many other bloggers have said it so eloquently before.

But while I was listening, I really got to thinking about my favorite book series from the 90s. I was a BSC fan like anyone else, but my absolute favorite series was Animorphs. I know, you’re not shocked. I’ve only talked about it like, a million times. And if you’re thinking about what the folks on Annotated were talking about with Claudia, it’s really cool that so many young, black girls got to see themselves reflected in the character of Cassie. But here’s the thing.

I absolutely identified with Cassie too.

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Include Genres in your Reviews Please!

I feel like I’ve talked about this before, and I also feel like a bunch of people are going to criticize me for being a genre snob, but I’m writing this anyway. Because enough is enough people!

I should be able to tell when I am reading a review of your book what genre it is! Do NOT assume people can tell from the description, because in 2019 it’s not always obvious.

How many times did I go from blogger to blogger asking whether The Hating Game was romance or chick-lit? Because goodreads sure as heck isn’t clear, and none of the reviews I read came straight out and called it a “Romance” novel. Even when I asked, I couldn’t get a good answer. “Why does it matter Katie?” Because I don’t like sex scenes! I like romantic comedies, but I don’t want to read graphic depictions of sex. I’ve read a couple of romance novels now, and they’re not bad, they just aren’t for me.

YA is the worst, because so many YA bloggers just assume their readers know that they only blog about YA. But unless your blogs title has the words YA or Young Adult in the title, I can’t remember what genre you blog about! “Again, so what?” Well, y’all, I get burned out of YA suuuuuuuper fast, so I like to pace myself and not read too many in a row. Which I can’t do if I don’t know the book is YA.

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Planners vs. Bullet Journals

If there is anything that I’ve learned about bookish people in the past two and a half years, it’s that we LOVE journaling. And plannering. And coloring. Anything that allows us to express ourselves and be organized, and if we get to include books, all the better.

I’ve noticed that there are two camps. The bullet journal camp, and the planner camp. I’ve done both, and I am firmly in team planner. But I thought it might be fun to look at the pros and cons of each.

Bullet Journal

Pros

  • If you’re artistic, they are soooooo pretty
  • You get to have exactly what you want because you design every page!
  • Flexibility
  • Doesn’t have to be pricey
  • Pretty picture on Insta!
  • Improve your handwriting and calligraphy skills
  • Great online community
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Maybe I Should be Reading with Cliff’s Notes…

So there I am, reading a classic like Bless Me, Ultima or something. And I’m reading it, and it’s gorgeous, and I can tell that it’s amazing, and I can tell that the author is trying to tell me SOMETHING, but I just. can’t. figure. it out.

I can’t be the only person this happens to, right?

I don’t know what it is about 20th century literature, but I always feel like I’m missing something. I know enough about literature to be able to tell that something is going on, but not enough to tell what it is. Maybe it’s that the literary elements they teach us in school like metaphor and symbolism are more relevant to Romantic literature than Modern and Postmodern. Maybe it’s just that I don’t really know all that much about literature, and I can’t figure it out without a teacher holding my hand.

I really want to like these books. I feel like I almost like them. I just don’t understand them well enough.

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I Didn’t Know I Was Reading Wrong

It has come to my attention that apparently other people don’t audiate when they read.

I can hear the voices in my head now. Half of you are going “wtf is audiate?” and the other half are going, “hold the phone, you DO THAT????” Okay friends, let’s take this one question at a time.

Audiation is hearing the words in your head as you read them, as if you were listening to an audiobook or someone was speaking to you. Most people audiate when they are first learning to read. However, it has come to my attention that for many people, as you learn to recognize more sight words you stop “hearing” them when you read them. This allows you to read more text very quickly.

Next. Yes. Yes, I do audiate when I read. Even (apparently) when reading a stop sign or text message. Always.

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How Reading More Books Has Changed the Way I Remember Them

When I first started book blogging, I remember I would see people say things like “I can’t remember the characters’ names” and I would hardcore roll my eyes. I would think things like, geez, are these people even paying attention to what they read? How can I trust their review of a book if they can’t even remember something as basic as character names!

These days I find myself forgetting character names all the time. Sometimes immediately after finishing a book I can’t even remember the MAIN FREAKING CHARACTER’S name. So I’ve got a lot more sympathy for bloggers who forget. (And for the record, no I can’t always just go check because I get a lot of books from the library!)

So what changed?

It’s not hard to pinpoint. Prior to starting a book blog I averaged around 20 books each year. Last year I read more than 60 books.

There’s a couple obvious reasons that reading more books would cause you to not remember them as well. If I’m reading more books, it obviously means I’m reading them a lot faster. So theoretically if I’m reading faster I might not be reading as deeply as I used to. (I truly don’t think this is the case for me personally, but might totally be a thing for other people.)

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