Read This Next: Rachael Muszkiewicz
For this “Read This Next” post, I am recommending “Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days” by Jeanette Winterson and “Redwall” by Brian Jacques.
Reading slumps — a period of disinterest in books — can happen to anyone, even librarians. My reading slump has lasted since the first pandemic lockdown. I have a hard time either getting into books or finishing them. I have an initial interest in them, I get really excited to bring them home from the library, but then they have a tendency to just sit there until the due date. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of, and I’ve been working on it. Re-reading favorite books has helped, as have graphic novels and audio books. Another thing that’s helped is short stories.
I checked out “Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days” from the Valpo Public Library last year around the holidays. I read a couple of the stories and really liked them, but didn’t finish it before it was due. I had really wanted to finish it but the business of the season got in the way. I was sad to return it. This year, I walked into my favorite independent bookstore in my hometown (Schuler Books in Grand Rapids, Michigan) and there was the book! In a holiday book display and on sale for $5 to boot! These are not your typical stories about Christmas. There are ghosts and haunted houses, a SnowMama, a tree with mysterious powers, and gothic revenge, all of which somehow makes you feel the holiday spirit. It’s honestly quite magical. I can see myself making this an annual read around this time. And I just might try making the sherry trifle. While the Christopher Center Library does not have a copy of Christmas Days, the Porter County Public Library does, and students can get a public library card for free! (https://evergreen.lib.in.us/eg/opac/register)
Where I have not been in a slump is reading to my kids. I have read and finished more books with them than I have on my own in years. My oldest is getting close to the age where he probably won’t want me to read to him anymore, so I am savoring this time where I can. I read and loved Brian Jacques’ “Redwall” series when I was his age and I couldn’t wait to share it with him. I’m happy to say that we’ve just finished the first book and he was just as taken with the world of warrior mice and woodland adventure as I had been. I truly enjoyed getting reintroduced to Matthias the mouse who was searching to find the warrior within himself and to save Redwall Abbey and all his friends from the villainous Cluny the Scourge. One thing I was surprised to notice as an adult while reading this book was the high level of vocabulary in a series meant for the 10-12 set. It’s unusual to find words such as maelstrom, conciliatory, and spasmodically in books for this age, but Jacques is a master of weaving in these words in ways that kids can figure out using context clues. We’re reading the prequel (Mossflower) next, and I can’t wait. Interested in this tale of high adventure? The Library has a copy (PZ7.J15317 Re 1986).