When Reading Isn’t Challenging: Discussion

We read for a variety of reasons; to escape, to experience dangerous things safely, and clichely, to expand our minds. So my question to you is this: what do you do when books just don’t surprise you as often as they used to? When you feel like you’ve read this before, or that this book just isn’t at the reading level you want it to be?

I’ve tried a couple things. The Rory Gilmore Reading list is something I’ve been chipping away at for years, and I’ve found some gems. Others just aren’t my type. I’ve also expanded the variety of books I read, mostly because I only have access to the uni library during the pandemic and they are selective in the books they get. So I’ve read a lot more nonfiction and adult fiction, and found my new favourite but not strictly classified genre: the speculative fiction literary, non American… Yeah, just think Margret Atwood, M.R. Carey, and Never Let Me Go. Usually British/Canadian/Japanese fiction that has an element of dystopia but has more passive MCs than Katniss or Tris. If you have recs please let me know!

I’ve also looked at summer reading and bestseller lists. These are lists designed to combat the Summer slide- the theory that low-income students come back to school in a worse place academically than they were when school was let out. They basically loose the learning gains they made in the last month of the last school year. Only these lists usually stop after grade 12- while there may be lists of recommendations for college kids or reading lists for specific classes, there aren’t really age and skill specific rankings like you get in k-12.

(not really) fun fact- most American adults have an 8th grade reading level. Our education system sucks. And maths is worse.

But at least we’re in the bookish community and we take charge of our education, right?

Thanks for any recs you have! I’d love to know your thoughts- what can adults do to keep our books challenging?

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