Befriending a Theme – A Practical & Fun Way Out of a Reading Slump

I love a theme.  I mean, in my twenties and early thirties, basically before I had children, I would host parties, nights out or even nights in and more often than not, they had a theme. It could be something as generic as a bachelorette party, or silly like the funniest t-shirt, to the more creative, sushi-night (yes I bought dishes specifically for this), crockpottery (which still occurs annually) and holey food (everything had to have a hole in the middle of it).  What I’m saying is… 

LOVE. A. THEME!

So, resting firmly in that knowledge…I, like everyone else, sometimes find myself in a reading slump and lack the motivation necessary to pick up that next book.  Nothing looks good, except whatever book I don’t have on my shelf yet…I know, it’s a problem.  Anyway, when this reading apathy settles in for the long haul, I have found that setting up a theme can be extremely motivating.  I’ll go through my TBR (to be read) bookshelf, Goodreads page and scour the library for books that match my self-appointed theme. 

In case you haven’t been paying attention, most likely because you have a life…I have already devoured 28 books in 2022 and am finding myself in a bit of a third month slump.  Thankfully, as I look to this next month of reading, there is already a tried and true theme all lined up.  March is Women’s History month…queue epiphany-like, awe inspired music and clear blue skies.

Women’s history is such a great theme because there are so, SO many ways into the power, influence and participation of women throughout time and history in the literary world. I have curated a short list of books which encompass a variety of these lenses for you below. Some I have already read, so there will be links to those reviews. The final book on the list I am looking forward to finally reading this March (it’s been on my shelf for close to a year).  Hopefully, these recommendations will help jumpstart your reading if you find yourself in an uninspired slump or at least provide a couple of new titles to add to your TBR shelf.

So without further ado…

March Recommendations

Fiction

If this March you are looking for a bit of historical fiction, you cannot go wrong with The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner.  What I love about this novelization is that it takes a real woman of power, who few of us know about, and excavates her history through a beautiful, profound and emotionally complex narrative.  I am not a lover of historical fiction, but I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

Non-fiction

If you are looking for something more on the non-fiction side of things, I would point you to Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.  This book was published in 2009 and unfortunately, remains just as relevant in 2022. I read this title last March during Women’s History month and can’t recommend it enough as a window into the current reality of too many women across our globe.

Short Story

But perhaps wading into that heaviness is a bit much for you this March and I am always a supporter of books as tools of self-care.  In that case, consider picking up, Love In Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World Retold by Bolu Babalola. I am currently in the middle of this book of short stories which Book Club & Cocktails read for February, but it already is proving to be a delightful escape into the world of romance and finding THE person.  Again, I haven’t gotten all the way through, but if you like a bit of romance in your reading from time to time, or always, check it out.

What I’m Reading this March

And lastly, the book I am planning to read this month and which has become my springboard into Women’s History reading…

Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D.  Like I said, this book has been on my shelf for a while now.  adrienne maree brown, who I follow on Instagram, recommended this book as a follow up to her work, Pleasure Activism, so I immediately purchased it alongside the Come as You Are: Workbook. It is time to dive into this practical guide to the science of sex and learning more about myself and women by more fully knowing and loving my body exactly as it is designed to experience pleasure. I can not wait!

There is a start for you all! I am also hoping to post two additional blogs this month.  For those who don’t know, I am a pastor, so I thought as we enter Lent this March, it might be fun to share some of the spiritual women and practices that have grounded and deepened my relationship to the Divine. I also plan to write a blog offering some thoughts and recommendations on Black Feminists who break, deconstruct and inspire me from history and those doing the work today to transform the way humanity chooses to be in relationship to each other and creation. 

So, be on the lookout for those and no matter what you read…

Happy Reading Everyone! 
Hannah