Thursday, January 14, 2010

Attention Span

My reading attention span has been low the past few months. Blame it on holiday busyness, distraction with the novel, and the small pile of research books on my bedside table. Whatever the cause, it bothers me. I go through ebbs and flows in my reading life. Sometimes I devour books, while at others I read slow and steady, but every once in a while I barely read a book a month and even if I love the book, my attention is focused elsewhere. The only way out of this hole--and it is a hole, not reading makes me depressed--is to pick up an absolute page-turner, preferably part of a series so I'm hooked and must continue reading. In the past I've turned to the well-worn pages of familiar books (Harry Potter reengages me every time), but this time I decided to pick up something new.

Last year I received a full series off my wishlist--Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart Mysteries. I knew a YA book would be an easy read, and having discovered the first book from the BBC's adaptation with Billie Piper, I knew I would enjoy it.

I was looking for a fun, fast read and Philip Pullman provides that in The Ruby in the Smoke, along with an engaging, clever female lead and a cast of quirky and interesting characters. Set in grimy Victorian London, the book follows Sally Lockhart as she unravels a mystery involving the recent death of her father, the opium trade, the truth of her birth, and the famed Ruby of Agrapur. This is the first book in the series, and I'm eager to see where Pullman takes Sally next. This series isn't as well known as Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, which is a shame, and it didn't come to my attention until I saw the adaptation, but I'm glad it did.

It seems to have done the trick. I've started the second book, The Shadow in the North, and I'm reading on full steam to kick this funk to the curb. If you like light mysteries with a historical setting and a strong female lead, I highly recommend this series.

Keep those pages turning!


Kristen @ said...
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Kristen @ said...

YA books are a great way to get out of a reading funk. I'm reading The Mysterious Benedict Society and I'm loving it. There are 2 other books in the series, so I'm glad I'll have more awaiting me when I'm finished. :-)

JJ Beattie said...

I think you're right about the way to cure a reading dip. I had one before I moved to Bangkok. I let myself read anything ... fun stuff without worrying about its literary value. That cured me.

The Sally Lockhart Mysteries sound great. I'll see if I can get them here.

Angie said...

Kris, that one looks fun! Maybe we'll have to do a swapsies when we're done. :)

JJ, it's true, when you're pressuring yourself to read, the fun goes right out of it. I think my problem started because I was reading loads of research books and writing/editing books, and although I find them interesting, they do get tiring.

They are a lot of fun; hope you can snag copies!

Rebecca said...

They do sound great! And I agree, YA books are a great way to get back into the reading mood.

Jen said...

I hate it when I am really wanting to read a book and yet nothing interests me, I end up having several other things on my mind and just can't get there.

But I'm with you... Harry Potter is a series that never lets me down!

Awesome Blogging :)

Angie said...

Jen, thanks for visiting (and sorry for the late reply). I think I'm finally out of my reading slump. (Thank goodness!) Still, I see a Harry Potter re-read in my future. :)