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Literary Ennui: “I need a good book!”

Kay headshot

Is this you contemplating your “to read” pile?
Photo from Alex Proimos

[Scene: Library staff room]
Kay: I need a word for that feeling you have when you realize you have nothing else to read.
Judy: Despair. Sadness.
Kay: There’s got to be something like literary ennui.
Judy: Up the creek without a paddle.
Kay: Narrative misery.
Judy: Afloat in the sea of life.
Both: Hmmmm…..

The point is, when your “to read” pile has become mysteriously small, UDPL has a solution for you: our “I Need a Good Book!” service.  Just tell our helpful librarians what kinds of books you’re looking for, and include a couple of authors you like and we’ll get back to you with new stuff to read!

As a sample, here’s an “I Need a Good Book!” for horror books:

If you’re interested in Horror, you have to read the grand-daddy of the genre: H. P. Lovecraft. If you’ve ever heard of Cthulhu, he is the Victorian author who created “him”. Lovecraft specializes in psychological horror-the “dread in the night” sort of horror.

(As a Lovecraft bonus, if you listen to podcasts, I can recommend Welcome to Night Vale which is a take-off of Lovecraft’s work and delightful to listen to. The show is formatted as a local area radio station broadcast from a town that is apparently in a nexus of evil.)

V. C. Andrews is another author who might work for you. Flowers in the Attic is her first work and she specializes in “darker and more psychologically realistic” Gothic horror.

Jonathan Maberry is a local horror author. His most popular series starts with Rot & Ruin, which starts 14 years after a zombie outbreak.

If you’re in the mood for graphic novels, Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill, has written a really terrific graphic novel series called Locke & Key. It’s set in a little Maine town in a creepy house that has keys that do…things. Some will let you become a ghost, some make you big, some will let you open up your head and take emotions out…and all of them come with a hefty price for using them. 🙂 The first book is called Welcome to Lovecraft.

And I’m throwing this one in because it sort of a steampunk/horror cross-over, but I personally adore her books, Cherie Priest has written a series about zombies. The series starts with Boneshaker: It is the 1870s in Seattle, 16 years after an industrial accident caused this new and horrible gas to start leaking from the ground. The gas killed everyone who breathed it but then brought them back as ravenous monsters. The “solution” was to wall in the city with walls 100 feet high. When Briar Wilkes’ teenage son decides to run away _into_ the city, Briar has to go in a get him out alive against all the odds. Priest’s worldbuilding is top-notch and I, at least, got completely sucked in reading it.

So, the next time you are experiencing literary afloatness, ennui without a paddle or narrative despair, try out “I Need a Good Book!”


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