Trigger Warnings and Sometimes We Just Need to Snort-Laugh in Public

Lately I’ve been feeling like I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump. Looking at my Goodreads Challenge for 2016 (89 out of 100 so far. Not bad muthafu*&ers!), you would think this sentiment is utter bullshite, but I just feel a little bit over it all.

It might be that end of year feeling. It might be my regret at not taking some annual leave during this odd “After-Christmas-Before-New Year” period. Who knows?

I didn’t realise I felt this way until a colleague at work asked me during some down time before Christmas, “So what types of books do you like” and I literally said “Um… all of them?” in my annoying, shaky, high-pitched liar voice.

Even I wasn’t convinced.

Because the honest to Neil Gaiman truth is, I really don’t love any books out there at the moment. But I’m okay with that. Really, I am.

I’ve been going through a lot of random choices lately. In the past I have tried to read a lot more classics and literary fiction, however 2016 has seen my tastes venturing towards a hell of a lot more self-help books (hello, quarter-life crisis!) and what is usually termed “women’s fiction” (by the way, why the hell is that genre called that? These books can be read by men and women. They just happen to have female protagonists. Ugh!).

I’m a big believer in the right books finding you at the right time. After all, there’s no “right” way to approach reading.

So 2016 was a bit of a year about self-discovery and I read a few heavy books. A Little Life was probably the best book of them all. In saying that, I tend to not recommend this one when people ask me for recs, because I don’t want to be responsible for someone’s nervous breakdown triggered by the amount of self-harm and abuse portrayed in that novel. I’m considerate about my fellow man, and all that jazz.

On the other hand (and on a bit of a tangent) how do you feel about trigger warnings for books? Personally, as a psych undergrad, I think it’s responsible but as a reader I don’t think it has a place in art. In my humblest opinion, you’re meant to be open to feeling all of the emotions as part of the experience/consumption of the piece.

ANYWAYS….

After all of the heaviness, I thought I would end the year off with some light-er reading. Preferably something funny, set in England. I am an anglophile, afterall.

So I found out that Kindle Unlimited is now a thing on Amazon Australia and a couple of novels by Nick Spalding were in the Top 20 and recommended to me.

Usually, if I’m in a reading slump, picking something from the “recommended for you” list is not the best thing to do. I’m only going to end up with the same crap I’m trying to avoid, right?

Wrong. Thankfully, oh so wrong.

I read Nick Spalding’s novels Bricking It, Mad Love and Fat Chance (in that order) within the same week. They were such a hoot, I actually snort laughed on the train going into work. His novels gave me a much needed belly-laugh break from the boring books I’ve been borrowing, DNF-ing and returning to the library.

That last sentence was for the kids with alliteration fetishes.

Spalding’s books reminded me that there really is something for everyone and sometimes they are right under your nose. Or perfectly chosen for you by the Amazon recommendations algorithm.

So a few questions for you, my Dear Reader. What’s the funniest book you’ve ever read? Is there something you do in particular to pull yourself out of a reading slump? Have you found some great books from the “Recommended for you” sections in the possibly many book websites you peruse?

Trigger Warning: All caps incoming…

AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TRIGGER WARNINGS IN BOOKS/ART?

Would love to hear your thoughts, so grab a cuppa and let’s have a chat!

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Review: “Heart and Brain: An Awkward Yeti Collection” by The Awkward Yeti, Nick Seluk

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From Goodreads:

From paying taxes and getting up for work to dancing with kittens and starting a band, readers everywhere will relate to the ongoing struggle between Heart and Brain.

Heart and Brain: An Awkward Yeti Collection illustrates the relationship between the sensible Brain and its emotionally driven counterpart, the Heart.

Boasting more than one million pageviews per month, TheAwkwardYeti.com has become a webcomic staple since its creation in 2012.

This has to be one of the best things I’ve read all year. You know those books – the ones that as you’re reading it, you think of so many people that you know that will also find it a great read too. I think I made a list of about 5 people that would love this while I was still in the first 30 pages. So that means a good part of my Christmas shopping has been completed!

I’m pretty sure that there are most scenarios depicted in this book that adults have run into when the heart and brain just wanted different things. Probably the most resonating for me was anything to do with exercise – my brain says “you need to do it” and me heart says “But reading is just so much more fun and easier…”. My heart and my brain were not fighting each other though when I sat down to read this book – it was one of those books that I easily read in one sitting and laughed like a mad person while my partner (most likely) saw this and seriously thought about taking up this “reading” thing himself.

If you’re not sure if you (or the person you’re buying this book for) will enjoy this book – check out the Awkward Yeti webcomic for yourself right now. If one out of every 2 panels makes you smile and feel good, then I think that’s a good indicator that you will get your money’s worth out of this book.

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!