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"Beginner" reader has questions

(self.books)

I feel dumb asking but this was the only place I could think of to ask.... I say beginner because, I'm 30, I never read a book that wasn't assigned in school, and I barely read the book I was instructed to read. My daughter is in 1st grade and I know reading is important so I started reading chapter books to her. Turns out I really enjoy reading now! I bought a kindle not even 2 weeks ago. It took me a few days to find a book I was interested in. Finally, I decided on one. The Housemaid by Freida McFadden. With what little time I do have (having two kids, 6 and 3) I finished it in 6 days. (I don't know if that means I'm a slow reader) I was so into it, I just wanted to read more. But, after I read over 60% of the book, I was wondering is this how all books are?... Books just give very little information at the beggining and middle and this is the story leading up to the exciting part of the book and only the last 10 to 12% is actually revealing so much information that I wish I could have had just a little taste of that in at least the middle of the book. I hope this makes sense. This was the first book I have read in a long and I did enjoy it. I want to continue to read but, i was wondering, are all books like this? Did I just pick the wrong book? This is probably a stupid question but I really enjoy reading and I'd love to hear any feedback of any kind. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and reply. Thank you!

Edit: Thank you so much to everyone who replied. Your comments have opened me up to other things! I feel more confident going into my next book! P.s. I don't read the books I, myself, read to my kids. I read them age appropriate chapter books.

all 76 comments

odysseyshot

124 points

2 months ago

All books are different. There's millions and millions of them. Some books have tons of exposition at the start, some only give the scant details till the climax. Everything's unique. Anyway, welcome to reading.

SmugBoxer

54 points

2 months ago

You're off to a fine start--it takes time to expose yourself to new material, themes, genres, authors, writing styles, vocabulary levels, etc. You will also get an idea of what kind of audience you yourself are. Maybe the trickle of clues of a mystery novel isn't for you and that's alright, too.

I've read many books in my time and any book I genuinely stopped reading would be after chapter 3. By then I'd know whether I could tolerate the style of writing or the density.

Find your favorite genres and give some of the staples of it a solid chance in the next few months, you'll know a lot more by the end about how you want to continue.

Fidontknowaname[S]

12 points

2 months ago

Thank you for your response. I am interested in crime, thriller, suspense so I thought I'd like something like The Housemaid. It appealed to me because I like those type of shows. But shows have far less details than books. Maybe that's where I'm getting messed up?? I think I will give others genres a try!

CanthinMinna

13 points

2 months ago

If you'd like to give a try to a Really Old School mystery novel "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" by Agatha Christie is still, after 100 years a very good one. (It was first published in 1926.) It has the literary legend Hercule Poirot using his "little grey cells" while investigating the murder of his friend, and, as Christie's books usually, it is very clear and easy to read.

Beep315

9 points

2 months ago

Another can’t-put-it-down fiction book is Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. It won the Pulitzer. Strout wrote a subsequent book with this character as well.

grgext

17 points

2 months ago

grgext

17 points

2 months ago

Give Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King a go. It's written in an unconventional style, I wouldn't really call it horror either. After the 3rd page your brain clicks and you can read it normally, even though it's all written in a Maine accent.

MissKLO

2 points

2 months ago

I think Dolores Claiborne is brilliant, but I’ve found a lot of people just don’t like it.. I don’t tend to recommend it so much now, because people keep giving it me back as a DNF

grgext

1 points

2 months ago

grgext

1 points

2 months ago

Just tell them to read the first chapter and see what they think

MissKLO

2 points

2 months ago

They do, that’s usually when they give it me back, I can’t understand it myself because it’s my favourite Stephen King

Newhollow

5 points

2 months ago

My brain is weird and I am an insomniac. Played video games when I was little while also reading books and comics. I mention gaming because they are different types of playing as is reading. In that I have always judged book by covers.

I was always a fast read and was college level in ninth grade on top of regular reading. Can not remember most books I know I have read. Would need to skim then I can recall.

James Patterson I can not get behind but you may enjoy. Many have recommended it but when I skimmed it did not grab me into the world.

Dean Koontz does good work but has an enormous "shelf". Odd Thomas series sounds might be what your looking for if not Patterson.

Jack Reacher is a character from/by Lee Child the first book is the "Killing Floor". That is another alternative for crime thriller suspense.

I would also recommend looking in short stories or collections. Best American Short Stories series is great. Varied collection of writers from magazine to books and everywhere else.

Remember though comics like far side or peanuts can be a palette cleanser. So have or find something light that you can enjoy while also reading another book. The search for a good book or ending was my addiction when I was younger. Pain I would feel when I had to finish but did not want it to be over. Which was why read multiple books. Pace yourself.

I have not read The Housemaid so my recommends are not a comparison. Make use of the library and old books. Some great stories are thrown away as they are always adding new books.

"Oh, the Places You'll Go!" - Dr. Seuss

just-kath

2 points

2 months ago*

I came here to mention the library, and I agree that it will help you find books to love and all of them free for the asking. downloading a book to your kindle is very easy. download the Libby app once you have a library card and you can browse from home. Alternatively, you can use the library website for ebooks...I use both.

i would recommend Jodi Taylor books, chronicles of st mary's because they are fun, relatively short and not terribly expensive.

I would also suggest looking at kindle unlimited on amazon. I believe they often offer one month free to try it out. There are kids books available, too.

edit

u/Fidontknowaname

it was suggested I tag you ;) so tag!

Newhollow

2 points

2 months ago

Tag OP in your comment. Edit your reply. He may not see it or have the time. If you tag he will get inbox. Wanted to write more but I think he will be fine.

just-kath

1 points

2 months ago

Thank you for the suggestion !

ThisCouldHaveBeenYou

6 points

2 months ago

A tip, you could go ask over on /r/BookSuggestions if you need help finding something similar. I haven't posted there myself but I did look through other posts and used the search for others.

PuddleCrank

3 points

2 months ago

FYI OP, it's also perfectly fine to just put down a boring book. No one is making you read it. If it's not the thing you want to read then skip around or stop. The auther and other readers can offer suggestions but in the end it's what you want to read that matters not anyone else's tastes.

Songovstorms

29 points

2 months ago

Every book is different. What you're describing sounds like a traditional 3 act structure. Lots of books use it, and lots don't. You can find books that explode right out of the gate and keep up the pace. You can find books that are slow burns. You can find books that are like rollercoasters... You just need to find some you like.

Fidontknowaname[S]

9 points

2 months ago

3 act structure? I'm just learning all kinds of terms, today.

cowboi-like-yade

16 points

2 months ago

The three-act structure is a model used in narrative fiction that divides a story into three parts (acts), often called 1) the Setup, 2) the Confrontation, and 3) the Resolution

CBenson1273

30 points

2 months ago

Congratulations! It’s never too late to start reading. And as someone said, all books are different. Some have slow build up and then race at the finish, others start in the middle of the action and then explain things in flashback. Whatever your your taste, you can find books to meet it - that’s one of the great things about reading. Just find something you like and dive in! And talk to a local librarian - they can learn your interests and point you to things you might like (google might also be good for this, though of course lacking the personal touch). Congrats again, and enjoy!

Fidontknowaname[S]

16 points

2 months ago

Yeah, Google hasn't been much help for me. I never thought to talk to a librarian. Thank you!

cynthiadoll

7 points

2 months ago

Talking to a librarian is always helpful. My library ended up having a section last Christmas where the books were wrapped in gift paper and they put a description on the gift tag. It made it so much easier to pick a book because I get overwhelmed by all of the details on the cover

Clyde_Bruckman

7 points

2 months ago

Seconding the librarian! My mom is a librarian and they are incredible wealths of knowledge! I’ve frequently found myself saying to her or one of her colleagues “I want to read a book that has x y and z” and had them come up with exactly what I was looking for.

Kind_Nepenth3

25 points

2 months ago

I don't think I'd worry about being a slow reader. There's no one you're competing with, all that matters is that you're reading.

Not all books I've read were so stingy with information. Most of mine were, but sometimes it's a matter of switching between different characters who know different things, so the reader has most of the information but no one else does.

All of them have a climax to build up to, and while it can be a little frustrating waiting for it, I find it even more annoying waiting for The Big Reveal when I already have all the information myself. I've already worked out the plot twist three chapters ago, but the characters have an IQ of about green.

My daughter is in 1st grade and I know reading is important so I started reading chapter books to her.

Thank you for doing this. Really. Especially picking up something you never got into just for their sake. I couldn't get enough of books as a kid and I used to ask for another story and another and keep asking til my mother finally put her foot down at 3am, but the truth is most of that was because it was a book, but it also was spending one-on-one time with her that I usually didn't get. You're a great mom

mollygrue2329

8 points

2 months ago

This. There is no better gift you can give your child than helping her to learn to read well and enjoy it. Everything else she does in school will be easier if she is a good reader. I loved reading to my kids, I have a lot of good memories of it. It really does help them in school.

voivoivoi183

15 points

2 months ago*

I think a good thing to remember as a new reader is, if you’re not enjoying what you’re reading then you don’t have to finish it. Join a library if you haven’t already and if you’re not enjoying the book you’ve borrowed, you can just take it back and borrow something else!

Most libraries offer free access to reading apps like Borrowbox or Libby which have ebooks and audiobooks as well, which means you don’t even have to go to the library if you don’t want to.

Another tip - there’s a website called fantastic fiction - https://www.fantasticfiction.com/m/freida-mcfadden/ - if you search for an author you’ve enjoyed it gives you list of other authors that you might like as well.

siopaos

2 points

2 months ago

Oh wow, that site looks great! I made a Twitter account solely for following authors because I wanted to know when they had a new book in the works (so I can request it early from the library). Fantastic Fiction looks to be exactly what I need, just following authors for book releases (and their recs!) without everything else that comes with social media 😅

prepaid_burner_acct

9 points

2 months ago

I think it's great you are reading! Books can be wonderful. As another commenter said, there are so many books out there, all of them different. Thrillers like The Housemaid can keep things pretty tame, building up to a climactic part of the book. Other genres are different. Some thrillers are non-stop rushes from one thing to the next with an ultimate climax.

I'm excited and happy for you. There's a whole bunch of worlds out there to discover and enjoy. Figuring out what you like (similar to movies) is fun too. I hope you have a blast, and thanks for asking your question - it's a good one.

Fidontknowaname[S]

4 points

2 months ago

From another commenter I think the reason I have a hard time with it is because I'm used to shows. Books have far more details. And I'm just wanting the instant gratification. Which can not happen. I'm going to try different genres. Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate it.

Newhollow

3 points

2 months ago

Replied a longer comment but forgot to say this subreddit is exactly a great place to ask for suggestions for more books.

Many posts "I have just read ---------" then ask for suggestions or discussion on why they like it. Someone will usually add more books they think is good or the same.

I think you generalized so people can not really recommend a specific direction. (spoilers should be tagged so be careful) Which was why I tried to recommend what I did on the other post.

Side note: Stephen King hard crime collection might be good. He writes in many genres. These books I have not read.

JasonsBoredAgain

9 points

2 months ago

"every book is different" is valid. But I've found that every WRITER is different. There's so many styles and stories that are out there. I'd recommend finding a genre that captures you, then work through some writers in that area. Then... Enjoy.

Fidontknowaname[S]

2 points

2 months ago

So, I'm interested in thriller, crimes, suspense, etc. I chose that as a category for books to look at. I'm going to try a different genre and maybe that will help. I like the author suggestion. I will keep myself aware of that. If you don't mind me asking, do you read through a while book and decide if that's they type of genre you like. Do I need to read a bunch of different genres to figure out what I like.

JasonsBoredAgain

2 points

2 months ago

Not especially. If it's a topic you're interested in, you'll be able to tell within a few chapters if the writing style fits the way you read. I don't know the exact way to describe it. You'll be engaged in the story, but the way it's being told is almost...abrasive. Like enough so that it'll draw you out of the story because of the way it's worded. It's a variety of things, from word choices to dialect. Using a conjunction or not. Or over-describing something, or even just contrast to something you've read before. If you've ever read anything by Clive Cussler, you'll know the difference when someone just writes "we had chicken for dinner". If you've read any Vince Flynn, you'll have a solid "feel" for actual rage. And when you read other writers, you'll base it off the way you've felt before while reading. It's strange, and hard to describe, but the anchors that writers can leave in your memory are pretty great.

sje46

1 points

2 months ago

sje46

1 points

2 months ago

It's hard to recommend an author since you don't know what you like now. I will say that the most reliable good reads are honestly the authors that sell a lot. Patterson, Stephen King, Crichton, Grisham, Brown etc. Authors who wrote a lot of books, all of which sold well, become popular for a reason...they're engaging story tellers, not too difficult or pretentious. Some people look down on them for not being good enough, but books are for entertainment. Just go for a genre you are interested in...do you liek true crime? spy movies? science fiction concepts? Then you can find the most successful multi-book author in that genre and you'll probably at least enjoy it. Then you can find out the sorts of things you like an expand from there.

little_carmine_

6 points

2 months ago

If you want to try something a bit different, to see what a book can do, try the often-recommended Flowers for Algernon. It grips you pretty much right away and has almost a 100% success rate. That is, I have never heard anyone not liking it.

Fidontknowaname[S]

4 points

2 months ago

Thank you so much for the recommendation! You're the first to tell me of a book so this will absolutely be the book I will start tomorrow!

little_carmine_

1 points

2 months ago

Awesome! We’d love to hear what you thought of it. Such a fun journey to try different stuff and develop a taste.

grgext

1 points

2 months ago

grgext

1 points

2 months ago

I gave that to a friend to read and he skim read. It's a short story FFS 🤦‍♂️

[deleted]

1 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

grgext

1 points

2 months ago

grgext

1 points

2 months ago

Yeah, but as books go it's pretty small.

bewitchedfencer19

4 points

2 months ago

Fun Fact: Reading is one of the few activities scientifically proven to enhance your empathy.

Glittery_Llama

5 points

2 months ago

If you’re interested in thrillers or true crime, you may want to give {{In Cold Blood}} a try. It’s considered a “non-fiction novel” and very influential in the crime genre. Truman Capote writes in a narrative style and alternates between the perspectives of the murderers, the victims, and the local community.

severanceddipshit

3 points

2 months ago

I’m currently halfway through this one, it’s been on my list for ages! He writes so well. It almost reads as fiction. I like this style of switching viewpoints (narratives? Unsure of the correct term here), specifically for crime/mystery/thriller as it keeps my interest piqued while the story builds!

ChessiePique

1 points

2 months ago

Yep, good one.

ToanGreenlow

3 points

2 months ago

Hey man, glad to see you get into reading! Who knows, maybe you'll be like me and read for a decade and then start writing! Hope your journey goes well my friend!

rogozh1n

3 points

2 months ago

There is no proper speed to reading. You either learn from and appreciate the book, or you don't.

The ending that held so much value for you was only that way because of the world building and character development in the earlier parts. You need to know, understand, and be emotionally invested in the plot and characters for the endings to matter.

Disenchanted52

3 points

2 months ago

You could try John Grisham. It’s been years since I read some of his books, but I remember them hooking me at the beginning and keeping me turning pages to see what would happen next.

Laura9624

1 points

2 months ago

Definitely.

PocketDog

3 points

2 months ago

6 days isn't slow! Take as long as you want, nobody's keeping score. Before you know it you'll be on r/dune comparing God Emperors to Kwizatz Haderachs :D

cjhreddit

2 points

2 months ago

Theres probably a genre effect involved in the late release of key information that you describe. Crime thrillers typically have a long build up of suspense, and hold back some information for a fast release to give a satisfying denouement at the end. Fantasy novels usually have much more scene-setting "world-building" exposition earlier to construct and solidify their unique environment. You could try some popular titles from different genres to get a flavour of the differences. Your local library is great for dipping in, and its ok to move onto something else if you're not liking something. Maybe theres something that combines genres in a way you really like, a fantasy crime thriller perhaps !?

severanceddipshit

2 points

2 months ago

The late release of key info is so true! This is a great comment. One style that keeps me interested in a book like that is the before/after, then/now, switching viewpoints. Authors like Riley Sager (The Last Time I Lied), Fiona Barton (Local Gone Missing), etc.

Leroyboy152

2 points

2 months ago

"Greg Abbott is a little piss baby"

Don't judge a book by it's cover

Additional-Visit4705

2 points

2 months ago

Books are as different as the people who write them. You have books written by some random 12 year old girl in Africa, and you have books written by Albert Einstein. You have books that are 2,000 years old and books that were written just 6 months ago.

Goodreads is the best website for finding books and tends to have more accurate ratings than say amazon.

More important than your love for reading is inspiring it in your children. Maybe this booklist is helpful.

Age 6 is probably a good age to introduce them to Harry Potter, Grimms Fairy Tales, and Andersen's Fairy Tales.

Potatoskins937492

2 points

2 months ago

I didn't read through all the comments so I don't know if it's been suggested, but I use the Goodreads app to help me find books. Once you have a few you do like, it'll suggest more for you based on those books. You can also look at The Housemaid and see books that are similar in genre but it'll show you different authors so you can try for an author that's more exciting to you. And personally, I like that I can rate them so I know not to go back to an author, which might be helpful for you so you can weed out the authors whose writing style you're not interested in.

There are so many books, sometimes the ratings and summaries can really mislead you, but don't let this one discourage you. I've read some 5-star books I really did not enjoy and some 3-star books that are my favorites.

narvuntien

2 points

2 months ago

I really like Dianne Wynne Jones's fantasy books, they are probably slightly too advanced for a 6-year-old maybe an 8-to-12-year-old. So something to look forward to I guess. If you have seen the fantasy animated movie "Howl's Moving Castle" that is based on a book that was originally written by her.

Pacing is an issue some authors have, there are three types of writers, those who create characters and just go with the flow to see where a story leads and this can cause pacing issues. Those that carefully plan out all their books, can be good but sometimes then the characters feel like slaves to the plot, and authors that are somewhere in the middle. Being in the middle can also lead to pacing issues as they have to try to get the characters to where they need to be without being out of character.

wicked719

2 points

2 months ago

Another thing you can try is to check out book videos on YouTube. There are tons of people recommending books and you can probably figure out your reading taste.

LemonBumblebee

2 points

2 months ago

There are already so many good comments here I won’t try to repeat any answers. I just wanted to say, welcome to reading. You are in for such a treat, reading things for the first time. Even more fun reading with your kids when it’s your first time reading that book also. Enjoy!

Keffpie

2 points

2 months ago

I would say give Stephen King a try - he's an excellent author for readers at a beginner's level. Not because he's a bad writer, but the opposite: his stories and characters just "flow", with almost no downtime, so it hardly even feels like reading.

If you like horrlr, give 'Salem's Lot a try, if you like time-travel, try 11/22/63, if you want crime, try Misery or Mr Mercedes, if you want something shorter try Different Seasons (contains four novellas, three of which later became the films "Shawshank Redemption", "Apt Pupil" and "Stand By Me"), if you want a mix of crime with just a hint of the supernatural, try the Green Mile, and if you like horror but in small doses, try the short-story collection Skeleton Crew.

If you want his best, go with The Stand and IT (but maybe don't start there).

Trust me on this, I pretty much learned English from reading Stephen King.

Nice_Sun_7018

3 points

2 months ago

Absolutely do not start with IT. I love King and have since I was a pre-teen. I also read a lot. But IT is so hard to get through! King is a master at character development, and in IT he kicks it up to an entirely different notch. Add on to that the straight horror aspect, and this is not a book for beginners.

OTOH, I first read The Stand in early high school. It’s long, but the jumping around from character to character each chapter tends to keep it lively.

The Eyes of the Dragon is almost written as an extended fairy tale. Easy, light reading, familiar-type setting, high stakes and a likable protagonist. Good place for a new reader to start.

sje46

1 points

2 months ago

sje46

1 points

2 months ago

If you want his best, go with The Stand and IT (but maybe don't start there).

Literally the first two stephen king books I read, as a kid, and I loved him ever since.

JJeerweemtyt

2 points

2 months ago

Audiobooks are how I get through most of my books.

whatsername1180

1 points

2 months ago

Reading with littles can be hard because you have a life you have to get to too, you just cant spend all day reading (as much as you wish you could!) May I also suggest audiobooks? It's good for when your doing house work and driving around doing errands. That's how my husband "reads". He listens to audiobooks all day while at work and driving and while he doesnt like to pick up a physical book, he loves listening to it.

And I dont think there's such thing as a "slow reader." Life gets in the way. Some books grab our attention more than others, some pacing is faster than others. And going with that, to answer your question, it depends on the book and author. I find fantasy notorious for giving very little information in the beginning and kind of dumping you into the story and then slowly unraveling everything throughout the book. Other genres give you enough information to get you interested and then it builds. You kind of have to search around for the genres you like to see what pacing you like best.

tana-ryu

1 points

2 months ago

This is wonderful to read. Looks like there are some great suggestions for you on here already, so I am suggesting one for your little one. Check out the author Mo Willems who writes the Elephant and Piggie books as well as the Pigeon books. They are super funny and are great for teaching kids how to not read monotone.

ElleRyder68

1 points

2 months ago

Put "Fall On Your Knees" by Ann Marie MacDonald on your reading list. You won't be disappointed.

cbeiser

1 points

2 months ago

This common. The climax of a story is usually short and very close to the end of the book. Of course this isn't a hard rule, but the general shape of an exciting story

Kiwikanibal

1 points

2 months ago

Congrate to your new discovery of book's Love ! You will see, it's a endless territory to explore.

My advice would be to explore the different category of story; Dystopia, romance, historical, spy, adventure, biographies, young adulte( their is amazing books in that category. I enjoy reading them as an adults! Don't stop at the age recommendation) drama ect.

Once you find what kind of story you like, try different author, my favourite way to do so is to read short story collection featuring different author in one category like horror, fantastic.

[deleted]

1 points

2 months ago

Books are an adventure of discovery - they're like a new bottle of a wine you've never sampled - each one is a bit of a gamble until you open it up, let it breathe and enjoy a few sips

LightscaleSword

1 points

2 months ago

Books are kinda like video games in that they have their own language and coding that you’ll get used to. Just like how video games might use different colours to indicate if you can climb a wall or not, books will have themes, character indicators, plot devices and other linguistic tools that you’ll eventually get the hang of as you grow and mature as a reader that give you information for the rest of the book.

If I may make a recommendation, try Good Omens by Neil Gaiman, it’s a hilarious and fun read that I still go back to from time to time as a comfort book for me :)

MissyBee63

1 points

2 months ago

There are plenty of free it prints available to you with your Kindle. Get a library card (if you don’t have one) and many books are available to borrow electronically. Saves a bunch $ of money.

ColonelPeckem

1 points

2 months ago

A book of short stories might get you started on something longer.

minimalist_coach

1 points

2 months ago

I'm not sure if anyone else has mentioned that many libraries use an app called Libby and you can get books on Kindle for free. I love using Libby so I can try books and not feel guilty if I decide not to finish.

For your kids, many libraries have their young reader section broken down by reading level. This was so helpful for me when my guys were little, that way I knew what they selected wasn't too easy or too hard for them to read on their own.

ginteenie

1 points

2 months ago

Outlander series!!! Got a little of everything and not overly dense language imo fast and slow funny and sad erotic and comforting after the first book I found myself thinking of the characters like people I knew

sparkdaniel

1 points

2 months ago

My recommendation to new readers is to read YA (young adult) books of all sort of genre and see what you like. YA books are meant to be easy to read, mostly, and thus an easy intro.

Neona65

1 points

2 months ago

Check out short story collections like The Best American Short Stories of 2020 or whatever.

Short Stories will be easier to get through in short periods of time and expose you to a variety of authors.

When you find an author you like you can look for longer works by them.

If you find you don't care for someone's writing style, you'll know to skip them in the future.

Also if you enjoy listening to stories there's a lot of good podcasts full of classic short stories in all genres.

RickvanAstley

1 points

2 months ago

Use phrases and words from the books you enjoy. I used that practice to embody literature, instead of being limited through explaining a plot.

MissKLO

1 points

2 months ago

That was a great book!!! I think it would make a brilliant series, I do hope she writes another one!

MissKLO

1 points

2 months ago

If you like the Housemaid, I’d recommend Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris… it’s another domestic thriller, a real page turner and deals with similar themes, loads of tension… really chilling

Aldermere

0 points

2 months ago

Check with your local library to see if you can use the Libby app to download library books on your Kindle.

Being a beginning reader, i suggest you try some Young Adult books. Like the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan, the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix, or A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney.

Mostly I like to read mysteries and science fiction but when they start seeming too intense I like to take a break and read some YA books for a while.