Strange Thoughts
Comments 16

Four genres to read if you’re burned out (plus an update from me)

When I made plans for the two week sabbatical my company awards when an employee reaches their ten year anniversary, I never thought it would coincide with a global pandemic. I expected to be waking up in Florida today, visiting my mother in law along with my husband.

Instead I find myself at home, in a city where all bars are closed and restaurants are limited to take out and delivery, and many other businesses are closing, fighting of bouts of anxiety. The prospect of a shelter in place order looms. I make a daily schedule for exercise, blogging, crafting, chores and reading to keep my mind occupied. Since it’s been a little tough focus on anything too dense, the below four genres are the ones I’ll be reaching for while I’m home.

Admittedly, there is a part of me that doesn’t mind at all. I’m an introvert by nature, so finding myself at home with two weeks to myself to relax, write, and work on long deferred projects isn’t so bad. I just wish it were under better circumstances. Keeping busy is keeping me from overdosing on news and stressing myself out. And since I manage an office and oversee the front desk, it’s not a bad time to be out of work and away from the public.

Graphic Novels

The illustrations of a graphic novel make them easier reads when you’re tired or having some trouble focusing, but that doesn’t keep them from touching on complex or darker themes. V for Vendetta and The Watchmen are both great choices if you need an easier read that still has adult storylines. Through the Woods is a beautifully illustrated anthology with darker stories as well.

Photography/Art Books

Books that center around a specific artist/photographer, magazine, or museum are great, because you get a lot of beautiful images and a little background on each one of them. I picked up Elephant House, a photography book dedicated to the home of Edward Gorey, last summer, and I’m really looking forward to finally reading it. I also have several other anthologies put together by National Geographic and Life magazine of each publications photojournalism. I used to read them in college when I needed a break from studying, and I still find them relaxing to thumb through.

Epistolary Novels

Here I’m talking about books where the story is told by letters or other correspondence written by characters. One of my favorite examples of this is Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine series. Bantock’s story unfolds in handcrafted postcards and illustrated letters between lovers separated by an ocean (and possibly more). Another great example is Bram Stocker’s Dracula, which incorporates letters, ship logs, diaries, and newspaper articles to tell the classic vampire tale. The great thing about this genre is that you have a buildt in stopping point at the end of each document, no pressure to finnish a long chapture here!


Of course poetry! Poetry is made to be consumed and savored in small doses, and there is something for everyone! A great place to start is, and there are many wonderful poetry communities here in WordPress as well. I enjoy Dverse, Go Dog Go Cafe, and Freeverse Revolution, where one of my poems is featured today.


  1. drkottaway says

    I adore cartoons: some manga but my favorites are the old Walt Kelly Pogo cartoons: such brilliant silly fun with language.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you highlighted Dracula here. I didn’t know it was epistolary until a few years ago, when I finally picked it up. WAY more accessible than I had previously thought — now I try to tell my students about it!

    Liked by 1 person

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