Hi everyone, it’s Sabrina again! Typically, I would consider myself to have a preference for fast paced books, but in April I was lucky enough to read two slow paced books that I thought were fantastic. It got me thinking about other slow paced books that I have loved, so that’s what my post is about today – my top thirteen favourite slow(er) paced books. I hope you enjoy reading about them! I haven’t put them in any particular order, though I will start with the two I read last month!
The Remains of the Day & An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
Though these two books have different settings – the former is England and the latter Japan – they are highly comparable and I enjoyed them both around the same amount. Both are historical fiction following an elderly character reflecting on their life and the choices they’ve made up to this point. They both also struggle to remember events exactly as they were and the author does a terrific job of making that clear to the reader without being too obvious about it. Both books are written so cleverly and are quite gripping despite their slow pace.
Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh
To jump into something totally different, this book is a sci-fi that feels very modern day. I struggle to place it in an age category, because it does feel more adult but the characters, I think, are in their late teens/early 20s, so it could count as YA as well. Is this the definition of new adult? Anyway, it follows multiple perspectives of characters that have been selected (after being rigorously educated and trained) to travel to a new planet. All the characters are going through their own struggles and there are some really complex character dynamics that are engaging to read about. It’s certainly an emotional book and I highly recommend it!
The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa
This is another slow paced sci-fi, this time I can say definitively that it is adult fiction. It follows a fiction writer who lives on an island where everyday things “disappear”, and everyone has to, and does, forget those things ever existed. It’s a heart-wrenchingly sad story, which you can probably already tell from that very brief description I gave, but it also has provides a sense of community and love. I really appreciated the main character in this book and her relationships with other characters too. I wouldn’t say this book is open ended, exactly, but it doesn’t provide many answers – so beware of that going it. It’s more about the exploration of loss and fear than expansive world building.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Look, I won’t go on about this YA series for too long because you’ve probably heard a lot about it already. Still, I love so much about it, including the writing style and the characters. I love the adventurous nature of the story and how the reader gets to explore and be curious along with the characters. The magic is so fun but it feels dangerous at the same time. A really great series!
The Furies by Katie Lowe
This is a fairly underrated book that I thought more people would be picking up, especially because I would classify it as dark academia. Its main focus is on teenage girls and murder at a fancy school, but I think this is definitely adult fiction and it is narrated by an adult looking back on her life. There are certainly mysterious elements to the story, but its strength is in its character dynamics, in my opinion. The main character is swept up in a clique, wanting to belong, and goes to some unexpected lengths to achieve this goal. I think it’s a very interesting, twisted and sad story which I think is worth the read.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
I became absolutely absorbed by this book when I read it a couple years ago and I want to read more books like it – it’s part of the reason I am challenging myself to read more historical mysteries this year. It’s a gothic novel with lovely writing and characters that appreciate a good story – which you would hope for, given that it is a book about a biographer that has been asked to cover the life of an ageing author, who has never told the true story of her life herself. The atmosphere is terrific and there is mystery and intense emotion incorporated into every element of the book.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
This is another book I’m sure I don’t need to explain all that much to you, as it is so popular, one of the most popular on this list. It’s a long, reflective dark academia story that I liked more than I was expecting to. If you aren’t already a fan of slow paced stories, I wouldn’t suggest you start with this one because you may get bored quickly because it does often seem as though the story is going nowhere. Still, it is atmospheric and interesting, and therefore one of my favourites.
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Of this list, this is probably the least slow paced but it is also a fairly long book (and there were parts that dragged in my opinion), so I’m counting it. This is another historical mystery that I adored, especially due to the character dynamics. It does include multiple point of views, but the main one is from a character that has grown up with a group of criminals and is attempting to pull off a con that will result in lots of money for her. There are so many twists and turns in this book and it was almost like a con itself, which made for a truly captivating read.
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
I’m jumping from a really long book to a really short book here, which hopefully shows that any length of book can be slow paced. This one really took me by surprise with how much I loved it. It’s very reflective and the main character spends a lot of time dwelling on the past while she is on her college campus at Christmas time. It deals heavily with grief and loss, especially when it comes to the strain that can put on other parts of your life. This book also has some mysterious elements to it and a sapphic relationship that is so well done.
Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
If you have already read and enjoyed We Are Okay, might I suggest this underrated book to you? Summer Bird Blue also deals a lot with grief and its repercussions, as it follows a main character, Rumi, who has been sent by her mum to live in Hawaii with her aunt after the sudden death of her sister. The author is an incredible writer and really knows how to get readers to connect to characters. I really enjoyed witnessing Rumi’s development and growth over the course of the book, seeing her discover herself, including her sexuality, and finding the will to keep playing music after she has experienced the loss of her songwriting partner. If any of that sounds interesting to you, I highly recommend you give this book a go!
Laurinda by Alice Pung
I spoke a little about this book recently, but it’s worth mentioning it again, as it is so underrated! I wish more people would give it a read. Don’t be fooled by the synopsis and the cover – this is not a YA mystery, and it’s not a romance either. It’s set in Australia in the early 90s, and follows Lucy who has just moved from her old school to a new one on a scholarship. It’s a great reflection on privilege and classism, loneliness and identity. Yes, there are “mean girls” as mentioned in the book’s blurb, but the focus is on Lucy and her development. Please read this book!!!
Persuasion by Jane Austen
The final book I’m talking about today and it’s a classic! The ultimate second-chance-romance book, this follows Anne Elliot as she goes about her life, her reflections on past experiences and her uncomfortable reunion with her ex-betrothed. I honestly thought this book was so funny and I loved reading all Anne’s thoughts and observations – especially when it came to her family. Of course I also loved the romance and there were some unexpected events that surprised me, which I appreciated as well.
What do you think?
Do you like slow paced, reflective books? Have you read any of the books on my list? Let me know!