Summer Meltdown, 2018

Summer sky over Yonago

I seem to have lost my way. No reviews posted for 6 weeks. And worse than that, I have lost my enthusiasm for reading books. Omg!!! I’m not sure why..?

Has this ever happened to you?

I could make excuses such as this year’s exceptionally HOT summer in Japan, (and all across the Northern Hemisphere.) But that sounds too easy. Yes, it’s been boiling hot for what seems like forever yet I’ve got an air conditioner. I can enjoy a cool, dry room at home. Perfect conditions for curling up with a good book. So what went wrong?


The thing is, I have been reading. Just not as much as before and NOT books. I’ve got back into reading comics. “Oh No!” I hear you cry, “Don’t you know that comics rot your brain?!?”

Yes, well, it’s probably a bit late for that. I’ve been living with brainus rotticus for years, no doubt brought on by a combination of comics, sugar, food colourings, pirate videos, fluoride, and state-run education. Oh yeah, almost forgot to add video games!

multicolored bead lot

Photo by on

There are a few books I’m in the middle of reading, but I can’t seem to reach the end of any of them. (You can find them here on my Goodreads page if you’re interested)
This is not a reflection of their quality, not at all. It’s more a reflection of my state of mind or feelings towards books at the moment.

Can you help me?

Best wishes from Gray

P.S. This is completely random but it just popped up via some research I’ve been doing for translation work. Here is a brief passage taken from Wikipedia about the deity Jizo Bodhisattva. Now this sounds like a book I’d want to read!!

Jizo (地藏) Bodhisattva
‘Usually depicted as a monk with a halo around his shaved head, he carries a staff to force open the gates of hell and a wish-fulfilling jewel to light up the darkness.’

relaxation sitting reflection statue

Photo by Pixabay on

11 thoughts on “Summer Meltdown, 2018

  1. I’m afraid I can’t help you, I’m experiencing something similar. Still reading as much as before, but less speculative fiction, more art books, biographies and regular fiction. I’m pretty sure I’ll pick up speculative fiction again (there’s a gaint physical mount TBR of them so…) but my tolerance for books of a lesser quality has dropped – it used to be higher because I’d also read to get a feel for the history of the genre, and that desire has shrunken as I feel I’ve got enough grip on the matter now.
    I’m also less motivated to write long reviews, because it starts to feel a bit repetitive and because I don’t have as much time as I used to (writing a long review easily takes the better part of a day, 4 to 6 hours).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you and completely agree. Long reviews take a long time and I feel like I’m writing school book reports half the time. My tolerance for average stories has also dropped.
      I keep hoping I’ll find a book that will really grab me and restore my love of spec fic. Here’s hoping!


      • Yes, but mainly older titles. I recently reread 2000 AD’s Bad Company graphic novel collection (still have some of the comic originals) and have Judge Dredd vs Batman on standby. Many of the comics I pick up for ads have standalone stories which are perfect to read quickly without committing to a series run. Just read a pretty decent Avengers story from the 80s, completely random really. What are you reading at the mo?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Cool! I remember Bad Company in 2000 AD. Wasn’t that by Peter Milligan?..
          I’ve been reading Batman on and off, Moon Knight, Black Hammer, and some older Marvel comics. Recently, I’ve enjoyed ‘Kill or be Killed’ by Brubaker and Phillips, the new ‘Venom’ by Donny Cates, and ‘Isola’ by Fletcher & Kerslchl

          Liked by 1 person

  2. It takes a certain kind of reader to enjoy Leiber’s sword & sorcery stuff. Blech. I can’t stand it. HIs sci-fi is better–dated but not ridiculously stupid. If you can’t push through it, I would go ahead and ditch it because it’s not worth your time.

    I’m looking at your “read” bookshelf and almost everything is rated 3 stars. Maybe you’re bored with what you’re reading? Since I see you veering toward the taste of Lovecraft, and have enjoyed Butler and Le Guin in the past, you really have to read Jesmyn Ward’s Sing Unburied Sing. It’s very absorbing and will definitely get you unstuck. Or Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom to offset the Lovecraft you’ve endured, lol. Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West is really absorbing, too. And of course, you could do what I do and pick up more Adam Roberts when you need a good kick in the pants: his latest The Real-Town Murders is good quality SF, and fun, which so much SF seems to missing (or too corny to tolerate). I think you’d love all four of those novels.

    And, yes, I too, feel like I’m writing book reports nowadays, which is why I’m inclined to give up on the one-book review process. I find comparative book reviews, like writing small thoughts about books in one post, tends to enliven my thinking process, especially if I can tie it together with a theme. I think I’m going to do a couple more single book reviews, and then stick to shortlist reviews and summarizing my monthly reading in one post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Megan.
      Thank you for your comment. It’s great to hear from you:) I can’t claim sf-burnout like you suffered after the Sharkies last year but something has changed. I’m reminded of the opening of the Merchant of Venice where Antonio is speaking of his sadness and admitting he has no idea where it comes from: ‘But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
      What stuff ’tis made of, whereof it is born,
      I am to learn; …’

      That’s how I feel about reading and reviewing at present. I dunno? I just thought if I threw in a bit of Shaxbeard then I could pretend my writing ambitions amounted to more than mere school book reports. Ha! And on that note, I can confidently declare that you haven’t written anything that resembles a “book report” in years! If only I could write critical analysis like you, Megan. That is ‘such stuff as dreams are made on’.

      Many thanks for the recs. I’ve already read and loved LaValle’s ‘The Ballad of Black Tom’. ‘Exit West’ sounds very good so I will look to that next to bring me back from the brink of ‘can’t-be-arsed-to-read-anything-over-30-pages-that-doesn’t-have-pictures’!!

      Best wishes, Gray.


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