Rediscover a Sense of Wonder

white teddy bear reading book

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In my last post, I wrote of a “Summer Meltdown” which had left me struggling to read – and especially finish – books. To those who responded, thank you so much for taking the time to read and offer advice or support, I really appreciate it.

The boiling heat of 2018’s summer has finally subsided, and autumn’s cooling touch has brought some welcome relief. BUT I still haven’t reached the end of a book. Wtf?

I’ve been doing a bit of soul searching, trying to find a deeper reason than the summer’s heat knocking everyone out, and I think I’ve discovered what’s been missing.

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Let me ask you a question. What was the last book you read that you truly couldn’t put down? You know, the kind of story in which you become so caught up that you resent the time spent NOT reading it. A book or story that you keep thinking about when you’re not reading it. One which you can’t wait to get back to reading once your work or chores are done.

Isn’t that why we read fiction, whether it be speculative or not? To become so caught up in someone else’s imaginary world(s) that we forget where we are, if only for a brief moment? A book that takes us out of ourselves and puts us into someone else.

'Barcelona, the city of newspaper readers!' (Series)

THAT is what I’ve been missing.

Looking back at my book-review posts since I started this blog, I’ve recommended a lot of stories. After checking my Goodreads page, I’ve found eleven 5 star reviews. Here they are (with links to the reviews on this blog):

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin

The Thing Itself by Adam Roberts

The Overneath by Peter S. Beagle

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

The Best SF & Fantasy of the Year: Volume 11 by Various authors

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm

The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor

Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake

Neuromancer by William Gibson

 

The last book in which I really lost myself was Ursula K. LeGuin’s ‘The Dispossessed’ which I re-read in February this year, six months ago. Since then I’ve read some good stories as well as some not so good ones, putting it politely.

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Now, six months isn’t very long, I know, but within that time I guess I’ve been missing that sense of wonder you feel when you lose yourself in a stranger’s words.

So, if you have any recommendations for a story – short or long – that might restore my sense of wonder please leave a comment below.

Thank you.

Gray

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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?

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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?!?” Continue reading

Project TBR Kill 2018

book-piles

The dreaded TBR pile. Can it be stopped? Can it be killed? Can it ever be read to the end?

Aren’t you curious about other readers’ TBR piles? I know I am. I’d love to hear about yours!

How many times have you decided that “enough is enough, this year I’m going to substantially reduce my tower of unread books”? Then how far did you get? Okay, you read 3 or 4 TBR books each month. Good for you! But you also bought 3 or 4 new books each month, returning the tower to its full height. Because you just couldn’t resist that “special offer” or “deal of the week,” right? I know because it’s been happening to me since February 2016 when I got my first Kindle.

I propose a “name-them-and-shame-them TBR Reading Challenge” starting this year. If we all post our lists, we might feel more inclined to dig into our respective piles. We can cheer each other on or start buddy-reads of books we have in common. Then, post a review and link it to our TBR list, effectively crossing it out as we go. What do you think? Who’s with me? C’mon! We can DO this! Continue reading

Mount Tbr – July 2017

The dreaded mountain that is my tbr pile continues to grow. Some of these titles have been there for a while, some are fairly recent additions.

Fifteen books. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? But this is just my physical tbr mountain. My kindle tbr pile contains another 20 titles demanding my attention. Curse those special offers and double-curse my weak will. No one’s forcing me to buy them, right?

I’m going to attempt a month of tbr-only reading. What I’d like to know is which 3 titles would you choose to read? Please leave a comment below:) Also, if you’ve already read one or more of these books, which would you recommend I read next?

Thanks for reading!

What the DNF?

 

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Oh no! The dreaded DNF. I feel like I’ve failed, especially considering the book and its authors. It’s been a while since this has happened. And it’s the first time this has occurred since I began reviewing books on this blog. I am ashamed to name the title, so I will give you a clue and leave it up to you to guess it.

This is a co-authored book written by two authors well known for their cyberpunk stories. Easy, right?.. What? You want another clue? Okay, it’s alleged that this book helped spread awareness of the term “steampunk.” That’s as far as I will go without naming and shaming. I was looking forward to reading this book as it has a reputation for being an important work in the genre of speculative fiction. It also has an enticing blurb which made me want to read it. Continue reading

Additions to the Tbr Pile 

Happy New Year to everyone! Here’s to another year of reading and (hopefully) blogging.

I enjoyed a great trip back to Manchester, England to visit my dad. The return journey to Japan took longer than expected due to delayed flights and a rather surreal transit in Beijing airport. But I made it home with bags and senses in one piece. Just.

I tried my hardest NOT to buy more books over in the UK but as you can see from the picture above, I failed. Only four, right? That’s what I keep telling myself. At least I didn’t have to post any over this time. Continue reading

The 2017 William Gibson Read-Along

“I think I’d probably tell you that it’s easier to desire and pursue the attention of tens of millions of total strangers than it is to accept the love and loyalty of the people closest to us.” William Gibson, Idoru

 

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2016 has been the year of Dick for me, Philip Kindred Dick. Taking part in Bookpunks’ mind-warping “Exegesis with a Side of Fiction: The PKD Read-Along” has brought me closer to Dick. I regularly found myself questioning what was real after being submerged in the latest book. Despite struggling through the dense and diffuse Exegesis, I looked forward to my monthly dose of PKD paperback, wondering what kind of bizarre and unhinged world I would discover inside. It was also a great opportunity to focus on the work of one writer, to see the different worlds they had imagined and built, to compare the later stories with the earlier ones.

So, I propose spending 2017 in William Gibson territory. One book per month, commencing with his collection of short stories Burning Chrome. Continue reading