The Lull

Every so often, I get into a reading rut. I’ll start a number of books, but I just can’t seem to get through them. For someone who reads as much as I do, this is incredibly frustrating. For one thing, I have a rule that no book is allowed on my list unless I’ve finished it. For another, I can spin my wheels this way for weeks on end. For some reason, this lull seems to take place in the summer.

The lull has struck again. I have completed 16 books this year. 14 of those came prior to June. In June, July and half of August, I have completed only 2 books. I started many. But I just can’t get through them. Most recently, I started The Executioner’s Song, which is outstanding, but it’s just not what I feel like reading now. And so, after 250 pages, I’m giving up for the time being. When I picked up that book this weekend, I was really looking for something else–I was looking for some good science fiction. Instead, I got sidetracked. In fact, the only two books that I’ve read recently have been good science fiction. That’s still what my mood desires. So.

Tonight, I am starting another book that I hope will kill the lull. Believe it or not, in all of the reading I have done, I have never read Danergous Visions by Harlan Ellison cover to cover. I’ve read many of the stories in the book before. I own two copies of the book (both signed by Ellison in person back when I was living in L.A. just a few blocks from the bookstore with the same name). I first got my hands on the book in 1993 at Book Store Santa Cruz. I remember passing the time up there skimming the stories, reading some of them, skipping others. Now I think that it’s about time I corrected the oversight. I am going to read the whole thing, cover-to-cover. And if that goes well, I’ve got Again, Dangerous Visions queued up and ready.

Incidentally, the copy that I am reading is an old, beat up paperback edition that I picked up in another bookstore, Iliad Books. It is falling apart. Literally. A whole portion, pages 521-552 can be pulled out of the book. But thumbing the pages across my nose, It smells like an old bookstore. To me that is like pheromones, like an aphrodisiac. There is no smells quite so sweet.

Bibliophiles out there know what I mean.