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Losing my reading mojo

A couple of evenings ago I found myself roaming around the house, looking for something to read. Nothing tempted me. I would pick up a book, flick through it, put it down again. It is not as if there isn’t plenty of choice for goodness sake. I have lots of books that I haven’t read (not to mention all the ones I’d be happy rereading). There are books by friends that I’ve been looking forward to reading – including one that I want to get to soon because I’m going to interview the author on my blog. But it didn’t feel like the right moment for any of them. I’ve been binge-reading Nicholas Blake’s Nigel Strangeways novels, but I wasn’t tempted by another of those. I was at a loss. There ought to be a German portmanteau word – perhaps there is? – for that feeling of wanting to read something, but not knowing what. It is a bit like being hungry, but not fancying anything specific to eat. This is something that has happened quite often during these times of coronavirus.

In the end I took two books up to bed with me. One was Magdalen Nabb’s The Marshall at the Villa Torrini, which I have read at least twice. Marshal Guarnaccia is one of my favourite fictional detectives and it’s always nice to renew my acquaintance with him. The other was a recent purchase – on a trip to an actual bookshop! – A Claxton Diary: Further Field Notes from a Small Planet by Mark Cocker, good for dipping into. But though these are both fine books (and I recommend them both), they were place-holders, really, still not quite what I was in the mood for.

And then the next morning over breakfast, I began Mortmain Hall, the new crime novel by my friend Martin Edwards. I was gripped right away by the splendidly sinister opening and now I am romping through it and loving it. With all its echoes of the Golden Age, and of famous crimes between the wars, it might have been written for me. I have got my reading mojo back!

12 Comments

  1. Margot Kinberg
    August 8, 2020

    I’m so glad you found your mojo again, Christine. It’s always hard when you’re neither here nor there with what to read. And Martin Edwards is such a talented writer; I’m sure you’ll enjoy the whole book!

    Reply
  2. C'rysta Winter
    August 9, 2020

    “I have got my reading mojo back” …
    what a wonderful declaration of love for Mortmain Hall!
    I hope it will be published in German soon.

    Greetings from the lüneburg heath
    the wolf and cozy mystery Crime Land 😉

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      August 10, 2020

      Good to hear from you. I hope so, too. I have finished it now and so much enjoyed it!

      Reply
  3. Susan D
    August 11, 2020

    Sigh… I know. Want to read, can’t. Want to write, can’t.

    After months and months of reading mostly old favourites (e.g., Trixie Belden and the Gatehouse Mystery) I’ve finally started taking off with a few new ones. Such as Death by Shakespeare, by Kathryn Harkup. She starts with how the theatres and much of public life was shut down during the various plagues that afflicted London in Shakespeare’s day. He had to turn to poetry because plays were not being produced.

    Glad you have found your Book.

    How about, Lesenweh? Derived from Lesen (reading) and Heimweh (homesick)
    Or Buchsehnsucht? Book+Longing.

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      August 14, 2020

      Thanks, Susan, Actually lost my mojo again after finishing Martin’s book! I turned to dear old Agatha again and will post about that. Those suggestions are both pretty good, yet don’t quite suggest that feeling of knowing that you want SOMETHING without knowing what. The Kathryn Harkup sounds good. Sometimes non-fiction can act as a kind of palate-cleanser.

      Reply
      • Susan D
        August 14, 2020

        I’ve also been rereading a lot of Barbara Kingsolver, because she dives deep and comes up with fistful of hope.

        Reply
        • Christine Poulson
          August 16, 2020

          I very admire The Poisonwood Bible, but I don’t think I could reread it. Have struggled a bit with some of the later ones.

          Reply
      • C'rysta Winter
        August 23, 2020

        “Turning to good Agatha to get my reading mojo back…”
        Christine, please, I have to make a Comment about this. Two of my mystery crime novels are expected to be published in English in May 2021. I would like to send you my “Midnight Soirée” to read. With due respect to Agatha Christie and your hungry search … I believe I can satisfy your hunger. Please let me know if you agree with this proposal.

        Reply
        • Christine Poulson
          August 25, 2020

          I’m sorry – I don’t accept books for review, but let me know when your books come out and I will take a look. Good luck.

          Reply
  4. Moira@Clothes in Books
    August 30, 2020

    I think Mortmain Hall was a lifesaver for a lot of people in lockdown, me most definitely included! But still we finish it and then back to the desert.

    Old golden age re-reads are definitely the way to go. I have been reading a lot of Patricia Wentworth, they are so easy and they slip down like a nice cold drink. I am wondering about re-visiting Margery Allingham too.

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      August 30, 2020

      I revisited Margery Allingham a while ago – definitely worth it! But I have been buying new stuff – an Andrea Camilleri, Will Dean’s Dark Pines, and Vaseem Khan’s Murder at the Grand Raj Palace have joined the others on the TBR pile in the last week or two. Well, I have to support my fellow writers and do my bit to kickstart the economy!

      Reply

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