Reading Slumps and Recollections of a Mystery with a Fantastical Twist

Have you ever experienced a reading slump? Lately I’ve been creeping through three different books, unable to actually commit to anything because NOTHING has felt right. Everything I’ve picked up has failed to really grasp my imagination-with the one recent exception of Inheritance, which finally drew me out of my funk, thank goodness. (Post on that coming soon!) I don’t think I’ve ever abandoned so many books in such a short period. Usually I push through and eventually get into the story. I feel a little lost without a good book. I don’t know what to do with my free time and I end up wasting it watching tv.

I suppose there could be a variety of causes. The chief cause is that my work schedule is cutting into my reading time. I have awkward periods in which to read that don’t allow enough time for proper immersion. I suppose I’ll just have to accept that I no longer have time to read a book in a single sitting. Ah, the cost of growing up. Maybe I should consider a short story collection. At least I would be able to finish something on a more regular basis.

Thus, my absence from the blogosphere lately.

I forgot that I had started a post on The City & The City before the onset of my literary ditch, so here are some thoughts on that:

The City & The City was CityCitymy first China Mieville novel. I don’t read a lot of detective or crime fiction, so I wasn’t sure about it. However, I’ve heard been hearing a lot about Mieville lately and decided to see what all the buzz is about.

I was pleasantly surprised. I appreciated the way he mixed genres in The City & The City. It is a detective novel, but what makes it interesting is the setting. In the world Mieville creates, two cities lay on top of each other, inhabiting the same geographic space. This makes the detective’s investigation extremely complicated, as the murder he is investigating takes place in a “crosshatching.” The cities that lie on top of each other are actually in two different countries, and diplomatic relations are shaky.

It is a bit confusing at first to grasp the situation of the cities, as Mieville is so subtle with his world-building. The rules of society are strange. One must “unsee” members of the other city or risk “breach,” which breaks international law. To breach (fail to unsee) is a serious offense. Offenders of this law are taken by the organization Breach, which no one seems to know the exact function of–nor what happens to those who breach.  I was more interested in the world itself than the detective story. Still, it is well-worth taking a look at China Mieville. I’m certainly going to check out some of his other works.