Ever go through one of those periods when you just can't read? I'm in one right now. I don't have the patience to stay focused. My mind starts to wander to anything other than the words in front of me. I don't know why it's happening now or at any other time. There's not great doom hanging overhead or stress inducing situation make my brain itch. It's just one of those things, but it really ticks me off.
In the past, I've found the easiest way to jump start my ability to read is to reread something I love. Something that won't tax my brain much because it's already familiar.
I'm going back to Lovecraft. Or at least one of the Chaosium books. Sparked by a FB conversation with Charles Rutledge last week, I think I might return to my failed Mythos project from last year, but with a little more discretion.
It was the collection of Lin Carter stories, The Xothic Legend that did me in. Having come to appreciate Carter's super-enthusiastic fannishness, I went into the book hoping to enjoy it. It was not to be. Most of the stories are dull, amounting to little more than lists of names of books and deities. Suspense and atmosphere are things alien to the Xothic Legend. The California and Pacific settings are underutilized, and there's never a real sense of place. All in all, a disappointing undertaking on my part and enough to put me off all Mythos stories for the last year.
I did manage to stagger on and review The Mysteries of the Worm, the collection of Robert Bloch's Mythos stories. The stories range from good to great, and it provides an insight into Bloch's evolution as a writer. The earliest stories were written when he was still in his teens and the latest when he was in his early forties and has transitioned from pasticheur to an artist possessed of his own voice. But it wasn't enough to make me keep going. So I put away the Deep Ones and Dark Young of Shub Niggurath.
Now I'm bringing 'em back. Or at least occasionally, as the mood suits me and if the stories don't stink. It's just going to be a "from time to time" thing. Heck, I might not even read more than a single volume of the series. Right now, though, I've dived into the book centered around everybody's favorite town of inbred Massachusetts hill folks, The Dunwich Cycle. At the very least it should be enough to get me reading again.