Dear Reading, It’s not you, it’s me – TBR Challenge 2017

I am in a fiction reading slump. It is the slumpiest that I can remember since the black hole years back when my sons were babies and the only thing I read were the clues in my Christine Lovatt’s Crossword books. This makes for a very lacklustre start to Wendy’s 2017 TBR challenge – January theme of We Love Short Shorts.

The last book I finished reading was on the 15th of December and I can directly attribute my lack of interest in reading anything at all to the death of my student, my husband being in hospital, my lovely cousins visiting from Switzerland and this hot horrid heat hell called Summer.  Last night was so awful that it did not drop below 30C/86F. In heat despair, I got into my car at 4am with the engine on just to cool down in air conditioning (the plus side to this is that I listened to another chapter of my everlasting audiobook – see my last post).

My last post of the year where I searched for the good things in the year was incredibly helpful as it dragged me out of some of my sadness. I have had several swims, my house is looking tidy and lovely and I have been writing some words towards the PhD. But the ludic reading has fallen by the wayside. I have started many books but I have not managed to proceed beyond Chapter 7 in any of them. This is definitely a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”.

I didn’t love my “short shorts”, and many of the books were quite long however my reading of them was definitely cut short (heh – see what I did there? There are many ways to link to Wendy’s theme of the month!). The books I partially read are:

Summer Skin Kirsty Eagar

Summer Skin

by Kirsty Eagar

Yeah. I know. Everyone loves this book. This book is now out of print. This book is due for US release in 2018. Fanfare is yes. *sigh* I’m up to Chapter 7 and I am already bored.

It’s not you, Summer Skin.

It’s me.


Under the boss's mistletoe by jessica hart

Under the Boss’s Mistletoe

by Jessica Hart.

I thought a sweet romance will do the trick. I’ve heard lots of praise for Ms Hart. But one chapter in was enough for me.

It’s not you, Under the Boss’s Mistletoe.

It’s me.



Cowboy's Christmas Miracle by Anne McAllister

The Cowboy’s Christmas Miracle

by Anne McAllister

This was going to be a reread. What better way that to get out of a slump than by rereading a favourite book by a favourite author. But I couldn’t get past Chapter 2 of this book. It felt navel gazey.

It’s not you, The Cowboy’s Christmas Miracle.

It’s me.



Fantastic Man by PhaidonFantastic Man: men of great style and substance

edited by Emily King

When a super groovy compilation of portraits, profiles and essays  from a magazine on stylish, gorgeous men, with few articles longer than 4 pages, you know you have some hardcore reading slump happening.

It’s not you, Fantastic Man.

It’s me.


Boyfriend by Christmas by Jenny StallardBoyfriend by Christmas

by Jenny Stallard

This was a bit of a 10 Ways to Lose a Guy (love this movie) rip off with the main (writer) character being told by her editor that she must get a boyfriend by Christmas and so start her adventures in drunken hookups and regretful relationships just to find the right guy was always there. I read the first 7 chapters and skimmed to the end.

Sadly, with this book, it was definitely Boyfriend by Christmas.

It was not me.

There are at least 15 books in my TBR that I couldn’t even get through the first page but I am not going to bother with listing those. I am stalling my break up with books for now. I think I will need to curate my next choice. I have Tessa Dare’s Do you want to start a Scandal waiting on my shelves and I am going to venture into the world of crime fiction (SHOCK! HORROR! The genre I am least likely to read!) by giving Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness a go purely on the strength of her being the 1980s teen romance author Janet Quin-Harkin who wrote my absolute favouritest Sweet Dreams EVAH! Ten Boy Summer.

And if that doesn’t work – I have Dog eat Dog – an AC/DC biography waiting to be read. In this heat, I might as well read about the men who rocked my 80s as I physically feel like I am on a Highway to Hell.

Burning sweltering man gif

16 thoughts on “Dear Reading, It’s not you, it’s me – TBR Challenge 2017

  1. I’m book slumping as well. Except I don’t know why, and I have absolutely no excuses other than nothing (besides A Midnight Clear ) has captured my interest. So frustrating. Grrr! On a positive note, I’ve ordered Eva Ibbotson’s A Company of Swans and Magic Flutes which I hear are very, very good. Hope springs eternal!

  2. I myself managed to half-assed finish reading a short story that I had abandoned several times before, but I’ve yet to put down my thoughts on it. Ah, well.

  3. Under the Boss’s Mistletoe was my first Jessica Hart and I really loved it. Sad face is sad. But seriously – slumping is the worst. I was floored when I stuck with the first book I picked up for this month’s Challenge and managed to inhale it in one afternoon between loads of laundry. I cannot remember the last time I read a book, even a category romance, in one day. I wanted to throw confetti in the air and open a bottle of champagne.

    • I think the reason I borrowed the Hart is because I saw your praise for it. I’m sorry too that it didn’t work for me. I really wanted it to work. The only time I was able to finish a book in a sitting was during my long train trip a few months ago. I was travelling alone and in a confined space. I recommend it if that is your wish 🙂

  4. I sympathize with your reading slump. I started reading thrillers and memoirs, which has helped my romance slump. I seem to appreciate them more if they’re not the only thing I read. I hope your slump irons itself out soon. 🙂

  5. I offset the fantasy aspect of romance with cold, hard nonfiction, the more dire the better. I highly recommend Yuval’s Sapiens. Or my obsession, any historical account of the Great War. I also read a lot of doom-saying articles and thank you, America, for making doom-saying so much easier these days … when I return to romance, I could (((hug))) it. But I do need that back and forth reading movement.

    I loved the Hart! I’m so sorry it didn’t work for you. 😦

    • I read a lot of articles and essays too. I occasionally read historical accounts but I’m more partial to memoirs though I can’t pinpoint exactly what makes me pick one up. I tend to not read as much leisurely non-fiction as I used to as I read soooo much for the thesis. Linked metadata theorem’s anyone?

  6. I really want to read that Hart, or rather, any Hart, since Kay has praised Hart so many times. Perhaps this is the one I’ll try.

    Hope you get out of your slump soon. And hope Rhys Bowen does the trick for you.

  7. I can’t deal with anything vaguely realistic at the moment. Even though HEA is fiction I find myself doom saying the world the characters are inhabiting. I’ve tried to start lots of books and end up killing fairies and calling them done. I have found some book refuge in fantasy genre reading but it’s one or two books a week not my usual one a day. I can’t bear anything too bad happening to protagonists so maybe need to read all the Betty Neels?

    • I can’t deal with anything vaguely realistic at the moment. Even though HEA is fiction I find myself doom saying the world the characters are inhabiting.

      This, this, this, exactly this! For well over a year and a half, this has been me. Hence, all the re-reading of favorites–and even then, nothing too terribly angsty.

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