I loved John Scalzi’s The Kaiju Preservation Society. It’s a fun, quick sci-fi story about a parallel planet Earth where animals evolved into Godzilla and we’re crossing dimensions to study them. Weird, quirky, fun.
I knew I would eventually read a novel that incorporated COVID-19 into the plot, and this is it. It’s relatively a minor part of the plot and not exactly crucial, but it does ground this work in time in a unique way.
Perhaps the most unique way is in how Scalzi describes how the book came to be in the acknowledgments. He was working on a dark, serious book when the pandemic hit. His work ground to a halt and he just couldn’t pick it up again. He eventually gave it up and found incredible freedom in letting it go.
There’s a right book for a right time, and that time wasn’t it.
As soon as he gave up on that idea, he got a new one and out popped The Kaiju Preservation Society. He calls it a pop song, saying: “We all need a pop song from time to time, particularly after a stretch of darkness.”
While that’s a story about writing and creating, I think it’s also true about reading. There’s a right book for a right time, and if you’re struggling to get through a book, it’s probably the wrong time for that book. Its OK to move on and try something else. Don’t feel guilty.
As we’ve moved from one calamity to another (pandemic, protest, insurrection, back to pandemic, war), keep that in mind. If it’s really hard to read, that’s OK. Find the right read for the right time.