Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What I'm Reading...A List

My undergraduate degree is in English/Literature.  I love stories.  I love to read.  I read fairly quickly.  I read a lot.

In most areas of my life, I find multitasking difficult.  Not because I can't do it (I can - learned out of necessity at work).  But because my brain is not built that way.  I am a focus-on-the-task-at-hand-and-do-it kind of person by nature.  That is not to say I can't be distracted.  If I do not want to complete the task at hand, I am especially good at finding other things to do...ooooh, shiny!

However, one area of my life that seems to have changed as I've gotten older is my capacity for stories.  It's grown, amazingly.  I used to be an I'm-going-to-read-all-of-the-books-in-the-series-in-order-one-at-a-time-and-nothing-else-until-they-are-done girl.  And I still can be at times.  Oh yes, I have my fair share of obsessions.  But now, there are so many stories I want to read, I can't seem to choose.  And so I am in the middle of a handful of books/series at any given time.

So last night I finished reading A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King.  This is the second book in a series.  It is a continuation of Sherlock Holmes, centering around an interesting young woman named Mary Russell.  I love this series and have read all but the most recent book (which is at home, waiting patiently for me to open it).  It is very well written and also very engaging.  I am not typically in favor of continuations of famous stories, but this one has enough originality that I don't seem to mind.  (Random fact - Laurie R King also writes contemporary mysteries, most of which involve a lesbian police detective in San Francisco - Kate Martinelli.  Also good.)

After finishing that book, did I pick up the third book in the Mary Russell series?  No, of course not!  Way too easy.  I started reading a book I've had for 20 years.  It is the first adult (as opposed to children's, not X-rated) fantasy novel I ever loved.  It is called By the Sword, and it is by Mercedes Lackey.  I spent the latter half of my childhood in Tulsa, OK, and Mercedes Lackey lives in that area.  The popular independent bookstore did a good job promoting local authors, and I picked this book up on a whim.  And promptly fell in love with fantasy.  Is it the best book ever?  No. it's just a solidly written novel that I enjoy immensely.  I've read it so many times, it's like re-connecting with really good friends when I revisit the story.  This book's strong, independent female protagonist profoundly shaped my world view.  It certainly formed my dislike of wimpy female characters - especially damsels in distress (they have their place, but blech who wants to be one?).  Mercedes Lackey has a boatload of published fantasy under her belt, most set in her world of Velgarth and its land of Valdemar.  This standalone novel is a good place to start.  (Random note - in another of her series, there is a novel called Jinx High that is set at the high school I went to.)

What else am I in the middle of?  Well, a friend of mine loaned me the complete set of Neil Gaiman's wonderful Sandman series.  I read the first volume a few years ago (thank you KW), but had not finished the series.  I did read the separate graphic novels that feature Death as the main character, since my library has them.  I will probably not finish those until after Gencon, because I do not want to rush the fine Mr. Gaiman.

Speaking of fabulous fantasy, I'm also about to re-pick up The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.  I read this when it first came out, and I have the second novel in the series.  I really would like to read it, but I want to refresh my memory before diving in.  This is the best fantasy novel that I have read in the last 10 years.  It is extremely well written and creative without pounding you over the head with its cleverness.  Kvothe is probably the most interestingly flawed but awesomely gifted protagonist I've ever encountered.  Patrick Rothfuss definitely did this right.

But wait!  There is more.  I'm reading a travel guide about San Francisco, since my aunt just moved there and I'm going to visit her in the next few months.  And I just bought A Song of Fire and Ice (aka the Game of Thrones series).  Those will be read in the next few months.  Not to mention RPG rule books and other related items.

Long story short (too late) I like to read.  :)  I'm sure I'll bore you with tell you about other books in the future.


  1. Yeppie! The Gaiman is worthy of your somewhat divided? attention.

    And with a name like Mercedes (is it her real name or pen name?) you just can't help but be awesome, right?

    Game of Thrones - yeah. Awesome! Chris is currently reading it to me, along with a couple other books...hmmm...sounds like we may have a similar "divided attention" problem, me thinks.


  2. I'm not sure if Mercedes Lackey is a pen name or not. I suspect it is, but I remember hearing that she goes by "Misty" so it might be her real name.

    I started Game of Thrones when it first came out, and I couldn't tolerate the darkness of it. I'm going to give it another go though. I'm pretty familiar with the story, so I know what I'm in for.

    And of course I love Neil Gaiman.

  3. Oh I know how you feel. As a child, my parents learned that telling me to go to my room was a pointless endeavor, as my room was filled with my books and thus there was no punishment. They quickly learned to instead send me to their room... where I proceeded to squirrel away books like winter was coming.

    I am currently waiting upon the next shipment of books I have from the Science Fiction Book Club, where I intend to rip apart the box and devour the contents.

    I shall be interested on your thoughts on the Game of Thrones series. Mine seem to fall into the dissenting minority, but my inquisitive nature wants to know why others enjoy a book or cast it aside.

  4. Oh, yeah. My parents never quite understood that I didn't care about being sent to my room either. And I'm guessing I'll have something to say about Game of Thrones when I'm done, but it's going to be a while. :)