Reading Recs

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I've not only been having a hard time writing lately, I've also been having a hard time finding a book that holds my attention for more than a few chapters. Luckily, I pulled Lisa Cache's Dream Of Me from the to-be-read pile. What a great book. More fantasy/love story than paranormal romance, it's an unusual premise, with story characters who are not the typical types you find in a lot of romance novel. I'm not disparaging the 'typical types', by the way, they fulfill a comfort need in many case and 'typical' then becomes synonymous with 'favourite'. As for Dream of Me, you can read the AAR review here.

I then delved into Come to Me, which is actually the prequel to DoM, this one is more a standard para-romance, but, again, I like the 'difference' in the characters. The review for that one is here.

Both books started me on a Fantasy jag. When I saw LUNA's Poison Study by Maria Snyder, I snapped it up (even though I've sworn a million and one times that I'd never buy brand new hardback release anything.) I enjoyed it, read it in two days. There were some slow spots in the middle, and I'll probably wait for the soft cover when the follow up--Magic Study-- is released, but pretty darn good read over all.

Next on my list is Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's trilogy. I've just started Kushiel's Dart (16 pages in), and I'm simple blown away by the world building.

But the damn book is 912 pages long. I know this may sound ignorant, but I'm usually really, really averse to picking a 1000 page tomb. That page count may just be the deciding ‘don’t buy/don’t read’ factor for me. If it sucks, I'll put it down fast enough, but if it's good, I'm stuck reading all 1000 pages.

Yeah, that's exactly how I look at it: stuck.

It's like watching an awesome 3 hour long movie. No matter how good it is, there comes the point when you really want to go to the bathroom, or your tailbone starts hurting, or you start peeking at your watch, or.... you just want to be doing something else. Anything else. And if your name is Dean Koontz and you’re a master storyteller, but I'm editing every bloated lyrical 70 word sentence you write, down to 5 words, then the resentment really starts to kick in. Years later, I still haven't read the remaining books to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. I loved the first book, until around page four hundred, then I wanted it to end and release me from its clutches so I could read something else! Twice bitten and all that.

I'm not saying less story, I'm saying more books with less pages. It’s called reader fatigue.

I've gotten off topic, haven't I?

Back to the fantasy reading, these books made me think a bit more about my current wip, and the underlying dissatisfaction I've been having about it. The ms was too lightweight, there wasn't enough depth to the plot or characters, and the characters lacked the complexity I would love them to have. But I've spent the last couple of days really planning out the world building, and digging a little deeper into the conflict and motivations, and for the story finally feels *alive* to me, now. So it's true what they've always told you, that one of the best things you can do for your writing is to keep reading.
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Anonymous said...

I've been tempted Byt he Kushiel series before...but have managed to not get sucked in. It looks great, but the length scares me off every time.LOL

Sela Carsen said...

Thank God I'm not the only one. It's why I can't bear to pick up Gabaldon. Or Kushiel's Dart. Don't they have a Cliff's Note version of those?

riemannia said...

I also am reluctant about bigger books. But when it's a good big book, it offers, imo, something extra if the author is capable of building towards a killer ending. (Rare, I know. That's the problem.)

That said, I couldn't really finish Kushiel's Dart although I thought it had a fantastic opening third. I'll be curious to know what you think of it.

Thanks for the other recs. I'll have to look them up.

Jaye said...

LOL. Thank you guys for speaking up about the doorstopper books. I've always felt a bit gauche judging books by their page length. :-P

I only bought Kushiel's Dart. I haven't bought the other two, because I'm sure Gabaldon syndrome will kick in.

Riemannia, I sorta not surprised to hear you say that. The intricate worldbuilding of book necessitates a lot of detail. So far the author has woven those details into the narrative rather seamlessly without slowing the pace, but it's a difficult balance and I suspect that further in things might drag a bit. :-P

Sash I know that anonymous is you. Are you making sure that you've chosen 'blogger display name' for your identity when you want to leave a comment?

Jordan Summers said...

I've been having the same problem with books. Nothing but 'old' favorites are keeping my interest. Truly sad.

As for the longer books, I can't do it. It already takes me forever just to finish a category. (I read SO slow.) I can't imagine 1000 pages staring me in the face. Shudder.

L.N. Hammer said...

Heh. When I was a teenager, I was specifically attracted to long books, because they'd actually last more more than a day. Which is why I've read most of Mitchner's books, and far too many bad Fat Fantasy Novels.

What puts me off from the Kushiel series is not the size, but reports from friends I trust that the heroine is too much a Mary Sue to read it without annoyance.


Diana Peterfreund said...

I read the first few chapters of Kushiel's Dart last year while waiting out a storm in a big box bookshop (I didn't have the 28 NZ bucks it cost). But I haven't been able to put it out of my head, and it was 19 months ago. Hmmmm... a prize for finishing my revisions, perhaps?

meljean brook said...

Ah, crap, I just posted a response to this in the wrong comment section. *headdesk* Methinks I should go to bed.

Jaye said...

LOL. No worries, Meljean. I saw your comment and didn't even realize it was to the wrong blog post. Joins in with the *headdesk*

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