Thursday, May 17
Let's start off with a statement, shall we?
I read Cheap, mass-market, escapist fiction. I don't read to further my edumacation, although that can happen along the way. I don't read so I can talk about it at my book club. (I've never seen a book club that covered what I read, and I don't play Magic the gathering or collect comics, so I'm not likely to find one.)
When I worked at the bookstore, there were certain types of customers that I would dread. They considered themselves hardcore readers, but they had exclusive relationships with their pet authors.
"Oh, I've read everything that Stephen King/Anne Rice/Dean Koontz/Danielle Steele has ever written. I don't bother with anyone else."
Excuse me? I would do bookselling gymnastics the first few years, trying to get that reader to recognize that there was a whole world of books, of BETTER books. I eventually came to accept that they just wanted to be knowledgeable about SOMETHING, and chose an author to latch on to. Nothing would make me walk away faster than to hear that you read one author to the exclusion of all others. I cannot imagine having missed out on so many great books over the years.
I sold books through the first (five?) years of Oprah's book club, too. That was a different set of issues-and every one of those books had issues. I read to escape, and the little O on a book is a sure sign to me that while it may be a compelling read, there sure isn't going to be a functional family or a happy ending. But she did get thousands of housewives reading for the first time since graduating high school.
My bookselling days are over, and I miss them. Matching someone with a great book and having them come back to me for recommendations, because I was soooo right about that one...good stuff. You just don't get that kind of interaction behind the spit shield. sigh.
So there are five books that I read in my frenzy of verbiage.
The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch.
The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss
His Majesty's Dragon and Throne of Jade
by Naomi Novik
Prayer at Rumayla by Charles Sheehan Miles.
Okay: quickie reviews, as I am pressed for time:
Lies was a good rollicking thief's tale, but I could have waited for paperback. I look forward to the next book.
Name of the Wind-so glad I got this one in hardback. It had a little more depth than Lies, and the gypsy/magician/retired fighter set up is unusual. I am eagerly awaiting the next hardbound release.
The Naomi Novik books are set in the Napoleonic wars, but with the slight historical change of adding dragons. I really enjoyed these and want the next book to be out in paperback NOW.
Prayer at Rumayla was a hard book for me. There is no escape in this novel of a soldier's return home after the first gulf war. It was a vivid portrait of the anger and sense of disconnection felt by a soldier trained to do unspeakable things, thrust back into the world he'd left behind. Great read, but definitely heartbreaking.