Thursday, May 17

Mmmm....books...



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
and
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.

1 comment:

Mert said...

I'm jaded about Oprah and her whole book thingy. I agree that she got a lot of women reading, but in my opinion she promoted a lot of CRAP, some authors that probably wouldn't have made it with out her. Like the guy who wrote the "non fiction" who turned out to be a big liar. The sad part is that people probably still bought the book to see what all the hubbub was about.

The other thing I didn't like (I read a lot of her book club books), was that a lot of the books has sexual abuse/incest a a theme ( I noticed that quite a few of Toni Morrison's books had a lot of sex abuse as underlying themes... I don't get it). Now, I did stop reading her club books because of this so I really couldn't tell you what kind of books they have been for about 6 years now. I would think that for someone who has suffered incest and sexual abuse (like me), and has supposedly come to terms with her demons... that she wouldn't need to continue to bring that to light... in a fiction. Just my humble opinion. I have my own demons, I don't need to relive them by reading fiction... and to have my nose rubbed in it w/o warning.

One was about a brother and sister... the sister had a sick obsession with her brother and as part of the resolution of the story/ending he slept with her "so that she could move on with her life". Give me a freaking break, what a load of crap. That was the last Oprah book I read, I was so pissed I wasted all that money.

Anywho... off the soap box , sorry about the mini rant I have issues with Oprah... I agree that only reading one author is so silly!

I am a bargain book junkie and have found some really good books just buy shooping price alone. ;)