Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Books I'm not reading and why

Today Galleycat mentioned Austin Grossman's book Soon I Will Be Invincible. It was one of those moments when I went from having never heard of a book to being consumed with the need to read it immediately. I dropped by the local Barnes & Noble on my way home from work, which of course was nothing but a waste of time. I do not lie or even exaggerate when I say that I have never, ever been able to find a book I'm looking for at that particular B&N. They didn't have it.

I almost bought a copy of Terry Pratchett's new book, Making Money, while I was there. But I'm going to a Pratchett signing in just over a week (let's pause here for a moment while I whoop hysterically around the room in excitement), and I'll buy my copy then. So I left B&N bookless.

Now that I think about it, I'm glad I didn't buy anything--I'm broke until I get paid Friday. But this weekend I think I will have to find Grossman's book somewhere. I must read it.

I borrowed a stack of books from my brother last week, trying to find a new author. I took Redwall (recommended by my ten-year-old nephew) to the laundromat with me, but I got 32 pages in and had to put it down in favor of staring at the dryers. I didn't do a scientific analysis or anything, but I'm pretty sure there are more adjectives and adverbs in the book than there are actually words. I tried Dragonmaster by Chris Bunch next. The first chapter was interesting, with Hal having rescued the baby dragon from the corrupt mineowner's son, which led to him running away from home to spare his parents from retaliation. But the second chapter was set three years later, when Hal gets drunk and tries to ride a wild dragon. And the third chapter was set two years after that. And the fourth chapter was set--well, let's just say I got tired of reading Bunch's false starts and put the book down.

After that I gave The Hidden Stars a try, a book by Madeline Howard. I got maybe two sentences in before I decided that this is too much work and I don't care about all this background, who's the main character?

The next book in the stack was Morgan Llywelyn's Red Branch. It has a "welcome" and a phonetic glossary and a map and a poem before we get to the first chapter. I never read any of that stuff, nor do I read prologues, introductions, anything labeled Before or In the Beginning or Ten Years Prior, or--gawd help us all--family trees. Anyway, I read two paragraphs of Red Branch and nothing roused my interest. I'm just not into high fantasy, and that's what my brother loves (along with hard SF).

Two other books I have borrowed from my brother are Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule, which is 836 pages long and I'm not sure I'm ready to welcome Goodkind into my life for that long, and John Barnes' One for the Morning Glory, which seems awfully twee. So far I'm striking out. Now, I have found books I love in my brother's library--well, okay, I haven't, but I've read some books that stayed with me, like Rosemary Wells' City of Bones--but I'm starting to think I'm better off at the book store. Just not the one closest to the office.

Now that I've ragged on practically every book within armsreach and complained about the ones I can't get, what will I read? I have to read something. I'm sick of playing Boggle online. I suppose I'll fall back on one of my favorites--Diana Wynne Jones, Dorothy Sayers, Terry Pratchett, one of the billions of YA horse books on my shelves, or Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief, which I read ridiculously often. And this weekend, of course, I'll be reading Soon I Will Be Invincible, if I have to drive to the next state to get a copy.

Maybe the library has it.

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