So Many Books, So Little Time
I've been meaning to do a book post for a couple of weeks now, but keep getting sidetracked by other topics. At the last couple of book club meetings several of the members brought up the difficulty of trying to read a book a month in their busy lives. Ideas were tossed around and I was certainly sympathetic to the varied situations because I've been in that "steal five minutes for myself" period in different stages of my life. And while I was trying to help spring board ideas that would help everyone, inside I was privately thinking how fortunate I am not to have that problem in my own life at the moment.
And I don't. I average 3-6 books a month. But I'm both frustrated and laughing at the fact that recently I've barely managed to get my book club choice read each month in time for the meeting, much less read any books of my own choosing. Now, not complaining. I joined a book club so that I would be forced to read books I had not hand selected (and for the intellectual and social stimulation of getting together and discussing them - not to mention the awesome food and drink people are generally serving), but I didn't think it would take up so much of my total reading time.
I used to be a huge joiner. Quilt club, writer's group, art's council.... not to mention all the kids' clubs and sports and activities. It all came to a screeching halt when Hubby had cancer and I had to pull in and focus on the heart of the family. Since then I've added back a few commitments here and there, but I'm a lot more selective. If truly involved, groups take a lot of time and attention and, part of my bigger plan to find a new direction and focus for the second half of my life, I want to make sure I'm spending that time and attention in ways that aren't just scatter shot all over the place. Since I have a tendency towards dabbling in general.
Right now I'm reading Alabama by Mark Childress. Crazy is right. I'm enjoying the book but also find a larger than usual part of my brain engaged on the "reading as a writer" level, impressed at how the author has taken the larger than life and made it seem plausible. That seems a key to writing just about anything. If you make your settings, characters, plot too "normal", they don't seem believable. Because real life is always stranger than fiction. Tweak things to be just too odd for truth and oddly, it becomes more real.
It's not a new book, I'm behind the times on knowing about it. In fact, I just Googled and whaddya know, it's already been made into a movie! Who knew!?
It jumps back and forth between two characters, Peejoe, a young boy in Alabama, and Lucille, a woman in... well, she's all over the place. I'm liking the Peejoe story line a lot better than the Lucille story line. I get restless reading Lucille, flipping forward to see how many pages I have left before I can get back to Peejoe, but what keeps me going is that this author seems like he knows what he's doing and I'm convinced the two stories will merge into something greater than the sum of it's parts.
I'm still in an I "heart" DeLint stage. When I mentioned a while back that I wasn't sure if I liked his earlier work Moonheart as much as his later ones, it's not to say that I didn't like it. Au contraire. I've got a lot of DeLint left still unread on my shelves, and many more that I don't even own yet, so I've got a lot to keep me happy for a long long time. The problem is, which one to read first!?
I'm also in an I "heart" Gaiman mood. I used to get the two authors blurred together. Not anymore but, there's something "similar" about them. Alas I have nothing new to read of Gaiman's as I've read all his full length works and some of his smaller pieces. I haven't read The Graveyard Book or Coraline, but I don't feel like I can afford to buy them just now. So I'm telling myself "Patience, Grasshopper".
I did, however, discover a BBC A&E mini-series set of DVD's at the local (and only remaining) video store based on Gaiman's book Neverwhere, which is the first of his book I ever read. It remains a favorite to this day because it was the first urban setting fantasy I ever read (or if it wasn't actually the first, I remember it as such) and it opened my eyes to a world of new possibilities. It was also the first of what turned into an entire cluster of books that I read at that time that took place in the hidden, lost, and underground sections of big cities and when I finally had the opportunity to travel by subway, tube, and metro many years later, it greatly influenced the way I experienced them.
We just finished the second half of the six episodes. I'd forgotten most of the plot. It was fun to remember bits and pieces of it as it went along. Hubby isn't a big reader, and not a fantasy reader at all, so it's all new and fascinating to him. Now I want to read the book again.
Postscript: I wrote this up last night and ended up finishing Crazy in Alabama by this morning. Crazy! That was a book club book, now it's finished for this coming week's meeting. And I'm free to read something of my own choosing. I really, really need a fantasy. Jim Butcher's newest Dresden paperback, Small Favors, here I come!