I love books and I love reading. I love going to bookstores and libraries and just walking down the rows of books, pulling out books that look interesting, reading the blurbs on the dust jackets and the backs of the books. However, I don’t love the modern incarnation/conception of libraries and bookstores with their focus on book “communities,” reading “clubs” (aka reading “circles” or “groups”), and focus on other non-narrative media (movies, audio, and even video games are fine for me because of the narrative aspects of those media, but when start moving into toys, and food and beverages, that is where I lose interest). However, I discovered that if I’m able to get to the bookstores/libraries early enough in the day, I can recapture some of that joy in cruising the aisles in order discover that special book that I can lose myself in. So, I thought I write this week’s blog entry on the four books that I bought recently at a used bookstore. I don’t know if this will become a regular feature of the blog, but it seemed like something fun to write about. I bought two fiction books and two non-fiction books this time around.
TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT (Book 13 of the Wheel of Time Series) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
I have read this book before. I have completed the entire Wheel of Time novel series having started reading them way back as an undergraduate when I started my college career at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (UTK) before I transferred to U.T. Chattanooga (UTC) a couple of years later. This series is one that I found with help from a friend from high school who was also attending UTK (An aside: quite a few of us actually ended up at UTK, especially in that first year and we often talked about cool Fantasy novels that we were reading). I read this book about a year or two after it was published. I didn’t read it initially because I concerned about Sanderson’s (or any other writer’s, for that matter) ability to successfully conclude the story that Jordan had been working on for so many years. However, after reading an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) of Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings, I felt confident in Sanderson’s approach that I went ahead and finished the three books the Wheel of Time Series.
WRITING FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION: HOW TO CREATE OUT-OF-THIS WORLD NOVELS AND SHORT STORIES by Orson Scott Card, Philip Athans, and Jay Lake & the Editors of Writer’s Digest.
This is one of those books that I simply couldn’t resist based on the cover and the title. I try to buy only one book in each genre (in this case, how to: writing), but I simply couldn’t help myself when I saw it. It covers a lot of material that I already know and/or have in other forms somewhere else, but I”m super interested in transitioning from short form Fantasy and Science Fiction into long form Fantasy and Science Fiction and I’m looking for any tips and techniques that I can find to aid me in my process. It also has a very comprehensive “reference” section that relates to various historical elements that might be useful to a Fantasy writer, in particular and I just couldn’t resist. I don’t think it will be as helpful to me as the other book on writing that I bought (see below), but it did have a dragon on the cover. Note to future authors: if you want to pique my interest, just put a dragon or a spaceship on the cover.
BLEAK HOUSE by Charles Dickens
Okay, so this is one of those books for “school.” My program has a fairly exhaustive list of famous/important literary works for incoming PhD students to read and take a test on. Now I’ve already taken (and PASSED! 🙂 ) this exam, but I the idea of a list of important literary works is a “challenge” that I really want to undertake. So I’ve made it my goal to finish all the books on this list. I actually downloaded the audio version of this book to listen to on the drive to and from school, but I really do follow the story better when I can read it, rather than listen to it. So, I decided to buy this copy and read it during my “downtime” between classes, waiting in lines, etc. I’ve read Dickens before, but not this specific book, so I’ll be interested to see if I like it as I do all of the other Dickens novels that I have read.
WRITING THE BLOCKBUSTER NOVEL by Albert Zuckerman
This is another book that I’ve read before–I read it at the Chattanooga Public Library long before I started working there. It didn’t really make all that much of an impression on me at the time as I was primarily interested in learning “short story” writing. I wanted to learn how to write short form fiction before stepping up to the “big” works of novels, screenplays, and the like (graphic novels, while around, were not really viable options at that time). Now, however, I think that I’m ready to learn the lessons of novel writing. I especially love the fact that point number on the dust jacket in the inside cover is “how to develop and use an outline.” Anyone following the conversation that I had two weeks ago with a blog commentor named Tom Cordle will appreciate the fact that I like outlines to guide my stories into rough draft stages. Outlines make sense to me where as just jumping in blind does not. I can’t tell you how many novels that I have “in my mind” that did not make the translation onto the page because I did not complete a strong outline/rough draft. I’m hopeful that this book will allow me to produce an outline for a novel over the summer and (fingers crossed) a rough draft for it by Christmas of this year as well. Well, I can dream big, at least.
Well, that’s it for me. Here’s hoping you have wonderful, book-filled, week.