What do you read?
I’m taking a bit of a side track from some of my usual blog topics today. I have a keen interest in story, but I find I don’t gravitate to short pieces. I don’t have tons of story ideas in folders and files waiting further attention, but I have a goodly handful I hope to commit to as I continue to explore Pevana and the regions and cultures I have found there. I like short stories; I read them, use them to teach and they figured prominently in my courses of study as an undergrad and later as a graduate student. I still have all the volumes of Lin’s Carter’s early series The Year’s Best Fantasies. In fact, Carter’s collections introduced me to several of my favorite writers: CJ Cherryh and Patricia McKillip. I have been collecting and consuming their long and short fiction the bulk of my reading life. I admire them both for the quality of their prose and for how prolific they have been. I sense a control to their output, dedication to the craft and professional discipline in how they go about creating their tales. They are committed in ways I know I will never achieve. I follow Cherryh on her blog, and the scope of the woman’s knowledge and interests is truly impressive. I consider her one of the greatest artificers of our age, and yet she doesn’t eat, sleep and dream the genre. She delves into ancestry, gene history, follows current astronomical developments, finds time to ice skate, cook, go to cons and go blotto with video games and great historical movies. Her blog reminds me of Gatsby’s house, “full of interesting people doing interesting things.” In short, the woman has used to bulk her days to foster and explore all the things that speak to her talents, and I find that truly inspiring.
My question for those of you who read this blog and my writer friends and associates is simply this: What do you read? I write fantasy because it suits my temperament and skills. I love science fiction, but I doubt my technical knowledge and language command. I fear sounding false, so I stick to swords and spears and bowls of stirrabout. I have always been intrigued by Roman Britain and the “dark” years after
withdrew. Arthur, Ambrosius, Uther and the rest of the real or mythical cast
periodically claim me. I blame Suitcliff for that. I was fortunate as a young
man to find a great library in my junior high school that stocked all of her
novels. I recall looking for a refuge from the hormonal soup that was my school
and developed a fondness for heather choked hills and heroes that spoke to me
from the shadows of the past: The Lantern Bearers, Dawn Wind, The
Sword at Sunset, The Eagle of the Ninth. Great stuff. I have enjoyed
collecting her works as an adult. Rome
And what am I reading now? After seeing the first Hobbit film, LOTR claimed me once again. My sixth grade teacher read the book to my class. I still hear her voice doing Bilbo… Middle Earth claimed me when I was twelve and I have been taking hikes with Frodo almost yearly ever since. And yet this time, I will admit to having a slightly different experience, and I blame my wonderful editor for the insight. I now know the source of all those over the top epic sentences she had me excise or change. Plus, has anybody else noticed how much the dear old Professor used passive voice? But that is a topic for another time.
So, peers and readers, what do you read? What are your favorites that you find yourself revisiting from time to time? I would welcome any additions to my “to be read file.”