August 20th, 2006

Book Meme Tag

So I got tagged by JJA for a book meme, and I thought I'd share my answers:

1. One book that changed your life?

Just one? Let's see. I suppose I'll single out The Eye of the World in The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I was part of that ravenous horde of geeky teenagers in the early to mid 90s reading each volume in a matter of days. The Eye of the World was basically my introduction to epic fantasy, which is my favorite form of fantasy (when done properly). Those early books really took me to another world, and set me on the path to reading many other works of fantasy, both epic and otherwise, and ultimately played a huge role in setting me down the speculative career path.

2. One book you have read more than once?

As JJA so eloquently put it in his answer for this meme thingie, "I tend to be more interested in what's in that next book, than revisiting what I've already read." Still, I did manage to find the time reread A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I only meant to reread the first chapter, but those pages are the tastiest potato chips ever . . .

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

Well, if you're smart you'll opt for something thick. That makes my choice easy: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. It really is #$!% brilliant. This is my bible of fantasy, as it shows what the modern epic form is capable of when it reaches its absolute heights. Characterization, plotting, world-building, pacing, themes, style, imagery, tension, and great battle scenes. It's all there, baby!

4. One book that made you laugh?

I'm a tough sell with funny books. I tend to seek my comedy through visual mediums. That said, I can recall passages in both A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and The World According to Garp that made me burst out laughing. Neither book is a comedy, but both authors have a solid understanding of humor.

5. One book that made you cry?

I've never cried because of a book. The closest I ever came was when I read the novel version of Flowers For Algernon, because that truly is a heartbreaking story. :(

6. One book you wish had been written?

Easy. The final book in the Dune series by Frank Herbert. I'm quite aware that his son Brian Herbert will be co-authoring the two-book finale of this series with Kevin J. Anderson, and I understand that these books will be based upon Frank Herbert's detailed outline for what was supposed to comprise a single volume. There's a good chance I'll read them, to get some closure on the series as a whole/see where Frank Herbert was going/be exposed to his ideas/etc. But--and no disprespect is intended to either Brian Herbert or KJA--even if they do a superlative job it won't be the same as reading Frank Herbert. It was his series and his creation and it would've been nice to see him write it to its conclusion. I'd like to think that both authors can understand my position (if for some wacky reason either ends up reading this).

Also, I have to throw a second book into the mix. I always wanted to read a sequel to David Gemmell's novel, Quest For Lost Heroes. The last page is so powerfully brilliant, in the space of a heartbeat it sets everything up for wonderful sequel I imagine he would've called War of the Twins (and yes, I'm aware that Weis & Hickman already wrote a Dragonlance book by this name). Unfortanately, Mr. Gemmell died less than a month ago (RIP), so this will never come to be.

7. One book you wish had never had been written?

Alos easy. Bullet Park by John Cheever. I had to read that during my senior of high school, and I absolutely hated it. I recall something about a dude in the suburbs shooting a giant turtle that had wandered onto his lawn, and the author playing it up as a primal battle between man and beast. The book should have been called Bullet Brain, because I wanted to put a bullet through mine.

8. One book you are currently reading?

Currently I'm reading Le Morte D'Arthur by Thomas Mallory. There's a King Arthur story I want to write, and I've already finished a detailed outline. But Mallory's edition of Arthur is probably the definitive edition abuot the great king and his court, so I wanted to read this before I tackle the story. My reasoning is simple. The best King Arthur stories tend to be those that take the existing mythology and reinvent it in interesting ways. But how can you expect to reinvent the wheel without understanding how the wheel works? You can't. So I decided to read the book in the cause of research, and I've been taking notes as I go, picking out details that will help enrich my story. The problem is that although this is an interesting story, the language is really old, so it can get boring at times. And it's 900 pages! But reading this is proving more helpful than I ever imagined, because in addition to the little details I'm picking out, there is also a huge plot twist that came about for my story from my plodding through these pages. So I shall continue unto the end, occasional boredom and all.

9. One book you have been meaning to read?

Steven Erickson's Gardens of the Moon. I've become rather picky about what epic fantasies are worth reading, but based on the tidbits I've heard this sounds like something I could really enjoy.

10. Now tag five people.

Bill Shunn

Bob Howe

Ken Scholes

Jay Lake

Deanna Hoak

Check out their LJ's for their answers!

My Dirty Little Secret

So I must confess something. While I do read other people's blogs, I only do so occasionally. Reason? It's addictive, and I see how much time can get sucked into these things if I'm not careful. So I do my best limiting the amount of time I spend on LJ. Sometimes this means missing the occasional post by a friend.

And today it caught up with me. About five minutes after I emailed the book meme post along to Deanna, she emailed me back:

LOL!! Doug, I tagged you for this at the beginning of August! I'd thought for some reason that you read my blog. :-D

Doh! So with pants down around my ankles I've promised Deanna that I'll stop by her blog more regularly.