12 July 2008

Recent Reading

I used to be a voracious reader in my youth. So much so that it interfered with my ability to get to school on time, my grades, and my (other) extracurricular activities. My parents learned quickly to not bother giving me any money, not even for emergencies, because I would spend it on books. They were never fond of my penchant for science fiction, claiming it was a frivolous waste of time when I should be reading classical literature or weighty philosophical matter (or doing homework). Once, my mother actually tore one of my books in half.

Then, at some point in grad school when I was reading tons of scientific papers all the time, I fell out of the habit of reading fiction. I no longer had days at a time to do nothing but read an entire book all at once. At the same time, reading became physically hard on me. No matter what position I sit or lie down in, some part of me gets stiff and sore - and by rotating through lots of different positions, my whole body ends up stiff and sore. It was like that in my youth, too, but I recovered faster back then. For a while I just read magazines instead (mainly Earth (RIP :( ), Discover, Smithsonian, and Science News), but eventually I stopped reading those, too.

Now I've been trying to ease back into reading. One of the writing groups I belong to started up a book reading challenge a year ago. Basically you declare how many you'll read that year, and then you list them as you finish each one. Last year I declared 12 (one per month seemed like a good way to ease back into reading when I hadn't read a thing for years) and ended up with 10:

1. Agent to the Stars - John Scalzi (sci fi)
2. Out of Thin Air - Peter Ward (science nonfic)
3. Memory of Running - Ron McLarty (mainstream fic)
4. The Paths of the Dead - Steve Brust (fantasy trilogy 1)
5. The Lord of Castle Black - Steve Brust (fantasy trilogy 2)
6. Sethra Lavode - Steve Brust (fantasy trilogy 3)
7. Core Performance - Mark Verstegen (nonfic exercise book)
8. Hellspark - Janet Kagan (sci fi)
9. Brokedown Palace - Steven Brust (fantasy)
10. Starcraft: Queen of Blades - Aaron Rosenberg (sci-fi)

This year I declared 12 again, and so far I have:

1. Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
2. Dzur by Steve Brust
3. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
4. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
5. Thud! by Terry Pratchett
6. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

At the moment I'm working on Hogfather by Terry Pratchett and On Writing by Stephen King. Pratchett is going faster. ;)

The fact that I started visiting the local library helps; I have a deadline to read them by, and then if I'm going to the library anyway to return books I might as well get more... Their sci-fi/fantasy section is only four bookcases, but at my current snail's pace they should last me quite a while. Also, I've learned how to read only a chapter or two at a time. It's much easier to come up with the time for that than two whole days of doing nothing else.


Nathan said...

If you're going for volume, Pratchett is definitely the way to go. Fast easy reads, they are.

But beware. I think he's up to almost 40 books in the Discworld.

brenda013 said...

I see you like Brust. Yay! I like his Vlad series.
Try Modesitt. He is an author one can read slowly, one chapter at a time.

Random Michelle K said...

Discworld is excellent. Brust is one of my favorites, although the Vlad series is very very different from the Viscount series.

Very different.

And I think Phoenix Guards is far superior to the Viscount series. But that just may be me.

MWT said...

Except for Color of Magic, so far all my Pratchett is coming out of the library. That's definitely easier on my bank account. ;)

I am indeed a huge fan of Brust. I've read everything he's put out in connection with the Dragaera setting (that's come out in paperback; waiting on Jhegaala now). Brokedown Palace is in the same setting too, and has a completely different flavor from Vlad, Viscount, and the Khaavren series. ;)

(And I'm waiting for the GM of that long-ago D&D game to put out his Piarra series already, dangit... )

brenda013 said...

I found the long-winded way of writing in the Phoenix Guard a bit tedious sometimes. Not so the Vlad lot. I too am waiting for the paperback version of Jhegaala.

Jeri said...

That looks like a great reading list! I'm behind on my Brust, I need to get caught up...

Anne C. said...

Heh. I, too, was a voracious reader, though I am fortunate enough to have a mother who reads fantasy and scifi, so I could raid her extensive library. Not only would I read instead of doing homework, I would read during class, with the book sticking out of the front of the desk. Irritated the hell out of the teachers.

MWT said...

Heheh... I did that. ;)

In 4th grade there was a box of reading comprehension cards with short stories on them, called SRAs (no clue what that stands for), where we were supposed to read a certain number every week and answer the questions. I used to sit back there reading every single one of them, well past my quota - and occasionally got in trouble if I completely missed that it was time to go back to our desks...