I have not bought any book for more than two weeks now. It's been really really difficult. I saw a copy of Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog at Bestsellers in Galleria and it was practically calling out my name. Nevertheless, I'm still up to the challenge. After all, it'll only be 24 days till Easter.
Last night, I was looking for a fantasy/sci-fi book to read and I found these three books which I haven't read yet.
Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Dart had me intrigued. It's supposed to combine fantasy with sado-masochism. The other book, A Storm of Swords, is actualy the third novel in the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. I was floored when I read the first two books, A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings, which I think were flawlessly written. I just have to find the stamina to read the third book's 1,200 pages of small print. Oh, and Mr. Martin looks like a hobbit. My third choice, a breakout novel, is something I've read a lot of good reviews about. The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss's debut novel, did win a Quill award. The first few pages seem interesting enough, so I decided to read this one for the mean time. (I know, I know. I should've scanned the first few pages before I bought it.)
Why do fantasy novels have to be at least 700 pages thick? What's with the map(s) right after the title page? Do these books really need a map to remind the reader that they're set in alternate universes? Just looking at the names of the characters is enough to remind you that you're not in Kansas anymore -- Felurian, Kushiel, Daenerys. I can just imagine how hard it is to come up with these names. My favorite sci-fi/fantasy names are Silvertongue (from Cornelia Funke's Inkheart), Lyra (from Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy), and Takeshi Kovacs (from Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon). They're so wonderfully elegant and suit the characters' personas perfectly.
I know a lot of people who read only fantasy novels. I completely understand the fascination with these novels. They're escapist literature -- perfect for people who dream of living in another world. And much as I'd like to come up with a unifying characteristic among fantasy novel lovers, I just couldn't. Not all of them are geeky types. Not all of them are single or unattached. Most of them lead uneventful lives just like the rest of us.
I couldn't say that the same for those Magic The Gathering fanatics I see during weekends in Galleria. There can never be a more homogeneous group than these men. They all wear T-shirts (ironing optional) and rubber shoes, carry backpacks, have no product in their hair, and are most probably single. The few who bring their girlfriends to their "gathering" are left to look after themselves and seem bored as hell. Frankly, I got curious about this phenomena and its firm hold among its players. I had a good friend explain to me once about the objective and the rules of the game. I think my eyes glazed over after a few minutes of listening to the unbelievably complex rules (sorry R!).
The playing cards are amazingly detailed though. I love 'em. They make great bookmarks. I like pretty things.