Wednesday, August 18, 2010

absolutely not about genealogy

Mid-August {sigh} …… where has (most of) summer gone? Well, wherever summer has gone/is going, fall is coming and the winter-is-around-the-corner syndrome has hit with a vengeance. Thanks in part to air-conditioning (we have been 100+ frequently this year) I have halfway knitted a new scarf ~ with no snowflakes in sight. Arthritis-in-the-thumb be damned, I refuse to spend my hard-earned $$ on mass-produced stuff any more. Got a little long-absent knitting enthusiasm going and unearthed some other patterns, notably one for an aran purse I have always wanted to make. Wonder if I will this time? Hmmm ……

One love of my life that never sleeps nor takes a sabbatical is reading ~ this summer, replete with glorious five-day weekends, has been epic. All three of Steig Larssen’s Millennium tomes bit the dust. I was so wound up in the first two that I actually bought for the first time in forever, the hardcover edition of number three because the paperback was not out.. A second hardcover, since I simply could not wait, again, Guy Gavriel Kay’s Under Heaven – an absolutely incredible read and a definite read-again – as a matter of fact I have not even put it in a bookcase. Then along came Minette Walters, Greg Iles, Kathy Reichs, Peter Robinson and oh wonder of wonders, the magnificent Stephen King and his delicious Under the Dome. SK at his finestkind.

I have been reading (and knitting) since before I was four years old – my favourite book as a child was Kingsley’s The Water Babies seconded by anything Enid Blyton. It was a given in our house that I could not simply be called for dinner if I was deep in a book, I had to be physically touched or I would read right through any mealtime. That being said, only two books in my entire adult life have affected me personally (and my adult life accounts for a considerable length of time) - the first was Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Hospitalized at 16 for tests, I received my first copy from a friend – I could not put it down. Perhaps it was the era, my own idealism, but I really, really wanted to be Dagny Taggart (and find John Galt). Romanticism aside, Ms. Rand’s depiction of the destruction of a corrupted society scared me to death. Some years later and a lot of water under the bridge, and The Stand arrived (bless Mr.King) – one more time the world as we know it became redundant – in my mind I became Frannie helped that I identified Harold as a teenage acquaintance), confused but with that strong inner spark. I have absolutely no idea of how many times I have read each of these…….

Reading Under the Dome spurred me to re-read other Stephen works, so far I have gone through Lisey’s Story, Hearts in Atlantis, Talisman, Black House (latter two with Peter Straub), The Dead Zone …… and currently Insomnia. I see Duma Key staring at me as well. Despite all of this I have a confession to make – for reasons I cannot fathom I have never been able to get “into” the Dark Tower series – each time I have tried, because I KNOW I will love it, I get stopped dead part way through Gunslinger …….

UPCOMING EXCITEMENT! The erudite Jack Whyte has a new book due out in September. I have read his Dreams of Eagles series several times as well as the Knights Templar Trilogy. This book is the first of the new Guardians Trilogy, the subject is the Scottish Wars of Independence, and it is called The Forest Laird – William Wallace, to be followed by Robert the Bruce and later The Black Douglas. Given our family history and Dad’s propensity for quoting Robbie Burns “'Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled”, they should be extremely interesting. Another author, of whose books I have read only one and was suitably impressed, is Mark Chadbourn. Quite some time ago I picked up his Lord of Silence and loved it. Inexplicably (to me at least ) my bookstore has not seen fit to stock anything else of his, until now that is -

Because of this experience with Mark Chadbourn’s books – and others ( Kate Forsyth, Stephen Lawhead, Maggie Furey et al) I have been thinking about an e-reader ….. just thinking though – I might have a hard time giving up the ‘feel’ of a book in my hands and yet, the weight of the reader versus a hard cover book or even today’s trade paperbacks would be much easier on the arthritis in these hands, not to mention that ordering books online in the midst of winter would be infinitely preferable to venturing outside. I do so love being in a bookstore though {sigh}

Throughout the years I have read a huge proportion of the classics from Dostoyevsky to Dickens, best sellers such as Gone with the Wind, but now I concentrate mostly upon my true loves, fantasy literature and any and all interpretations or points of view on the Uther/Arthur/Merlin saga with a few mysteries thrown in for good measure.

In no particular order, some favourites …..

~ Guy Gavriel Kay ~ Maggie Furey ~ Pamela Freeman ~ Janny Wurts ~ Helen Hollick ~ Mark James ~ Gail Z Martin ~ Irene Radford ~ Karen Miller ~ Mark Chadbourn ~ Gregory Frost ~ Holly Taylor ~ Robert Scott & Jay Gordon ~ Bernard Cornwell ~ Edward Rutherfurd ~ Ayn Rand ~ Thomas B. Costain ~ Trudy Canavan ~ Khaleed Hosseini ~ Stephen Lawhead ~ Marion Zimmer Bradley ~ Jack Whyte ~ Anne Kelleher ~ Laura Resnick ~ Kathy Reichs ~ Greg Iles ~ Minette Walters ~ Juliette Marillier ~

I think I started this whilst bemoaning the approaching end of summer …. back to SK …

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