Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Monday Photo Assignment

   John Scalzi (A.K.A. AOL's Blogfather) has various regular assignments he posts for people to participate in on their blogs. My participation - mostly in his weekend assignment category - has been sporadic, at best. I think I may have participated in the Monday Photo Challenge once before. This week it's about books. How could I resist.

Your Monday Photo Assignment: Show us what's in your bookshelf right now. That's right, right this very second!

   Well, John, here it is. You can click on the picture to see a larger image. The ones stacked up in front were rescued mere moments ago from my bedside table. They are the current quenching for my ever thirsty mind.
Bookshelf   On top is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke, which came highly recommended by almost everyone I have ever met in my entire life. So I read it. And it was excellent. I finished it a couple of weeks ago, but haven't put it away because I think the wife will want to read it.
   Of course, she is currently nine books deep in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, so she won't even consider looking at anything else. I'll tell ya, she's gonna be right pissed if book ten isn't the last one. (Edited to add: Duh! We already have book eleven sitting on our shelf. And I'm willing to bet there's another one coming after that. I mean, if you were writing them, and people just kept buying them and buying them, would you ever finish the story?)
   Next in the pile is Le Morte D'Arthur, by Sir Thomas Malory. As you can see by the bookmark, I have only just started that one. I was intrigued by Guy Gavriel Kay's treatment of the King Arthur legend in his Fionavar Tapestry (another three books I have just finished reading (again) but do not appear here), and wanted a closer look at an earlier incarnation of the story. It is slow going. Although the spelling has been modernised, the language is...different, and it is dry, dry, dry.
   Under Malory is LeGuin's Three Hainish Novels. I read The Dispossesed and The Left Hand of Darkness years ago, and found this on sale at my local Chapters, so I bought it. Three times. I'm not kidding. Twice I came home with it under my arm, only to find it already on my bookshelf, and had to return it. I really do need to learn to exercise some restraint in the book store. Or, at least pay some attention.
   The Hero With A Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell is the non-fiction member of the group. I want to have a better understanding of how so many of the works of fantasy I read are constructed, and my wife had it kicking around in a box of other books she studied in university, so I snatched it. I haven't started it yet.
   On the bottom of the pile is Umberto Eco's The Island of the Day Before. I read and enjoyed his Name of the Rose, and Baudolino, but the prose in this one is much denser, and I'm having difficulty plowing my way through it. Never fear, I will keep working on it.
   Behind those, you can see a small selection of other works by various artists. To the left, books one and two of The Stone Dance of the Chameleon trilogy by Roberto Pinto. They were published in 1999 and 2002 respectively. As of this writing, I understand he is still working on the first draft of the third volume. ::sigh::
   Also visible are several books by my favourite author, Guy Gavriel Kay. The Last Light of the Sun is staring out at me, demanding a second read in the light of the in depth commentary it has been subjected to over at BrightWeavings, Mr. Kay's authorised website. Ah, well. Better add it to the pile.

Wednesday-edited to add: In looking at that photograph, I have just noticed that my copy of Kay's The Lions Of Al Rassan (soon to be a major motion picture) has a bookmark in it, yet it is filed away on the shelf. This is somewhat of a minor embarrassment to me. While Kay is my favourite author, and I like to subject all of his books to multiple readings, I have been unable to get through a second helping of that one. In three tries I have got part way through and set the book down in disinterest. This is the book that is named by a significant number of the man's fans as being their all-time favourite Kay novel, and I can't get through a simple re-read.
   Why? I suspect it has something to do with how Kay has examined the way people's understanding of unfolding events affects their opinions. There are two different places in The Lions of Al Rassan where the author leads his reader to believe that an event has had one outcome, and revealed later that the outcome was, in fact, much different. I remember feeling manipulated when I read it the first time. Perhaps I simply want to avoid the experience again. Sheer speculation, I know, but in three attempted re-reads, I have put the book down before reaching the first occurence of that perceived literary manipulation.



deslily said...

hi, and thanks for commenting in my journal!

Well.. here we go.. this to me I still can't believe that you would be waiting for the third book or your series that you are reading and tell me you will wait for all 3 of Stephen Donaldsons books to come out before purchasing them..
Here's why:  eons ago i purchased Lord Fouls Bane in paperback.. loved it so much I went and purchased the hardback and the subsequent full trilogy.. when he began his second trilogy I purchased them as they came out BUT.. read ONLY THE DUSTJACKET! I was determined not to read them until they all came out.. which i did.. but i won't tell you that I wore out the dang dustjackets while waiting!!

Now here you come telling me nearly the same thing and it's the SAME author that you will wait for.. here's the catch.. I read at his website, he has said he has 36 months before his second book has to be to the publishers (and sometimes a year before its out after that).. then.. another 36 months he has for the third.. Still want to wait??

I'm 62.. I may not have the time to wait!!  So i read the dang book!  I believe I went into it thinking I wouldn't like it near as much as the others because our hero is no longer with us.  I have one thing to say.. HE'S GOOD.  HE'S DAMN GOOD!  He made me like this book.  So here i sit broken hearted paid that dime and only... well never mind, I just hope I live long enough to read the other two books!

Which reminds me.. it's beginning to make me feel it's time to reread the first 6! lol..

lurkynat said...

uh interesting and deep?

lurkynat said...

itersting collection of books

mavarin said...

Here's my take on the trilogy / series reading quandary.  I tend to discover these when the trilogy is already out, so if I'msure I'll like it I'll probably get all three volumes.  If it's an open-ended series, though, then I just read 'em as they come out - and reread the series, if I have time, when the next volume hits the stores.  It's been a while since I've been able to do that, though. - K

pandorasbazaar said...

Thanks for visiting my Journal.

You've got some interesting stuff here. Campbell is not exactly fun and light reading, but fascinating. I think you'll enjoy that. I've been wanting to read Eco's Name of the Rose.

As for Jasper Fforde, his first one is The Eyre Affair. It has everything -- a little sci-fi and alternate history, mystery and suspense, murder and mayhem, love, war, a feisty heroine, and a wickedly delicious villain. It's clever, surreal, and a lot of fun. You can read it alone, but it's the first of a series and you might just get hooked.


princesssaurora said...

I love your books... I think you did something like this one time before because I remember the Umberto Eco books... excellent.  Also, great to hear that you enjoyed the Jonathan Strange book... I might get that soon...

be well,

ps.. I have to read Time Travellers Wife for my book club...

bpslider45 said...

Wow, I am overwhelmed by the depth of your intellect.

Okay... maybe not.

But wait....
WHAT"S THAT... just to the right... almost out of frame. It can't be!!!


I know it - HE"S A CLOSET JESUS FREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe that's just the really bizarre fiction section.

plittle said...

There are actually two bibles there; a study bible my wife used in university, and an old KJV that used to belong to my father (isn't it ironic). Sandwiched in between them are The Bhagavad Gita, and The Tibetan Book of the Dead.