June 26, 2011

Bibliophilia and....Not

I finally made it to the library recently, and got my usual huge load of books--not all the ones I wanted, but I filled up my bag nonetheless with other books I saw and thus remembered I wanted--you know, the usual thing that happens when you go to the grocery store with a list and wind up seeing lots of other items you need but didn't think of? Anyway....

I've been enjoying reading again, particularly since I haven't been feeling well enough to play games with Blake as much, and I'm still in a holding pattern where the employment agency is concerned. (note to self: prod mercilessly!)

I really enjoyed reading some of the books, but not so much others....I started out with the volumes by Kerrilyn Sparks, "Eat Prey Love" and "Vamps and the City." Both were full of the usual romantic wish-wash of people being lead around by their hormones and doing things against their better judgement, but that's par for the genre. Other than that, Sparks balances the potentially cheesy paranormal plot elements very well, managing to place them into a believable alter-reality. She doesn't attempt to stretch believability but instead pokes fun at the cheesy elements, managing to shift them into the sillier elements of life category. All in all, I enjoyed reading them.

I followed them with books in the same genre, but I have to admit I was deeply disappointed by one of my favorite authors, Carole Nelson Douglas, writer of the much-enjoyed "Midnight Louie" series. I'd glimpsed her newest "paranormal" series on her website when last I visited it, and thought it would be fun to check it out. I was not prepared in any way for what I got, however.
The series falls down the rabbit hole of unbelievable carnival side-shows, grabbing every cliche known to man on the way down. The books have more than the usual number of fragments and non-sequitars. Some of them were horrific...but on top of that, the books abandon all pretense at believability (a dog that can run as fast as a car on the highway and make wounds disappear with his tongue, just for one) and don't even bother to attempt make it into a joke. In fact, they all fall into the realm of hokey publicity stunts. I wonder if CND was trying to make them horrible in order to convince her publisher that it's not her genre...she also reaches for "gritty", the latest trend, but her books are the difference between wearing a tshirt that says "I am gritty" and actually being so. It's almost as though she made a list of "gritty phrases" and words, and attempted to use them all a specified number of times. I "finished" the three books I'd gotten "Brimstone Kiss," "Vampire Sunrise," and "Silver Zombie" only with great perseverance-- I have to admit I was only scanning most of the last book because I couldn't bear it. I didn't want to put it down though, because I wanted to read the whole thing before I ventured an opinion and because it was so bad I couldn't turn away, much as people do with horrible accidents.

After that debacle, "Going Postal" by Terry Pratchet was a welcome comic relief. Pratchet doesn't attempt to drag his alter-reality into the realms of believability, but instead makes it into a well-crafted comic farce--an enjoyable break from the hum-drum.

I also read (or re-read, I can't remember) "The Brave and the Bold" by Keith R.A. DeCandido, one of the best Star Trek authors I've read. Sadly, I realized I had book two only after I got home; nevertheless it was an enjoyable read--DeCandido manages to balance plot elements and excellent character development with his usual aplomb. If only all Star Trek authors measured to his and Michael...Friedman? Can't quite remember his name...standards, anyway. Some of them I've read have managed to skew the Star Trek universe into their unique paradigm, resulting in something that only technically deserves the name "Star Trek."

I tried out a new author by the name of Terry Spear-"Heart of the Wolf." From it I had the "lupus garou" scientific name of werewolves ground through my skull, as it was repeated several times each page (or so it seemed). I got the impression that the author really liked the phrase. I also learned that an author could pad a script with erotica and thereby have half as much to write. I may read another of Spear's books if it's the last book in the world and I can't find any growing grass to watch.

Luckily, I had one of James Rollins' earlier works, "Map of Bones" to follow that pill with. Rollins dives into his usual fast-paced suspense, showing even then that he had potential for real dramatic action. This particular story lacked his later polish and break-free plot pace, but still was an exciting read. Like all the other books by this author that I've read, it includes the author's strange disregard for ancient monuments and artifacts--while he writes at length about their age and attributes, his characters usually deface or destroy something in the plot, even as they recognize its value. I admit I don't understand this particular eccentricity, but I tend to simply let it pass since otherwise, Rollins is in an action class of his own.

I'm currently reading "Siege of Darkness" by...something Salvatore. Even though it's the middle of a series, the book is amazingly well-written and boasts beautiful fictional languages as well as a well-crafted alter-universe. I didn't find out until partly into the book that the adventures of Drizzt Do'Urden, rogue drow, are somewhat legendary and popular. I'm not surprised. I am enjoying it quite a lot, and have admitted a slight Drizzt crush to Blake. More on that after I've finished the book.

That's the main bits of what I've been doing, besides playing "Forgotten World" a little, and CO, STO, and Magicka with Blake, the last being the latest game he's introduced me to. I wish I could spend more time than I have with him, but my energy levels are not what they should be. I need to try to pull myself to some kind of schedule and get some sun, if I can. Oh, and last but not least, I read "The Five Love Languages" by Dr. Chapman, loaned to me by my sister. From it I have learned that Blake's primary love language is "physical touch" and thus, his constant snuggling and hugging is not clingy-ness but an attempt to love me as he desires to be loved. I myself seem to derive a feeling of being loved from receiving gifts, even such things as physical presence. More on that later, though....

For those that wonder how much time it's taken me to read all of the above books, about a week but probably less. I read most of them in three days; but that's par for my pace.

Posted by Rachel at June 26, 2011 12:31 AM