Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Whole lot of "Not book Reviews" and The Great Purge

So I have been reading a lot; only not reading to completion.  I have about six pounds of books to trade in tomorrow and with this upcoming visit I think I'll break the $300 worth of store credit limit at Books-For-Less.  (So if anyone needs to go book shopping on my tab; come on down.)

I'm getting more lenient in my old age: I upped my minimum page count for putting a book down to 100 this past week, though I should say it has since been reinstated at a firm 50.  It's the Heroic/Epic fantasy conundrum again.  I still want to like it.  I still can't get past hundreds of pages of exposition, the host of introductions that don't yield story, the names--names of people, places that I can't come to terms with and seem to function with phonetic rules that govern no language ever used before--the info dumping dialogue, and other turn offs.  I can only blame myself, but no more!

As of this week, I have no more Heroic/Epic fantasy to torment or tease myself with!  It's all gone, but before I got rid of it, I tried to read, connect and enjoy each book.

I had two older collections of the The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror by Datlow and Windling in which I read all the stories by the 'big name' authors I was familiar with.  Then I read three stories in each anthology by big name authors I didn't know and three from authors I'd never heard of.  Fantasy has come a long way...  Surprisingly, I really like the horror stuff I read; a comment that catches myself so off guard I can't expound on it further.

Finch by Jeff Vandermeer was perhaps too stylish and too trendy or too lacking in verbs, subjects, or specific pronouns for me to connect with--and I'm no grammer nazi.  It was like going to out to a hipster bar to people watch: one drink, twenty minutes, any longer and you'll get a headache.

The overwhelming bulk of what is going out the door tomorrow are the first six books of Steven Erikson's The Malazan Book of the Fallen.  They are all huge trade paperbacks.  They all have gorgeous cover art, and after two hundred and thirty-six pages of Gardens of the Moon I can they are all the kind of fantasy I want to like but am having difficulties engaging with.  I think I would hail these books the greatest ever had I discovered them ten years again.

The most interesting book whose fate has yet to be determined has been a short story collection Swords and Dark Magic by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders.  I've skimmed through all the stories but declined to read for start to finish more than a handful.  A lot of it is fun and easy to get caught up in; a lot of it takes itself a bit too seriously and becomes tedious early on.    
Considering the 'genre' stuff I have read as of late and liked, the stuff targeted at 'young adults' or authors labeled as such have been much more fun to read.  I've made note of this before, only I've never acted on my knowledge and looking into reading YA fantasy--which is probably exactly what I'd most enjoy.  Recommendations?

I've read a lot of fiction on the screen this past month as well; all of which I'd consider fantasy, but I'm not sure any of it would be called 'genre.'  Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Michael Chabon, Peter Beagle, Jonathan Carroll, and Jonathan Lethem aren't genre names are they?  (And considering how much genre and psuedo-genre lit I've read in the past week perhaps there should be a distinction made...)
Oh, I am sitting on one book review that should grace these pages in a short amount of time.  It's some of the stuffy, high and mighty stuff that I seem to be taking more of a liking to.  I think I've become a boring reader who watches the National book of the Year Award longlist and checks in on the Booker Prize.


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