Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Couple of False Starts; Buried Treasure in Used Books and (Wait for it...) Pictures

A long time ago Terry told me to read Possession by A.S. Byatt so I got a copy at a used book store and it's been sitting on my shelves for a few years.  A few days ago Marion re-read the book and sparked my interest again.  She also informed me that I got lucky when I bought my copy and got 'the good cover.'  

She would be correct.

Last night I sat down to start reading and it took me forever and a day to get through twenty pages.  It may have been a bad reading day for me, (I was due for one) but I wasn't connecting with the text in anyway so I'll pick it up again at a later date and try again.  It wasn't the feeling of 'This book is not for me' rather it may have been the wrong thing at the wrong time. 

So this morning before work randomly I grabbed Lyonesse by Jack Vance.  I've no idea what led me to this book but that is part of the fun in having a large selection of unread stuff; you can always surprise yourself.  Like Possession, Lyonesse also has a badass bit of full front to back cover art.  

After reading the preface, I was hooked by the non-fiction tone of voice and historical telling aspect.  After reading a few footnotes in the preface that told me to consult glossaries I-III for further information on certain details I was chomping a the bit to actually start the narrative; thirty pages into the actually story and I realized this book was going now at a snails pace.  I skipped ahead two chapters and I still couldn't find anything masquerading as tension.  Oh well... 

Two false starts of two different kinds both concerning badass cover art.

Lyonesse feels really vast and deep.  The kind of world that could not only grant sequels but wouldn't come close to being exhausted even with spin off stories.  After reading ten pages of preface and glossary--the non fiction stuff--the world feels as expansive as Catherynne M. Valente's Pentexore from her Dirge for Prester John series or Tolkien's The Silmarillion.  A very good thing so far as I'm concerned.  The story just wasn't there.

I can't seem to read a collection of short stories straight through without picking up something else.  I am enjoying Firebirds Rising though there are a couple of rankling issues but by far and away the best part of this book, which I bought used is this:

Left to me by the previous owner I should think.  I feel connected to this person and though I only have our reading material with which to judge us, we are both awesome. 


Marion said...

Chad, as much as Terry and I loved Possession it might not be for you, and really, that's fine. I had a bit of trouble when the book veered away from the discovery of the letters into the main character's (boring) relationship -- but things do get better after that.

Chad Hull said...

When two authorities reap such high praise and tell you something is good one such as I tend to take notice and listen. Honestly, I think it was just a bad reading day; sometimes I just can't iron out the words on the page no matter what.

I'll try again later. Who knows? You might be right; there's a chance it's just not for me, but at this point I can't say.