Ready To Read or I Swear To F***ING God I Am Going To Finish This F***ING Book!
I complain a lot about being bored. My boredom is one of those things that trigger my depression and when I get depressed writing is very hard. Even worse is that when I am depressed I know something that can help it fade, reading. The problem is, when depression sets in the bookshelf seems so distant and my depression makes me extra pessimistic and lazy, so just the act of selecting a book is like some Herculean task for me. I’ve been trying to muster the ambition to finish reading Steve Erikson’s Gardens of The Moon for the last 4 months but given the depth of the story coupled with my depression, finishing it is like some nigh-impossible task.
It isn’t that Gardens of The Moon isn’t a good read. I was halfway through the damn thing and enjoying it quite a bit. It was probably the best fantasy novel I’d read in quite some time. Not too derivative of any of the major fantasy writers and crackling with a swarm of fun characters. Actually, it might have too many characters to keep track of as I was tempted to Xerox the front portion of the book that lists all the characters just for quick reference. I was really enjoying Gardens of The Moon because it opens at such a brisk pace that getting to the half-way point wasn’t a struggle. Also, it was the first fantasy novel I’d read in quite some time that didn’t feel like i was reading someone’s Dungeons & Dragons campaign in novel form. It is especially ironic because upon researching the book I discovered that is exactly what it was, a novelization of a D&D (and later GURPS) campaign. I was really enjoying this book and then my depression hit and Gardens of The Moon was put down and never picked up again.
Books are really what help occupy my time best. There is too much crap on TV for me to willingly sift through all of it to just find one decent thing worth watching. I only go to the movies if I’m really interested in what’s playing and that doesn’t happen enough these days. No reading is the activity I need to keep my brain flowing. Comic Books do help in these regards but I can burn through a comic in 5 minutes or less most times. If you need more than that to form an opinion of any comic then you over-think your comics reading. Trust me, as great as comic books are, actual books are better. Books make you rely on the theater in the mind’s eye and that is the best theater of all because it allows you to use your imagination to envision what you read. No movie, TV Show or comic book can match my imagination. That is why the theater of the mind’s eye is so wonderful; it is only limited by your own ability to imagine events unfolding as you read them.
The last two years I’ve plowed my way through a stack of books, most of them pretty good. Some good enough that warranted re-reading because they were so entertaining that I needed to make sure I didn’t miss a single detail in my understanding. I’ve read 2 of the 3 books in Steig Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire, I’m still looking to read The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest), several books by Anthony Bourdain (most notably Kitchen Confidential and The Nasty Bits), Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, I re-read The Three Musketeers as I do every year since it is my favorite book of all time, all of Walter Mosely’s Easy Rawlins mysteries (still not happy with how the last book turned out) and more Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft than a sane man should.
Let me clear something up since I mentioned H.P. Lovecraft, just because his last name is Lovecraft, do not go in expecting tales of romance in the old west or the high seas. I have had to explain this to the uninitiated way too many times. H.P. Lovecraft is NOT a romance writer. If he were then his stories would take on a whole new level of weirdness. However, if you are interested in tales of horror or weird fiction I suggest you clear your schedule and dive right into Mr. Lovecraft’s work. Whether or not you end curled up in a ball in a corner of your house afterwards crying is entirely up to you.
Of the books I’ve rattled off I can’t recommend Steig Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy enough. Yes, you can watch the movies on Netflix and as good as all 3 movies are (yes I know I shouldn’t have watched the third movies before reading the book) the books are better and very engrossing. I honestly believe that Larsson has created one of the best characters in all fiction, one that will last the ages when people talk about heroes characters in literature. In Lisbeth Salander Larsson has created a heroic anti-heroine that a reader can identify with despite the fact that the reader may have nothing in common with her. I think why I like Lisbeth Salander so much is that no matter how much she gets victimized, she always overcomes adversity and in some cases exacts her own form of justice on the victimizers. She is an uncompromising individualist, utterly rugged but still seemingly vulnerable. Her role as heroic anti-hero makes for the most contradictory character to grace popular fiction in a long time. I think the real tragedy is that with Steig Larsson having died from a heart attack in 2004 we will never get to see the conclusion to the saga of Lisbeth and her counterpart, reporter Mikael Blomkvist. Rumors persist the Larsson had planned a ten book cycle for Lisbeth and Mikael. We were lucky to get the three we got. Hard to believe something this good was done as a hobby in Steig Larsson’s spare time with no real eye towards publication.
All this talk of what I’ve actually read over the last few years has kind of got me motivated. I’m looking at the bookshelf right now and staring at my copy of Gardens of The Moon. It is taunting me, daring me to pick it up and turn to the spot I left it at. Of course I’m setting a trap for myself because Gardens of The Moon is only the first book in another 10 book saga collectively known as The Malazan Book of The Fallen. Do I dare finish the first book knowing that I will need to read the second book and all books that follow? I mean the first book is 700 plus pages and each book only grows in length from there. Not that I’ve ever been daunted by a long book, I mean I read Rise & Fall of The Third Reich at age 12 and that was one hell of a tome to get through not to mention kind of dull when you consider that I know who won World War II.
Yes, I do believe today is the day. I will not be taunted by this book any longer. Today is the day I embrace the art of reading again. I mean with school only a month away I mine as well shake off some mental plaque with some right proper fiction before the drudgery of text books overwhelms me again. Hell, I might even finish Gardens of The Moon and move onto the next book Deadhouse Gates right away… or maybe not. Let’s just pick-up the book I abandoned, lo those many months ago, and see how it goes from there. Hell, I’m even a tad optimistic about it.
Me, optimistic… will these wonders never cease?