I have been listening to Neil Gaiman's book, The View From the Cheap Seats, these past few days. This particular book is a collection of his speeches, essays and introductions. He explains the way fantasy and sci-fi writers approach their craft, and tosses the names of many writers he admires into the ring. In case you hadn't found them already and were desperately looking for someone who would take you to a new and amazing place in your imagination and theirs.
I have a friend who refuses to read Sci-fi, Fantasy or time travel novels. She doesn't even like the Narnia Chronicles because, (her words), "animals can't talk". A long, pregnant pause followed my hearing that statement. You see, she is a children's librarian and should know better. She does know better. I may have raised a questioning brow, but said nothing. Finally she admitted it was something else but she couldn't put her finger on what it was. The Beaver family creeped her out, she said, and she didn't like it that they worshiped a lion instead of Jesus. Yeah, well...., about that.
We agreed to talk about something else, something safer than lions, witches and wardrobes. That box is dovetailed, pegged, and has three hidden, latches accessed by secret codes.) Our first instinct is to keep ourselves safe. I understand that. Oh my yes, I understand that.
I agree with Mr. Gaiman that we find the books that we want to read; or they find us. I can tell after reading the first page or two if I wish to continue in a book. Maybe it is the choice of words, maybe it is the rhythm, maybe it's the time period. I don't know what it is, but I know. You do too, if you have read much at all.
That's not to say I don't read some books that don't intrigue me. Heavens! Some books I read because I want to learn what they have to teach me, not because I am caught by them.
Yes, (thanks for asking) I am still working my way through Chernow's Washington. It's a big book and is as measured and methodical as was its subject. I have had to set myself quotas for each day. I'm nearly there. I have learned a great deal about Washington and his time, but I'm ready for a good novel now. Maybe something from out of this time and space, something with magic and secret powers, honor and intrigue.
I'm sitting in Full Circle Bookstore in OKC. I'm heading into the stacks now, looking for adventure. See ya.