Latest book: “Guilty Pleasures” by Laurell K. Hamilton
This book was kind of scary. In a good way, I mean. And not really what I expected at all. I knew it was contemporary horror, so I figured it was something resembling The Dresden Files or Buffy. Which it was. Except I didn’t expect it to be so…dark. From what I’d heard, I’d expected Hamilton’s book to be the kind of horror that’s so sex-drenched it takes the edge off things that *should* be scary to anyone that’s sane. And with one of those wise-cracking snarky protagonists like Harry Dresden or Buffy. Only I didn’t find it particularly sexy at all, and Anita Blake doesn’t do much snarking. None of this is in the way of criticism, mind you. I like a heroine who takes her situation seriously and is intelligently frightened by it and keeps her head and gets the job done. And having her be genuinely menaced by “friend” and foe every other page doesn’t inure you to the dangers she’s in. The book’s not long enough for that. Plus, the main character is herself pretty dark. Re-animating the dead for a living? How icky is that? In an intriguing way, I mean.
The one thing I was not fond of in the Blake-o-verse: the fact that everyone’s aware of vampires and other supernatural creatures. When it comes to my fictional “kinks”, I want a world where the supernatural is considered debunked and its dangers lurk in the shadows, only known to a select few. In other words, I want a fictional word that by all appearances is the scientifically skeptical world we all live in. Because I read these kinds of books (fantasy, horror) so I can imagine that the supernatural exists around me in the world I see everyday. And I don’t live in Anita Blake’s America. I know that for certain.
I had another book from my shelf lined up to read next, but after getting to the third page, I realize it’s *yet* another vampire story where the whole world knows vampires exist. I think I’ve had enough of that for the time being. I will have to consult my recs list for the next book up.
“A Wizard of Earthsea”, Ursula Le Guin
“Proven Guilty”, Jim Butcher
“Dreamchild”, Hilary Hemingway and Jeffry P. Lindsay
“Guilty Pleasures”, Laurell K. Hamilton
I must warn you. Talking about Sydney Bristow turns me into an eight-year old. I have been watching the first two seasons of Alias on DVDs I rented from netflix. OK, and can I say this show *kicks ass*? Or, more to the point, Sydney kicks ass. She kicks high! She could kick you butt. Kapow! giggle
But despite all the hot babe butt-kicking, I don’t think I would have quite descended into fandom if it weren’t for the family element. Some personal stuff on the theme of family connections
OK, I’m half way through “Chamber of Secrets” and, yes, I’ll admit it: I am now a fan.
But is this a surprise? Not to me. The books are better than the movies, charming and entertaining and almost a perfect fit for the kind of fiction I look for: sci-fi or fantasy that takes place in our world, but reveals a secret segment of our world no ordinary person knows about (BtVS/Angel and Highlander are both like this). And it’s a series, so that when I get that “so what happened next?” bug I can just pick up the next book. Or wait for the next book. And of course, I like books with complicated teen-aged protagonists/heroes. Don’t ask me why. Connor Angel, John Connor, Luke Skywalker, Buffy Summers, Richie Ryan, Harry Potter.
Rowling has created a rich complex sub-culture/universe that, only half-way into the second book, rivals a full 11 seasons of BtVS and Angel. To crawl around in this woman’s mind! I knew I was merrily in fandom land when I found myself looking for Harry Potter websites that resembled the Metaphysics section of my own ATPoBtVS. If I hadn’t come across a clever and decent little reference site on my first search, I would have had to wrestle my inner metaphysician to the ground to keep her from starting a new website, All Things Philosophical in… well, you know.
I came to Harry Potter through the movies, so that might make me sympathetic to the movies, but I actually find it fascinating to compare the books and the movies. I’m the sort of person who enjoys the writer’s and director’s commentaries on movie and television show DVDs almost more than the original piece. It’s interesting to see where the movie-makers cut corners, what they decide to chop out, what they decide to keep, and where they decide to make events go completely differently than the books in order to save time and resources.
But this is why the written word will never be replaced by film. The written word can go more places, and people are willing to give it more time than they’ll sit through a film.
Rowling has given a fresh face to classic fantasy themes: the unwanted child, discovering a magical new world right under your nose, good versus evil, the mundane/poor/outsider kids vs. the popular/rich/insider kids, secret passageways, mystical animals, bubbling potions, spells, rituals, monsters, super powers, and the panged, panged pains of childhood/adolescence.
Now I will just have to find a way to deal with the fact that I like something that is immensely…. dare I use the word? Ugh!
shudders Instead of people staring oddly at the front cover of the book I am reading on the bus, they smile nostalgically. I am not used to this. I’m so used to doing what comes naturally to me and finding myself the odd girl out.
So I’m headed off to the library tonight to return my books, but I forgot to include my list of books I want to check out in my back-pack (for some reason I was very distracted this morning as I got ready for work).
I have the last Tamora Pierce Lioness book on my list to check out, and I jotted down a note to look for Gaiman’s “American Gods” even though most likely all the copies will be completely checked out and I’ll have to reserve a copy.
Harry Potter vols 1-4 are on order with amazon.co.uk, and there aren’t any English language copies available at the libraray anyway (American or British).
So that leaves me with just one Pierce book to come home with. I would like to expand my reading list now that I’ve discovered The Place with the Free Books, but I’m drawing a blank about what to do next. My taste in books is generally: fiction, sci-fi/fantasy. The books I like should have at least some connection to the real world and/or the human race. In general, I am turned off by books that take place entirely on another planet/fantasy place with a completely alien race and no humans.
Exceptions to this are Star Wars, in which for some inexplicable reason the human-looking characters refer to themselves as “human” even though they live in a galaxy far, far away, and Lord of the Rings, even though I spent countless exacerbated hours trying to figure out exactly where “Middle Earth” was on Earth.
It’s not so much that I am conventional when it comes to my reading tastes, as I am looking for something very specific in my sci-fi/fantasy: the illusion that this could be real. If it’s happening to Earth-humans (say, like Star Trek, in the future), I can imagine that this could really be our future. If it’s happening on our Earth in the present day, I can imagine its real no matter how fantastic it actually is (BtVS and AtS are good examples of this, since they continue to cling to the idea that this is taking place on our Earth, and most people are ridiculously ignorant of the demons and magic around them).
So generally speaking, I don’t like alternate dimension stuff unless people cross over to our world from there or to there from our world. Same for complete alien society stuff (I don’t get much into the “this is metaphorically about the human race” stuff. I’m rather literal).
All those caveats aside, any suggestions? I need a good distraction……