Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Books and lists

I need to update the list of books I've read this year, languishing at midsummer's point there in the sidebar. I'm fairly sure I've surpassed my year's goal of 50 already, thanks in part to my belated discovery of Diana Wynne Jones. Though I'm past the age at which I should have read them, I have still fallen in love with her young adult novels.

A fun thing about the last year or two has been realizing and embracing the fact that I adore well-done fantasy writing. Aside from a handful of best-beloved series from my childhood (Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Susan Cooper, Loyd Alexander, and Madeleine L'Engle spring to mind as the reigning quintumvirate of those years, although Robin McKinley and Patricia McKillip shouldnt' be left out), I'd somehow managed to miss most of the genre for the last decade or so. Thinking about it now, I can't imagine what kept me away...probably some sense that it was a childish interest best put away as I became an adult.

Well. You know. Fuck. That. Shit.

I think it was Lois McMaster Bujold's novel Paladin of Souls, plucked in idle curiosity from a shelf at Third Place Books about 3 years ago, which deftly reminded me of how much delight, satisfaction, and beauty there is in fantastical literature done well. Since then I've been bolder about picking up fantasy books I've never heard of, and trying them out. As with anything, I've had varying success with that approach; some extremely popular books just aren't my cup of tea. But then there's Neil Gaiman, and Diana Wynne Jones, and Bujold, and now Robin Hobb (whose Assassin's Apprentice just swept the evening away from me...), Philip Pullman, Susanna Clarke...

It's nice to stretch out more comfortably inside my skin. Openly relishing the fantastical is one way I'm getting more comfortable in here. It's jolly good fun, too.