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Books [Apr. 13th, 2009|08:53 am]
I get my tax dollars-worth from my local library. At any given point, I will have 5-10 library books out on loan. Although, since Monkey County has instituted their nifty e-mail service that alerts me ahead of time that books are due...and allows me to renew them online...I have no idea how they're making up for the budget shortfall that used to be covered by my late fees.

I never minded the late fees as I've got family history of being library-involved. My Mom has been on the Public Library board in my hometown ever since I can remember. We've got benches with our family name, books donated in relatives' memories. (That's disorienting, to take a book out of the library and find your grandfather's name in the front) Mom has devoted countless hours and dollars into supporting the library.

So, since I was involved in other time- and soul-sucking causes, I never felt bad about financially supporting through my fines. Until I found out that the library doesn't get the fines...the County does. Whoa. Hold the phone! Gimme back my quarter.

I'm prejudiced for life after seeing the county rip up thousands of dollars of tulips, plant thousands of dollars in summer annuals, rip them up, plant thousands of dollars of pansies and mums for fall, rip them up, so the tulips...grrr. A Yankee would plant perennials with some annuals for accents. THIS Yankee got retentive about her overdue books paying for that kind of waste.

Thank goodness it was made easier by the online renewal system. Although from time to time, some rat bastard puts a hold on my book and I have to physically show up. And it's always the book I chose to save for last. But, them's the breaks, and there are plenty more where those came from.

I've gotten fussy and strange about my choices, though. If it's a multi-part, Part I of, Part II Of, the Beginning of a Saga...you've probably lost me. There are precious few books that are worth the effort of getting the books in order, not getting sick of the characters, being happy living in the same bookverse week after week after week. Or leaving space in between each one and forgetting what the heck went on in the first one. But I will put that down to my personal attention span -- I know other people enjoy them.

I don't do romance, I don't do mysteries, don’t do chick-lit, and generally only fantasy if it’s sort of sneaky fantasy. If the characters names are long, filled with extra “y”s or “l”s and there’s some kingdom/realm and the evil guy/lady and the kingdom can only be saved by this one person, who’s inevitably challenged by being of low birth, or female, or some other social handicap….I’m outta there. Been there, read it hundreds of times. Actually the only genres I can handle anymore are science fiction and horror. And even then…it’s got to be good. Unusual. Original.

I just don’t have the time I used to, to read, so I hate wasting it on a second-rate book. Too many good ones out there that need to be read instead. I used to commit to a book, and no matter how bad it was, I’d feel compelled to see it through. Finish it, even though, secretly I would hope that it would spontaneously combust and save me the agony of slogging through it. Now, though, whether it’s shortness of time or my impending mortality – hopefully not soon, but I’m painfully aware that my reading pace has slowed and good books are being churned out faster than I can get to them and I don’t have forever anymore.

I’ve rejected two recently. Ramsay Campell’s Grin of the Dark because it was a bit of a snoozefest and I found the main character sort of contemptible. Again, with the shortness of time. I have to somehow connect with the main character. I don’t actually want to spend a week or two with someone I don’t even like. Or find funny. Or entertaining. Or clever, at least. I put down another book because the characters just seemed soooo familiar. Oh, look an ex-hooker with a heart of gold, the criminal bad guy who’s a crazy, evil genius. The good guy with the tragic flaw, who’s brilliant, but absent-minded and gullible, so he gets roped into trouble. The long-suffering wife…

I’m almost done with Doghead, which I picked up because it was called Doghead and was originally written in Danish. It’s very Tin Drum-esque…perhaps a little TOO much like Tin Drum, but it’s been a very long time since I’ve read that, so I can handle the similarity. I’m really looking forward to the next one on my nightstand – I was totally snagged by “leaves life in the city to become a Brussels sprout farmer.” Brussels Sprouts! Now THAT has potential.

[User Picture]From: stonethrow
2009-04-13 09:31 pm (UTC)
Becca likes Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. It's set in a mythical land called Chicago. It's modern set with spells an such.

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[User Picture]From: chellebelle74
2009-04-13 09:44 pm (UTC)
Have you tried Charles de Lint yet? He writes in the Urban Fantasy genre (definitely not your swords and sorcery ghetto), and is usually considered to be the father of the Urban Fantasy genre. Think mermaids in the city harbor and fairies living in rusted cars in the bad part of town, or fairies having thiers revels in strip malls that have closed for the night. Manitou (native american spirits of the land) roam freely, and Raven himself lives in a boarding house in an old neighborhood that's slowly becoming gentrified. He's one of my absolute favorites, and he has not disappointed me yet.

If you haven't read him yet, try starting with any of his Newford books (lots of novels and several anthologies). They are all written in the same world with a lot of the same characters recurring, but he's purposefully written them to all stand on their own and be read in any order the reader likes (with one exception - The Onion Girl must be read before Widdershins for Widdershins to make any sense). de Lint also writes in other worlds, but Newford is what he's known for and is also the most extensive part of his body of work to date. He's definitely worth a read - Just my 2 cents...
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2009-04-13 09:49 pm (UTC)
Yeah, sorry, not my thing. Read a couple of the Newford books and that was enough. I'm more of a Neil Gaiman/Tim Powers Urban Fantasy kind of girl. But thanks for the suggestion!
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[User Picture]From: lowlandscot
2009-04-14 01:58 pm (UTC)
“leaves life in the city to become a Brussels sprout farmer.” Brussels Sprouts! Now THAT has potential.

Good luck with that. I spent an admittedly short piece of my life as an artichoke farmer and there wasn't enough plot material in it to fill a paragraph.
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