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03:59pm 04/04/2010
I have a stack - a stack I say - of great new books to read. I can't remember the last time I had such a sizeable queue of unread stories almost guaranteed to be great vying for shelf space in my room. Finding a truly wonderful book is usually tricky, with a lot of trial and error. When I do happen to stumble across one, it tends to be by chance. This time, the stars just happened to align somehow, and I have no less than six books that are either by authors I trust completely, have proven themselves within the first few pages (no small feat), or come very highly recommended by people who truly know what I like, beyond just the vague notion that I'm into fantasy.

Young Wizards 9 - A Wizard of Mars

Reading this one now and it's every bit as good as I was expecting. I'm very happy that this series didn't end with Wizards At War as I thought, for a while, that it had. Besides the fact that I continue to love all of the characters and the world they inhabit, I admire and applaud Duane's ability to make good look competent and appealing, and the core motivations behind evil look petulant and silly. In the Young Wizards universe, it's really, truly cool to be the good guys, and that's not easy to pull off these days.

Little Bee

If you haven't read this, and you enjoy great writing and storytelling, you need to put aside genre preferences and give it a look. I won't tell you what it's about. The back of the book won't tell you what it's about either, and there's a reason for that. You can probably find reviews that will, but trust me when I say that you'll be ruining it for yourself. I'm a little more than halfway through with it and taking my time to absorb each chapter before moving on to the next one. It's that kind of book.


All I know for sure is that it's about a restaurant in Dublin, has no central plot to speak of, and focuses on multiple characters whose lives revolve around the place in some way. Meg suggested this one and said it's one of her favorite books, which is good enough for me.

We Never Talk About My Brother

Peter S. Beagle's latest short story collection. I'm one story in and trying not to rush the rest. Beagle has built up a respectable collection of stories over the years, but he isn't prolific so I try not to tear through his books without stopping to savor them.


This book is practically legendary in some circles. I wouldn't call myself a true fan of Clive Barker. I've read a few of his other stories and liked them well enough, but most of them stopped just short of pure magic. With some books, that would be all right, but with his, it left me unsettled because I felt that pure magic was what they should have been. There always seemed to be something profound struggling to make itself known in his stories that could never quite find its way onto the page. Abarat came the closest.

Weaveworld is a book that I've been trying to get my hands on for a very long time. It's not that I can never find it, it's that it keeps slipping my mind. I'll hear about it somewhere, it'll occur to me that "Oh, right, I really need to read that!" and I'll tell myself I'll pick it up next paycheck or put it on my to-read list, or even decide that I'm going to stop in at the shop right now, before I forget, and pick up a copy. But it always manages to wiggle away when I'm not looking, or the list gets lost, or I do check the shop and I just missed their last copy. I'd swear it's been doing it on purpose.

Then, the other day, I was poking around on the shelves of the Triangle Town Center B&N, and there it was. I hadn't been thinking about it at all, and I think I took it by surprise. It probably would have hopped off the shelf and tried to run, except that it was so surprised to see me that it was shocked motionless and I managed to grab it. I sat down, looked over the introduction, read the first few pages, and realized that I needed to give this one my full attention. No reading of other books alongside. So I closed it, and I haven't opened it again yet, but I look forward to it very much. This, I think, is the book that Barker was trying to write in all his stories prior to it, and the one he can't quite match afterward. This is the one that's true. The others are decent enough, but mostly made up.

And I'm not letting it out of my sight until I've read it. It's chained to my desk. I'm not kidding.

The Innkeeper's Song

Another by Beagle. Out of print, difficult to find, and his favorite of all the books he's written. When I talked to him at DragonCon a few years ago, at which time I found out that it was no longer in print, he seemed genuinely distressed that there was nothing he could do to get me a copy. Then, not long ago, I found it at Mr. Mike's, a used book shop in Cary, when I was out with Chris and Meg just before Roman night. I know almost nothing about the story and I'm perfectly happy with that. I'm saving this one for last.

With finals looming and several major projects that need finishing, not to mention regular old homework, it's difficult to grab reading time, but I make it happen. There's not a soul alive who can't find reading time if they love books enough. And I'm in no hurry to exhaust it. There's no telling when this many guaranteed good reads will come along again all at once like this, if ever.
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01:16pm 05/04/2010 (UTC)
The Young Wizards series makes me happy. So glad they finally published #9. Now I need to go get it.
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