Books and Me …
I have a confession to make. I used to own a secondhand book shop. I’d read a book in the morning, a book in the afternoon and a book after dinner. If I found an author I liked, I’d read everything of theirs that I could lay my hands on. This was in the days before the internet, so it was hard to track down authors.
Now, if I find an author who can make me forget I’m reading a book, I’ll buy all their books and read them in chronological order to see how they develop as a writer.
I think part of the joy of reading is discovering certain authors at certain times in your life. Among the many authors I read my early twenties, I discovered Fritz Leiber. I loved his Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser books. Lean times in Lankhmar. Around this time I also discovered Joanna Russ. (Picnic on Paradise, Alyx and the Machine).
And I found Georgette Heyer. I’ve read every one of her Regency romances at least three times.
Fritz Leiber, Joanna Russ and Georgette Heyer might sound like an odd combination, sword and sorcery with two very male characters, a very feminist writer and a brilliant light-hearted comedy of manners writer, but what all of these writers had in common was well realised worlds, powerful gripping characters and a strong sense of story.
Then I had a baby every two years for ten years, so I was bit busy and didn’t read much until my mid thirties.
Around this time I got back into writing. (I’d written about ten books before I was 25). I sent one of these to the Harper Collins $10,000 fiction prize and it made the long short list, which made me think I wasn’t a hopeless writer.
In my mid thirties I discovered an obscure author who wrote about a vampire executioner. The first five Anita Blake books blew me away. The mystery thread was well constructed and the duality of Anita’s character made for compelling reading. Laurell K Hamilton delivered a ripping read. (I have to say I haven’t been able to read her recent books).
In the last year I’ve read all of Joe Abercrombie’s books and Nalini Singh’s Psy Changeling series. Once again, this may sound like an odd combination. Joe Abercrombie’s books deliver fascinating characters struggling in a bleak more realistic style of fantasy. Nalini Singh’s books are consistently well constructed love stories set in the near future. What they share is compelling characters and narrative drive.
But when I do discover a writer like that they make my day. Where would we be without the writers who shape our reading tastes? Which writers sweep you away?
Rowena is giving away one book from her King Rolen’s Kin trilogy (eg. If you haven’t read any of her books, she’ll send book one. If have book one, she’ll send you book two). This one's open INTERNATIONALLY!
To enter, comment below and answer the following question: Do you like plot driven books or character driven books and why?
Do I really have to pick?? *groan*
Remember to include your email address, and do it all before 6pm CST February 23rd!