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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Vacation Reading



View from our campsite last year!
By the time this goes live, I'll be on vacation in the BWCA. I was wracking my brains as to what topic to cover in this blog.  Then it hit me.  I just packed the books I intend to try to read while I'm up so far north that there's no wi-fi or cell phone signal unless you drive over an hour into town. And guess what?  None of them are romances!

I will be bringing my Kindle, which has a few romances I won or bought over the past year, but the main things I want to read are books I never got around to.  I'm half-way through A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, one of the books I rescued from my late father's collection before I donated the rest to a local used book store.   It's mildly amusing, but nowhere near the "delight, roaring, rollicking, foot-stomping wonder" that the cover proclaims it to be.  But this copy was published in 1980...maybe tastes were different back then?  At that time I was a newly-graduated English teacher who had absolutely no time to read, since I was writing lesson plans and grading papers 24/7!  But having invested time already, I'm prepared to soldier on to finish, so I can say I've read it.

I also plan to read two classics that somehow escaped me before:  Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (also from Dad's books), and Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.  One of my sons used to want to be an English major because he loves to read and indeed, becomes obsessed when he finds an author he admires.  So he owns not only all of the novels written by Vonnegut, but also collections of essays and even a book of letters that he exchanged with a fan.  I've already read and enjoyed two of his other books.  But to say that my son "likes" Vonnegut is a huge understatement.  

And the last book I'm planning to read?  We're avid sci-fi nerds in my house.  Between us we own all of the incarnations of Star Trek, all of the Star Wars and Babylon 5 movies, a Canadian vampire series called Forever Knight, and every season of Doctor Who and its British spin-off, Torchwood.  So when the Goodreads group of Dr. Who fans recommended Harvest of Time, a book written by Alastair Reynolds, one of Britain's premier sci-fi authors, involving the third incarnation of the Doctor, I knew I had to get that book before vacation.  I plan to be the first to read it since I paid for it!  But I'm sure husband and the two kids who go with us will be arm-wrestling for who gets to read it next.  Or maybe I'll just do with it like we did with all of the Harry Potter books, the Artemus Fowl books, and other series' that we enjoyed, and I'll read it aloud, a few chapters each night, around the campfire. Either that or my husband will read us another Christopher Moore novel, since he owns all of his books...are you sensing a family trait here?

Since I've been on a non-fiction binge lately, reading books involving cultural anthropology, this will be a welcome change...some "light" reading, as it were.  I'm really looking forward to this!

Of course I'll still be writing while I'm there, even though the lack of electricity will mean that when my laptop needs to be recharged, I'll have to fight the kids for the two outlets in the car-charger unit and hope the truck's battery won't suffer.  I've already gotten a contract for the sequel to my latest book, For The Love Of His Life.  The sequel is called Only One Man Will Do. And I've got two stories swirling in my head, one of which is started in the laptop, the other is in outline form on notebook paper. 

My question to you is: Do you read in the genre you write in?  I try not to for fear that I might inadvertently steal another author's ideas.  When I crave a romance, I usually pick paranormal or fantasy, while I write contemporary.  But I wonder if I'm the only one who thinks like this?

If you leave a response, please don't be offended if it takes a while for me to comment.  We'll only head into town a few times, and I won't be going on-line until I have time to kill, sitting around doing laundry in a the local Laundromat.  But I do want to hear your answers!
TTFN-- Ta-ta for now. 

4 comments:

Tina Donahue said...

Recently I read "The Prince of Tides" - never saw the movie but heard so much about the book I thought I'd give it a try. Very disappointing. Rambling. Disjointed. But then, it's also from the 80s, correct?

So many books that I've read haven't lived up to the hype. I finally finished the first book of The Hunger Games trilogy. I just couldn't get into it. It seemed more like reporting than a story. No deep POV which is odd given that it's in first person. Couldn't connect with Katniss at all. She was just too prickly. (I did like Rue...the only character I felt deeply about).

The end (spoiler alert here) where the dead participants had been brought back as wolves (or whatever) was so far over the top, I had to smile. There was no indication that the people who ran things had this kind of power or medical ability. And if they did, I wonder why they weren't able to save the leg of the guy who survived along with Katniss? Saving a leg should have been far easier than turning a human being into a wolf-like creature. Maybe it's something only a teenager could love.

jean hart stewart said...

I read a lot in the genres I write because it keep me anchored in the mood, so to speak. I can't seem to veer too far from what I'm reading, so if I read much non-fiction it affects my style. Do my research and non-fiction stuff before starting the next book. Have a great vacation.....

Fiona McGier said...

Thanks for the comments. I'm back, and it seems like just yesterday that we left! I hate coming home!

Tina, I'm glad I'm not the only one who never seems to like books that "everyone" reads. Maybe I'm a book snob, but when I start something and don't get into it, or the typos and errors turn me off instantly, I usually end up leaving it be. Life's too short to read bad books, and just because something is popular, doesn't mean that it's well-written. People who don't read much will read anything and if it's gotten good reviews, they'll say they enjoyed it...until you ask them questions and they finally reveal they disliked it, but were afraid to admit it.

So how much did I read over the two weeks? I'm about one chapter from the end of A Confederacy of Dunces...still not funny, but I'm going to finish it to say I have. I loved the Dr. Who book...it was a quick and riveting read for this Dr. Who nerd! Husband has it now. I also bought and read a book of 3 short stories by Gail Levine, the author of Ella Enchanted, because I like her style and the book was half-priced! That's it. Not as much as I planned, and certainly not as much as my daughter, but then we had a few 6-8 hour driving days and she read during them, but I do all of the driving.

I'm a terribly crabby passenger, and thankfully my husband likes to sight-see, read or nap in the car. So he lets me drive and we're all happy. I "write" entire scenes in my head while I'm driving. I actually only wrote a couple of chapters in my latest book before my battery ran out, but I know where it's heading and how it's going to get there. I have a few weeks before school starts again, and I'm hoping to get it done ASAP.

The only thing I really missed while up north was the internet. So for that alone, I'm glad to be back!

Fiona McGier said...

And sorry it took so long for my response! I've been doing laundry all day, and fit in grocery shopping. Tomorrow I'm going to tackle my "author" email inbox! There are over 1000 emails there to be dealt with! ARGH!