Friday, April 15, 2011

Fantasy Reading

I have this fantasy where I get to just curl up with a blanket in front of a fire-- or on a soft lounge chair on a deserted, white-sandy beach somewhere-- or in my own private library and just read read read.  No responsibilities, no disturbances, no problems.  Just me and my books.

But that's not what I'm talking about.  Nor am I talking about naughty fantasy reading, you dirty birds.  I'm talking about fantasy fiction, and I'm wondering why after reading a handful of fantasy series, every time I start a new fantasy genre book, it sounds like a parody of itself...

I've read the following fantasy series and liked them enough to return to them:

  1. The Wheel of Time- one day I'll write an entry extolling the incredible talents of Mr. Robert Jordan and the amazing, fantastic, stupendous, genre-defining series he wrote, which, since his death, is being finished by Brandon Sanderson (a really great writer in his own right).
  2. Harry Potter-  These books take me away from my reality, to a magical place that is so real, I feel like I could step forward and BE there.  
  3. Twilight-  Now, before you condemn me or refuse to read my blog anymore, hear me out.  I really enjoyed these books a lot, but the entire time I was reading them (the first time) I kept thinking, "Why do I even like these?  They are amateurish, simplistic and Bella is annoying", but I kept reading.  I think the reason I like them so much is that I see a lot of my young self in Bella (sad, I know) and because the idea was so fresh and new to me (girl loves vampire-- now it's been done, oh, let's just guesstimate, about 40 gazillion times... ugh... the library shelves are dripping with vampiric romantic sap...), but at the time, I hadn't ever read anything like it, and I love slightly scary stories. :)
  4. J.R.R. Tolkein's "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.  I read them long before the movies were even made.  I liked them enough to buy them.  "The Hobbit" is really the only one I will return to re-read, though.  Probably. :)
  5. Mistborn, by the aforementioned Brandon Sanderson.  Well, to be totally honest, I've only read the first one, but I do own the trilogy, and I do plan on reading the others.  Eventually.  They're there, waiting patiently.
  6. Sanderson's new book "The Way of Kings" is an improvement on his previous writing by a good-sized leap.  I think working to finish "The Wheel of Time" has made him a better writer.  Where he was good before, he is great now.  I look forward to buying this series when it becomes a series.  
That's it.  I read the first 3 books of George R. R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire", and found them too sexual for me.  Incestual, as well.  I don't remember details, though.  This morning, I watched a sneak preview of a clip from the new HBO miniseries based on the first book "Game of Thrones", and it was gory and scary and probably will be really, really good, but will be much too sexual for my tastes, so I won't be looking to watch it.  The story was good, the characters were interesting, but I just can't get over graphic sexuality-- it isn't something I want to read or see...

I have tried to read books by other authors, but I haven't found many fantasy books that really hook me.  I won a book on, called "The Unremembered", which I have tried to start reading, but I am struck by the laughably obvious parallels to "The Wheel of Time" and it really feels like a joke-- like a parody.  Like this author thought to himself, "Hey, I can do that!" after reading other fantasy books.  I will try to get past these prejudices and give the book an honest chance, but it will be difficult.  I am only about 30 pages into it, so I really do need to try not to pre-judge.  It really seems like so many of these books are all the same thing, though.  Flipping through them at the library or reading synopses online, I feel like it's just all been done, and so much better!  Maybe I'm done with fantasy for a while.  Maybe I need a break... or maybe I just need my fantasy to come true, for just a few hours...

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