Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Favorite Author Rises

I mentioned David Eddings in my last post, and I just have to say, he's probably my favorite author of all time.

Why do I like him so much? In part, he was the author of one of the very first "grown up" novels I ever read.

When I first found David Eddings, I was thirteen, and in eighth grade.

I had already worked my way thorough C.S. Lewis and the Narnia books, and I had just devoured Tamora Pierce and her Song Of The Lioness series (my school library only had 3 of the 4 books, it wasn't until years later that I was able to read them start to finish). I had also checked out the library's copy of Patricia C. Wrede's Talking to Dragons at least twice. So, with these two series, and a few scattered others, I was pretty well hooked into the fantasy genre.

I remember when I first found David Eddings. I was not exactly trying to impress a boy, but I was at a 4-H event, doing my Jr. Leader thing, and this other 4-H boy was there. He was probably 16 or so, and was much quieter than his brother (it was the brother I had a minor crush on, but the brother liked my sister, so it would never be ...). He was reading this really huge book, and the title caught my attention. It was called The Ruby Knight.

I remember thinking it sounded really neat - maybe the knight wore red, or something. I decided I had to go find it and read it. I swear it had (almost) nothing to do with the idea that next time I saw him, I could strike up a conversation. Really, I swear.

Moot point anyway, since I stopped being active in 4-H not too long after that, and the few times I saw him after that I never did work up to courage to tell him I read the same book he did. I mean, how lame would I have sounded, "Oh, hey, I saw you were reading this book, and I had to go out and read it, and now let's talk about it!"

Moving on now ...

So, I made sure I took note of the title, and I went to find this book. Only, it wasn't the first book in the series, so I had to buy all three of them (because, you know, he must have read all of them, right? ... ok, really, I'm done!).

A funny thing happened when I read The Diamond Throne. I flat out loved it.

I quickly read the next books, the aforementioned Ruby Knight and The Sapphire Rose.

I couldn't get enough of these characters! I loved it that they used magic, and had swords, and they were fighting against a really evil thing that wanted to take over their world.

It wasn't just the way they fought evil with such panache, it was the relationships that Eddings brought to the characters. They weren't just happy-go-lucky, always doing the right thing paladins. They had doubts about themselves, and they argued like real people, and they even encountered racial prejudice. The seemed like real people.

I had to go out and see if he wrote anything else.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cover Art!

So, what fills my bookshelves? They run heavy to the fantasy genre.

I love the idea of knights in shining armor, who rush off on a quest to rescue the damsel (who is, of course, under an evil spell), and save the world in the process.

Put that way, it sounds a bit like a romance novel, doesn't it?

I do enjoy those too, but the difference between fantasy and romance has a lot to do with the amount of time spent 1) developing the characters, and 2) in the bedroom.

Specifically, the fantasy books I read don't spend a lot of time in the bedroom, and they do spend a lot of time developing character.

Sure, sometimes there's romance, but it's usually on a more realistic level. You know: they meet, they have some sort of dilemma, they solve it, they get married and the story fades to black, and picks up the next morning. No long, drawn-out boudoir scenes.

Plus, the front cover generally doesn't depict a windblown man with long flowing hair, in a pirate shirt that has fallen open far enough to see his rippling abs and huge pecs. Nor do fantasy books generally show the woman in various states of undress, with cleavage out to there, and being held protectively by the man in the pirate shirt.

Maybe the truth is that I find fantasy novels just as much fun to look at as to read.

Two words: cover art. If you haven't seen cover art from the fantasy genre, it runs heavy to dragons, faeries, and swordsmen with blades bare, threatening some sort of horrible creature dripping goo. Sometimes there is even a magic user, an evil sorcerer or some such, throwing a bolt of lightning or something.

To me, part of the appeal of fantasy novels has to do with using your imagination, and seeing the action in your head. A really good author will draw you in, and you can see how the scene plays out, almost as if you're watching it. Some authors who are particularly good at this are David Eddings, Raymond E. Feist, and R.A. Salvatore.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Biblio - file

A little while ago, EGE over at TheHouseAndI blogged about her books that are taking over the house.

While I can't make that same claim to fame, I have, on occasion, been accused of having too many books. Usually said accusation comes after moving boxes upon boxes of books (but still, how can anyone EVER have too many books?).

But, but, but, I argue, at least I know what books I own! I have very few duplicates because a while ago the husband and I bit the bullet and began a spreadsheet. Which means HE started a spreadsheet.

An all-encompassing spreadsheet to catalog my many books. A spreadsheet which I was then basically ordered to keep updated. Said spreadsheet now has over 500 entries, and, when printed, covers 11 pages (in reaaaallllly tiny font).

Now, my dear husband didn't create this spreadsheet out of the kindness of his heart. It's not like he just did it for fun. No, he had an ulterior motive. He started this spreadsheet (called "Bibliophile") purely for his convenience. It was his thought that if he knew what books I owned, he could buy me books for anniversaries, birthdays, and Christmas, and thus get credit for shopping for such thoughtful gifts, and also not have to work too hard at actual shopping.

Christmas a couple years ago.

So, this gift-giving process actually works fairly well. I get entertainment, and he gets to read them after I'm done with them.

The problem with receiving books as gifts for numerous occasions is that I get accused of having "too many books" (HOW is this possible?).

Bookcase 1

Bookcase 2

Yes, my books are double stacked. Can you tell? Maybe it's my terrible photo-taking skills.

Bookcase Close-up (can you find the duplicate books?)

Hmm... Maybe double stacking them is why people seem to think I have too many books. They look at my overflowing bookcases, and think it means I ran out of room.

But really? If you stack them really close together, you don't have to dust them.

Who can tell me what the pun in the title means?