Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Taking a Breather

So now that I am taking a break from writing (although not so much from Circles itself) I thought I would find a new book to read. As a bookseller myself, I have access to thousands of titles, but I didn't want to wait a week for a book. So I went to Barnes & Noble to get immediate satisfaction.

Unfortunately, the satisfaction was not immediate. After spending an hour just in the Sci-fi/Fantasy section, it occurred to me that I did not know many of these authors. And the authors I did know, I already had the books on the shelf. I found a few that looked promising, then continued to browse the rest of the store for another hour and a half before settling on The President's Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth. It was part of a series, but thankfully this novel did not require prior knowledge.

I don't want to turn this post into a review of this book (I would like to do that later, though) but I do want to say that I thought it was a great read. As I put my now-read novel on my shelf with the multitude of other novels I have read over the years, I found my fingers brushing over the spines of enjoyable stories. I started thinking about why I still kept all of these books, as I would probably not find the time to re-read them. I pulled a few books off the shelf and flipped through each of them, stopping at a page and reading a few paragraphs. I put each of them back and thought about the books I DIDN'T have.

What makes a book so special that you would not want to part with it, instead read it again and again? The short answer would have to be "memorable." When I was in grade school, I had a fairy tale book that, while I cannot remember its title, I remember the feel of its hard cover and the beautiful color illustrations, especially of the poem "Jabberwocky" and a tale about a prince who discovers an ugly woman who is really a beautiful princess and the only way to break her curse is to steal the Phoenix's egg. I don't know  what happened to this book, I'm guessing it turned into a garage sale find or given away, but it is a book I wish I still had because it's illustrations brought the fairy tales to life.

When I could read beyond simple chapter books, I dove into mysteries with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, but that was short-lived when I discovered Alfred Hitchcock's "Three Investigators." They were three young boys who set out to solve frightful mysteries. It wasn't long until I discovered horror. And one book I wish I still had was a collection of short stories titled Alfred Hitchcock's Supernatural Tales of Terror and Suspense. I just remember a short story about a deserted island and a REALLY huge snail. How's that for a story premise, huh?

High school brought me back to the wonderful world of science fiction and fantasy, and fortunately I still have my favorite books from my D&D days (yes, I was a closet geek) but what I am missing is a science fiction novel, Hyperion by Dan Simmons. It was part of a series called the "Hyperion Cantos" and this first novel told the story from different points of view, all revolving around an unknown creature called a Shrike. There was a lot of political and ecological conflict, but I remember the Shrike the most - something feared, and yet something about it made it seem it shouldn't be feared at all.

Since I know the titles and authors to the latter books, I can hopefully find them again in a used bookstore, or by them again brand new. But it makes me sad that the fairy tale book from my childhood may be lost forever. I have searched bookstores and the internet, but have not yet been able to find it. So, to all present and future readers, when you find a book that grabs you, holds its imagery firmly in your memory, don't let it go. And I hope that my stories will make you feel this way, too!

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