The Good Book Predicament

I’ve never been a big reader. I have spent more time watching my favourite movies again and again than I ever have pouring over the black and white pages of various works of fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good read. Some of my fondest memories as a kid include burying my nose into the latest Harry Potter book or taking my pillow case or cotton library bag to the Primary School library and renting out fiction like The Never-ending Story or various texts on werewolves and other scary creatures. But somewhere along the line I suppose I lost interest in the whole book borrowing practice, probably around the time I finished school, the same time that visiting the library stopped being a common thing to do.

Right now however, with all this writing I have been engaging in, and the fact that I have come across some very amusing and thoughtful blogs on books, I have re-kindled my interest. I mean I feel kind of stupid about wanting to write good fiction yet at the same time finding it a struggle to tell you even 5 authors that I know of, let alone admire and gain inspiration from. So I feel that I should broaden my horizons, see what else is out there and learn by example. But the problem with that is I don’t know where to start. I went to the book store the other day and became completely overwhelmed by the number of works they carried. I don’t have any favourite authors that I can rely on to have written something worthy of buying, and I feel like I can never really tell if a book is going to be good just from the combination of the cover, the blurb and perhaps skimming the first chapter. I’m completely aimless, and most often get in the way of people who actually know what they are looking for.

I can narrow the search down, steering clear of anything that boasts a completely uninspired recommendation from Stephanie Meyer, or any book that has some emo looking chick with pale skin and dark lips on the cover…Now that I mention it I can completely avoid the entire section devoted to that Paranormal Romance droll, where the characters are shallower than puddles and every one is really, really ridiculously good-looking (Cue Derek Zoolander’s magnum pose). I suppose, since I’m writing fantasy at the moment, that I should have a look in that department…I actually do tend to gravitate towards the Fantasy and Sci-Fi section of the book store, but I’m hard pressed to find something that isn’t in some sort of 7 part series or trilogy. I just can’t commit to something that long, and if the past is anything to go by I’ll probably end up buying something from the middle or end of a series, which just doesn’t sit well with finicky old me. Back in the day I had gotten about half way through Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, before realizing that it was the third in the trilogy and answering my own questions of why it didn’t make that much sense and why none of it was, in any part, reminiscent to the movie I had just watched.

Return of the King still sits in my book shelf, read about 7/8 of the way through, and not about to be finished anytime soon. I have a certain tendency to read a book 7/8 of the way through and just leave it for a couple of years. I recently finished two books that I had left this way, astounded that I could pick up the stories from where I had left off all that time ago. There are books in my bookshelf that I have started and haven’t finished. I could read them, but the thought of being committed to reading the tiny text and seemingly impossible thickness of Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo makes me weep on the inside, especially when the experience of battling through his slightly shorter novel The Three Musketeers left me exhausted and longing for the much simpler and more campy Walt Disney movie version… Which is funny because I only bought the trio of Alexandre Dumas’ novels (Which also includes The Man in the Iron Mask) because I liked the movies so much, now they’re pretty much the only unread thing in my bookshelf…

So what I really need is a new book. I like new books, sometimes more for that new book smell and the pleasure of cracking open that never creased, new book spine, than for the actual prose inside. But nevertheless my search will continue, and if you so happen to have any good recommendations I will be ever so pleased to hear them.

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