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Summer Reading Plans

April 20, 2010

So, on Friday, John Scalzi linked to the new blog home of an old column he used to do called “The Weekend Assignment” that gave a weekly topic for writers to blog about over the weekend.  This week’s assignment is about our Summer Reading plans, and what we look forward to most.  So, I thought: “hey, this is cool, and as a writer it’s a nice challenge that would give me something to write about regularly, and this topic in particular is one I can actually say something about.”  So, I’ll be trying to do these “Weekend Assignments” going forward.  Assuming I’m able to keep up with it, they’ll usually post on either Mondays or Tuesdays.

So, what am I excited about reading this summer?  Well, I’ll surely be spending time reading some textbooks and/or business cases for class.  But that’s not what I’m excited about.  Actually, it’s kind of sad to admit what I’m excited about: I’m excited about finishing The Gathering Storm over the summer.  I say it’s sad because I got this book as a gift from Dear Wife over Christmas 2009 (Thank You Dear Wife!), and I’ve been reading it ever since then.

That’s right: I’ve been reading this book for nearly four monthsWhat has happened to me?  When I was a younger man, and still in either High School or College, I used to be able to devour one of the “Wheel of Time” books in a matter of a couple of weeks.  I’ll tell you what didn’t happen: it’s not that the book is boring.  It’s been an enjoyable read so far (I’m on chapter 20), especially when the book has focused on Egwene.

After I finish The Gathering Storm I have several choices for what book I will read next.  The two options I am considering are either A Clash of Kings, the second book in George R. R. Martin‘s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, or Elantris, Brandon Sanderson‘s break-out novel.  I’m interested in exploring Sanderson’s own work outside of what he’s done with Robert Jordan’s latest book, so I’m most eager to read one of these books.  On the flip side, I’ve been hearing about how great Martin’s books are for ages.  I did read the first in his Ice and Fire books already, but it was an odd experience.  While well-written, and while his world is interesting and detailed, it was also a very dark world.  I found myself lacking any serious rooting interest in the book, because all of the characters were either cold and hard or outright villainous bastards.  Even the good-guys (so far as I was able to identify a good guy) had a bit of a nasty streak.  Still, I’m curious to find out what happens next, but I don’t think I’ll ever be as big a fan of Martin’s books as I have been of Jordan’s.

That said, I’ll probably pick up the next Ice and Fire book after finishing The Gathering Storm.  That will probably take up the rest of Summer and beyond.  When I finish that book, I’ll probably put down the Ice and Fire books again and move on to Sanderson with Elantris.

In the future, besides the Sanderson and Martin books, I’ve cued up a hefty list of “To Read” books on my Amazon wishlist.  Most of these are books I’ve learned about since I started following the blogs of a few other writers.  These include Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan, Mainspring by Jay Lake, The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas, The God Engines by John Scalzi, Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin, His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik, Spellwright by Blake Charlton and possibly Seth Grahame-Smith’s latest, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

So, that’s not a very short list.  Not a short list at all.  That is sure to keep me busy and reading well into the foreseeable future, and beyond.  What’s on your reading list?

Happy Reading.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2010 12:24 pm

    Hi Stephen 🙂

    My name is Carly, welcome to the Weekend Assignment! I am so happy you could join us this week! 🙂 Like you I have compiled quite a list of “Wish List” reads! I think I must look into one more, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” The name has me quite intrigued! Thanks for sharing some of your favorites with us, and giving us some ideas for summer reading!

    All my best, Carly

    • April 20, 2010 12:33 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Carly! And thanks for picking up the Weekend Assignment.

      Yeah, the name of the Abraham Lincoln book had me intrigued, too. I think saw it on a friend’s tweet. It’s the same guy who started the “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies” trend we’ve been seeing lately.

      My only regret is that I don’t have near enough time to actually read most of these books over the summer…

      • April 20, 2010 12:33 pm

        (Which is not to say that I won’t be reading them… it’s just going to take a little longer…)

  2. April 20, 2010 11:11 pm

    Hi, Stephen, and welcome to the Weekend Assignments! I can understand how a large, complex book can remain “in progress” for a long time; I had much the same experience with one or two of Christopher Tolkien’s reconstructions of the writing and development of The Lord of the Rings. I haven’t tried Robert Jordan’s work yet, but I’m thinking about it.

    Apropos of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, are you aware that someone else wrote Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter? That looks more promising than the Lincoln one, IMO.

    Thanks for participating!

    • April 21, 2010 8:52 am

      I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the few bits of Christopher Tolkien-edited material that I’ve read. I’m surprised that I was able t move so quickly through those items that I have, considering. (The sum total of which are the first and second Books of Lost Tales and the Children of Hurin.

      If you’re interested in an honest fan’s review of Jordan’s work, I plan to do one once I finish The Gathering Storm. Granted, that’s going to be a while, but whereas the most common reactions I typically see out there, in relation to Jordan’s work, are abject adoration or outright hostility, I think I take a more nuanced view. Certainly I characterize msyelf as a fan, but I’m perfectly willing to point out its flaws (and they are not a few, it’s true). At this point, with 12 books extant and 2 more on the way, it’s probably a good idea to know what you’re getting into before making the dive.

      As for Abe Lincoln vs. Queen Victoria, I was vaguely aware that Grahame-Smith had started some kind of genre-bending trend with Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and that he was not the only author in it now, but I wasn’t immediately aware of any specific books in this new genre by other authors. I’ll say I remain generally more intrigued by the Lincoln book primarily because I’m a big fan of Honest Abe and am more familiar with the mythology and mystique that surrounds him than with Queen Victoria. About the only thing I know about Victoria is that she lent her name to an important period in British history.

  3. April 23, 2010 10:50 am

    Hi, another new face on the Weekend Assignments, cool.

    I’ve been meaning to read Crystal Rain for a long time. I’ve been following Tobias’ blog for a long time, I really should get to reading it.

    Abraham Lincoln; Vampire Hunter cracks me up. The title i mean, I haven’t read it. I wonder what is next, Winston Churchill: Werewolf Tracker? 🙂

    • April 23, 2010 11:29 am

      Hey, thanks for stopping by, Mike.

      I agree about the title of the Abe Lincoln book. It’s the only reason it’s even on my list! But you’re lucky the people who write these books probably don’t read this blog; if they did, I’ve no doubt that your prediction would turn out to be eerily accurate. (I mean, Adolf Hitler as a werewolf: that’s a pretty interesting scenario!)

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