Finding What to Read (Part 2)

Last time I talked about my “To Read” list, but I didn’t get to the gist of what I wanted to talk about, which is: How do you decide what goes on your reading list?  How do you find books you want to read?  How do you learn about new authors?

For myself, the books on my list have ended up there through any number of circuitous paths.  The George R. R. Martin books, for instance, I’d been hearing good things about for years before I finally bought a copy of the first four at a used book store.  I think I first heard about them on a forum I used to frequent at an RPG community site, where those books came up often in favorites lists.  Brandon Sanderson, meanwhile, I became aware of when he was chosen to finish “The Wheel of Time” after Robert Jordan’s untimely passing.  (Jordan’s books, on the other hand, entered my consciousness mainly because my parents bought them when I was younger). 

Most of the books on my list, however, came to this list over the last couple years, and especially after I started this blog.  I started collecting links to the websites and blogs of different authors.  Continue reading

Finding What to Read (Part 1)…

Being Part the First:

In Which I Declare My Official “To Read” List

During the past three years of grad school, I did very little writing and very little reading.  I finished one novelette-length short story.  I read two novels (both “Wheel of Time” books, and actually only half of the second), half of another novel and a few small volumes of short stories.

Since graduating a few months ago, I’ve upped the amps on my writing.  But my reading is still continuing at roughly the same pace.  Largely, I’d felt so deprived of writing while I worked on grad school that I wanted to focus my free time on writing, at least until I was in the thick of my novel and making solid progress (i.e. at least until I had actual draft wordcount on the novel, and not just background stuff).  But my slow reading these past few years hasn’t stopped a tsunami of excellent fiction from exploding into my consciousness.  It’s for that reason that my “To Read” list has grown into something of an unmanageable behemoth, and an unstoppable juggernaut.  To make anything like a dent in that list I’d have to take a few months off from work and dedicate a lot of time exclusively to reading.  Which… ain’t gonna happen.

At some point, I’m going to pivot some of my time to reading a little more again.  Because it’s not like other writers are going to stop writing awesome books just because I haven’t had time to read them.  And if I don’t read those awesome books, I might die unfulfilled.

Right now, my “To Read” list is broken into four parts, and looks like this:

I. Books I Own

A Clash of Kings* by George R. R. Martin

Mistborn: The Final Empire¹ by Brandon Sanderson

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings¹ (signed) by Brandon Sanderson

The Children of Amarid¹ (signed) by David B. Coe

The Name of the Wind¹ by Patrick Rothfuss

A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction by Philip Athans with introduction by R. A. Salvatore

The Writer’s Digest Guide to Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card and the Editors of Writer’s Digest with introduction by Terry Brooks (this is a combo volume of Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy and Writer’s Digest’s The Writer’s Complete Fantasy Reference) Continue reading

Missed One

As I was doing a quick bit of “research” on my personal writing history – to make sure I got some of the details right on my right on my recent posts of the same topic – I made a discovery in my notebook.  When I wrote up my entry about my various novel and story projects, I’d missed a potential “back-burner” item for a novel concept I came up with following some of my personal set-backs.  I’ve amended the “Note on Novel Nomenclature” entry with the missing project, called “Book of C”.

“Book of C”, like most of the other back-burner projects, currently exists only as an entry of approximately 500 to 1000 words or so in my notebook.  That’s the same state that you’ll find “Book of J” in.  “Book of M” differentiates itself by having about a half-dozen such entries at this point (which is barely anything at all compared to more than a hundred entries in my journal about “Project SOA”).

I describe “Book of C” as a genre mash-up, in a sense.  Part of the idea behind it is to combine tropes and conventions from multiple genres.  Unlike “Book of M” and “Book of J”, which are conceptually stand-alones (at least for now), “Book of C” is conceptually the first in a trilogy.  It centers on three  characters who are brought together in unlikely circumstances in spite of their “differences”, and find they must rely on each other if they’re to escape the powers that hunt them.  In all honesty, though, I’ve not fleshed this one out significantly, even as compared to “Book of J” (which had the benefit of having most of its major plot points laid out for me in a dream).

Still, the initial idea seemed fun, so I’ll definitely be giving it thought in the future to see if I can put some meat on its bones, someday.

A Note on Novel Nomenclature

So, I’ve written in the past about “the novel that I’ve been working on since forever” (and also often used the term “blather” when referring to it) and I’ve mentioned the new novel that I intend to start writing (just as soon as I have time to write).

I’ve come to find these long descriptive phrases to be unwieldy.  And, from the perspective of you, the reader, they’re not entirely useful or meaningful.  Because those long, unwieldy descriptions don’t tell you anything about the book itself but instead tell you about my temporal relationship with the book.

This ends now.  Inasmuch as I may continue to refer to either or both of these books – or even inasmuch as I might refer to any of my writing projects – I intend to start referring to those works and projects either by their titles (in the fullness of time) or by code-titles (in the beginning).  Eventually, therefore, I may be able to add word count meters and write in blog posts about my various projects and what I’m doing in them, and it will be easier to you, the reader, to understand what I mean rather than having to parse some long-and-not-altogether-useful-phrase like “that novel that I’ve been working on since forever”.

So, let’s get started. Continue reading

Choose Your Own Adventure…

Dear Wife and I were talking the other day about books, and about reading.  We’re both pretty avid readers.  But whereas I read almost exclusively in the speculative fiction genres, and venture outside those boundaries only rarely (if you’re going to read for enjoyment, you might as well read what you enjoy, and so I do), Dear Wife reads widely across many different genres, including non-fiction.  As we were talking, Dear Wife commented that she didn’t want B.T. to read only fantasy and science fiction.

“Didn’t you read anything else, when you were a kid?” she asked.  “Like, the Hardy Boys or something?” Continue reading

First Hint of a Novel

I was a bit excited about this, so I wanted to share it with you all.

I’d been struggling for some time with the notion that maybe I”m not quite ready to write that novel I’ve been working on since forever.  Anyway, I’m focusing on short stories for now, because that’s all I can fit in the little slices of time I currently have.  But what I really want to write is  novels.

And when it comes to writing novels, there’s that epic novel I’ve been working on since forever, as previously alluded to.

But I love the idea of that novel too much to leave it in the hands of the unskilled self that I am now.  I want that novel to be something great.  But I cannot write great fiction, as yet.  I need to know first that I can even write very good fiction.  But I can write something else.

So, at some point in the recent past (and I may have mentioned here) I decided to shift gears.  I decided that when I get into writing a novel, I will not start by writing this epic behemoth of a thing.  I will write something else instead.  After all, I had three or four different ideas for very different, other novels to write.  So I thought about the ideas, and I felt out which one I felt I could actually start to develop.  And one of them I kept coming back to as the idea that just felt right.

I’ll admit, though, I was afraid.  What if I could only do that one novel idea, the one I’d been working on since forever already?  What if I didn’t have what it takes to even attempt to write something else?  What if I couldn’t think of enough good ideas – to flesh out characters and world and plot – to make this other idea work?

I don’t know why I worried so much.  All I had to do was think about it for a while.  And I did.  And as I did, ideas started popping up in my head.  Oh, well, this is what happens in the first chapter.  But then this happens in the second.  This is the inciting incident, the thing that gets the main character started on her journey.

I only have the barest of details yet figured out.  Some of the first bases of the world-building that I sketched out a few years ago when the idea first came to me.  The first sketches of a few characters.  And now the first sketches of how the story opens.  I’m still working on the plot – as in, what is the overarching plot, and what does the main character want, and what is the course of the overall journey?  But I was delighted to find myself adding a couple new handwritten entries in my little notebook (I call it my Book of Ideas), and that these new entries, their not just for the same old book I’ve been working on since forever.  They’re for a new book idea.

The former book, I’ll still be working on it.  I can’t abandon it.  I’ll still write ideas for it down.  I’ll build up my little project file on my computer with notes and articles and ideas and worldbuilding and characters. But my overall focus, slowly, is going to shift in this new direction.

Happy writing.

Go Big or Go Home?

On Blockbuster Books, Pseudonyms, and Platforms

A couple weeks ago, in David Farland’s Daily Kick, he suggested something that I thought was provocative, with regards to the careers of new writers. He basically suggests that, unless a new writer can launch their first novel in a big way, his or her career will not last.

As a result of [a lot of changes to the book industry], it has become imperative that an author “launch big.” You need to sell your first book in hardcover. You need to write a book that is aimed at the market, that takes current tastes in literature into account, and that more than satisfies your publisher’s expectations. Indeed, we’re seeing more and more publishers launching first-time authors as best-sellers.
~David Farland

My reaction was: really? Really, that’s the only way? I’ll concede that we’ve reach a post “long-tail” reality. But to suggest that our only hope is to go big or go home, to my mind, is not so much encouragement as, well, the opposite of encouragement. (It’s called discouragement.) Because most of us who write, as it is, are unlikely to win a publishing contract for our books. Few enough of those will ever succeed at the “go big or go home” strategy.

He goes on to say something more that makes me a little suspicious, though:

Typically, the publisher will pay anywhere from $100,000 to $400,000 for a novel that they intend to launch big, and they’ll offer to launch it in hardcover.

I don’t know about the offer to launch in hardcover, but those advances are way out of whack with statistical evidence on the issue of first advances.  Author Tobias Buckell’s survey may not precisely be scientific, but it does show that the frequency of very high (6-digit) advances is very rare with respect to the population of writers as a whole (out of 108 speculative fiction authors who took his survey, he doesn’t find a single 6-figure advance for first-time novels, suggesting that the real likelihood of that eventuality is significantly less than 1%).

So, I’m not so sure about the validity of Farland’s claims on this question. Certainly, many of us dream of striking it big, just so, but, at least at present, there still seems to be plenty of room on the “midlists”.

Farland later suggests that if we fail to achieve this blockbuster opener on our first novel, that all is not lost:

So your only option is to take your money and—quite probably—start over. Write another potential blockbuster under another name. Do it enough, and eventually you’ll get the push that you deserve.

This got me thinking about the topic of pseudonyms. It sounds like Farland is suggesting an ever-revolving door of pseudonyms until we find a novel that sticks in the blockbuster status. This made me reflect back to an interview author Jim C. Hines did with a writer who’s basically doing just that.  This made me wonder about the role of pseudonyms in an author’s career, especially as concerns myself, personally.  I write this blog under my real name, and I’ve commented before that I have a rather common name.  And I’ve wondered whether that will present a challenge for me in the future, when I try in earnest to break in.  So, I’ve considered the possibility of a pseudonym… And I’ve come full circle.

Several years ago, I was already considering this issue, and had picked out for myself a pseudonym.  But I was struggling with the issue.  Then, one friend asked why, rather than agonize over what to use as a pseudonym, why don’t I just use my real name.  That question rekindled in me the pride I had in my name.  Since then, I’d planned to use my real name as my writing name… and so that’s what you see here on this blog.

But when I consider the challenges inherent in trying to brand myself while using so common a name, I am forced to consider that a pseudonym might be a necessary tool in my writing arsenal.  (Though, in a bit of irony, the pseudonym I had picked out for myself turns out to be uncomfortably close to the name of another, established science fiction author.  So, back to the drawing board, as it were.)  And now I’m back to considering: if I must have a pseudonym, what will it be?

And if I do have a pseudonym, can I keep it open?  By that, I mean, must I necessarily keep it a secret (as the writer Benjamin Tate, the one interviewed by Jim Hines, is doing)?  Or can it be a known fact that “Mr. Nom-de-plume” is, in fact, me.  I wonder about this because, it seems to me, building an audience – and a platform – is no easy feat.  And to have to start from scratch every time I have to take a “new” name seems to me to be a terrible waste of the potential resource of an existing fan-base.  If you have a few fans, wouldn’t it be better to transfer that fandom to your new name?  And wouldn’t the easiest and cleanest way to do that be to say to them: “Hey, if you like my stuff, you might want to check out the stuff written as ‘Author X’ – my new nom-de-plume!”

Then, related to this, is another article I read, recently, on the subject of self-promotion, on the Writer’s Beware blog, which asks the question: can you start self-promoting and building your “platform” too soon?  That particular article suggests that, perhaps, starting to build your network and platform several years before the launch of your novel is, just maybe, too soon.  Which gave me pause.  At this time in my “career” I’m intending on focusing on short stories, because I know I don’t have time to devote to novel writing.  Consequently, I know it will be several years before I even finish writing a full novel draft.  Then, shopping it around, waiting for responses, and doing all the rest will mean years more before I’ll be a published novelist.

Have I started this blog too soon?  Do I stand something to lose by blogging now, when all I have to show for myself are a handful of mediocre-quality short stories?  Will potential readers happen upon me and, finding nothing exciting, give a collective “meh“, and move on with their lives?  It’s a legitimate question, and one that has me thinking.

Ultimately, though, I feel alright about this.  I’ve started this journey.  Heck, I started this journey years ago, long before the idea for this blog, or any other blog, entered into my mind.  And now that I’m here, I’m here.  And I’m going to keep going, trudging onward in the direction of my dream.

Happy writing.

Addenda to “From Whence Greatness?”

Yesterday, I told the story in which I developed my theory of the key ingredient in a great story: that of “relationships” between characters.  But there are a few clarifying points that I’d like to make.

First, a definition.  When I refer to “relationships” as being key, I don’t mean the word in the colloquial sense of a “romantic relationship”.  Heck, it doesn’t even have to be a friendship, or any other positive relationship, for that matter.  When I talk about “relationships” between characters, I mean that there has been a level of personal interaction between characters which is the genesis of an emotional response between characters.  In other words, stuff happened between two characters, and because of that stuff the two characters may have come to like each other, love each other, hate each other, bore each other, become jealous, and so on.  The feelings needn’t be mutual, either.  In fact, relationship dynamics can be so much more interesting when they aren’t perfectly congruous.

The second addendum is this: the relationship is not divorceable from the characters involved.  In other words, having “characters” with “relationships” will not save a story if the “characters” are not interesting, engaging, or otherwise worthy of our rooting interest.  For the past couple of years, I’ve been using The Redemption of Althalus as my touchstone on this point, because it’s the only fantasy novel I’ve ever put down unfinished – a dubious honor, I’m sure.  The reason I couldn’t finish that book?  While it had a relatively interesting premise, the entire cast of characters were card-board cut-outs of standard fantasy tropes with little or no variation from each other.  (One review on Amazon I read described the book as having exactly 3 characters who have been cloned multiple times and given different names and dress:  good guy, good girl, and bad guy.  I’d concur, except I’d say there’s really only one character who is cloned, and who’s name, gender, and assigned allegiance are the only variables.)  Althalus is my touchstone because the characters were so dull and unengaging.  Though there were several relationships between the various characters, they had absolutely no depth.  And however shallow the good guys, the bad guys were even thinner, such that throughout the book, we have virtually no concern whatever whether the good guys or the bad guys win, because there are no real consequences.  For the “relationships” ingredient to work, therefore, these relationships need to be between fully realized and engageable characters.

That said, this element alone may not be sufficient to propel a story to greatness.  But I still maintain that it is the one element that must be executed on well in order for a story to be great.  Other elements will still be necessary, but the specifics of those elements are not, in my mind, as iron-clad as that of interesting relationships between interesting characters.  To greater or lesser degrees, genre conventions may dictate a lot more about what needs to go on in a story: whether you need an exciting, never-before-been-seen new idea, or deeply intricate plots, or explosive dialog.  Some of these you almost certainly will need.  But you ignore characters and their relationships at your own peril.

Happy writing.

From Whence Greatness?

A post on the blog of T.S. Bazelli the other day made me think back to some thoughts I had a year or two ago about what makes a novel or a book great.  I thought this would be a great place and time to go back to those thoughts, re-examine them, and share them.

The question of greatness in books is one that can cause a good deal of contention among those who are well-read.  The erudite and scholarly may have the ability to pontificate on the relative merits and flaws of the great classics, from Tolstoy to Nabokov, from Shakespeare to Dickens and from Joyce to Fitzgerald and beyond.  (You’ll note how each of these is readily identified merely by their last names, as though nothing else is needed for their introduction.)  Well, I haven’t read a word of Tolstoy nor much of Nabokov.  I’ve read smatterings of Shakespeare and Dickens, nothing of Joyce, and only what they made me read in school by Fitzgerald.  The same could be said for any number of other “great” writers.  But, frankly, I’m not interested in scholarly or academic discussions of greatness.  I’m a young man who yearns to be a writer, himself.  So, what I’m interested in is the kind of greatness that churns out best-sellers.  The Stephen King kind of greatness.  The Dan Brown kind.  Or the J. K. Rowling kind.

And it was a consideration of Rolwing’s “masterpiece”, as it were – the Harry Potter novels, as though they need any introduction either – that originally got me thinking about this subject a few years ago.  I haven’t read King or Brown (though I’ve seen many of their movies), but I’ve read the entire Harry Potter series.  Now, this reading is but one datum to consider, but when I think back over the stories I’ve loved throughout my life – over nearly all of the books I’ve found most compelling – the key learning I gleaned from this consideration holds constant and true.  Let me take you back to the beginning, to where my thoughts on the topic began.

I had just finished one of the Harry Potter books, whether the fifth, sixth, or seventh I no longer remember.  By this point, Harry Potter was past being a phenomenon and had become the touchstone of a cultural moment.  By 2007 the New York Times felt forced to create a whole new category of best seller to which it could shuck the quarter-dozen Harry Potter titles that were clogging up its normal best seller list.  And as a writer, I wondered.  What made these Harry Potter books so great?  Why were they such a huge bestseller?  Why did so many people love these books?  And were there any lessons I could glean from them that I could apply in my own work?

I approached these questions from the point of view of one who would also write heroic fantasy stories of wizards and dragons and the fate of the world in balance.  And right away, I was able to rule all of that out as a factor in Harry Potter’s success.  Certainly, other tales have done spectacularly well relying on just those very themes: the Lord of the Rings comes as one clear example, and there are other great bestsellers (though none quite so best selling as Harry Potter) in the fantasy genre that rely still on these same themes.  Harry Potter is something of a bildungsroman, but so are many other fantasy tales.  There is a young boy destined to defeat the evil wizard.  He has a wise old mentor who is destined to die before the young boy can fulfill his own destiny.  Sound familiar?  Lots of great fantasy stories have been told with the same motifs.  So have lots of truly awful dreck.  My own fantasy novel rested on these same themes, and yet I knew in my heart of hearts by this point that my novel was practically unpublishable.

No, I reasoned, these themes were not a reason for success.  Neither, it was clear to me, were they a hindrance, no matter that you always hear that we, as writers, have to avoid such clichés “like the plague”.  The success of Harry Potter proved for certain that the old saw about fantasy clichés was no true path to greatness in fantasy literature.  Many stories have been new and unique and inspired.  Many of them have been consigned to the dustbins of history.  No, there is no formula for greatness in the way that we approach these fantasy clichés.

What about Rowling’s prose, and her style?  Certainly, one can count points in her favor here.  Yet it cannot escape notice that though these were books written for and to a young adult and juvenile audience, they nevertheless had an appeal to a much broader audience.  Adults and people of all stripes and ages were completely caught up in the Potter-mania.  Should we all strive to write YA-fiction with broad market appeal?  How would one do that?  No, that line of reasoning is silly.  Stephen King churns out a never-ending stream of best-sellers, and his books are decidedly not YA in appeal.  Still, there is something to be said for writing style: for finding an authorial voice that has general and broad appeal.  But this is not a lesson that can easily be applied, in principle.  Each writer must find his or her own authorial voice, and it’s something I’ve yet to see a standard or formula that could replicate success in this regard.

So, my thoughts continued.  It was not Rowling world-building.  While her world was interesting and at time immersive, there were nonetheless numerous inconsistencies that would crop up from time to time.  But they were not central to the plot, nor to our enjoyment of the book, so as readers they were easily forgotten or missed entirely.  It was not her meticulous plotting.  While engaging, the plots were almost entirely self-contained from book to book, with only a handful of threads continuing across the entire series.  But… we’re getting closer.

And that’s when it hit me. The characters.  The relationships.  This became clear to me, especially, while reading the last book of the series.  All throughout the series we’d been introduced to a wide array of characters with interesting backstories and, more importantly, a complex web of relationships between them.  And, as the stories progress, we see the consequences of the interactions of the characters – both those that take place within the timeline of  the books and those that took place in the past – play out in the climaxes of each book.  What the villains do – whether Severus Snape or Draco Malfoy or even Lord Voldemort – is influenced by their pasts and the relationships they had with the people around them.  And the same is true of the heroes. 

As I realized this, I knew I was onto a profound discovery.  We human beings: we’re social creatures, even the most introverted of us.  We crave human interaction.  We crave relationships.  It’s woven into the fiber of our beings.  And stories?  Stories are about people.  People who have relationships.  The more interesting and dynamic those relationships, the more interesting and compelling the story.

A quick survey of my fantasy favorites confirmed my budding theory.  The Lord of the Rings?  You’ve got the powerful friendship between Sam and Frodo.  Boromir’s betrayal, fueled in part by his (offscreen) relationship with his father, and strained relationship between Boromir’s brother, Faramir, and their father.  You have the growing friendship of Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn, and the (mostly offscreen) love between Aragorn and Arwen and the attendant angst related to it.  You have the friendship of Pippin and Merry.  And so on.  Whilst writ large, at mythic scope, the story is nonetheless fraught with relationship complexities. 

Or the Prydain books of my youth?  Here, you have the conflict in Taran between who he was – a question of his relationship with his unknown parents and with his mentor, Dallben – and who he has become, in light of his new relationships with the princess Eilonwy, the bard Flewddur Fflam, the creature Gurgi, the dwarf Doli and the prince Gwydion.  Or how about “The Wheel of Time”?  There are so many characters and complex relationships that it becomes rather easy to lose track, and you need a half-dozen online encyclopedias to keep track.  (If anything, “The Wheel of Time” sometimes seems to suffer from relationship overload.)

Yes, my friends, I did and do believe that I discovered the secret of greatness in writing.  Which is not to say I’ve discovered a magic formula for best-sellerdom.  What I have found is the secret ingredient.  There are a lot of ingredients that will make the stew of a great novel a savory and steamy affair.  You need an interesting plot, and an immersive world.  You need attention to detail, and an eye for the setting details that bring your story to life.  You need clean prose and a style with wide appeal.  You need some new idea or some new take on the conventions of your genre.  But if you fail to deliver a perfect tale in any of those regards, you may, I believe, still have a perfectly fine and publishable book.  But what you cannot do without, I have come to believe, is a caste of interesting characters caught in a web of relationships.  It is these relationships that will drive your story.  Without these, your story will ultimately be forgettable.

At least, that’s what I’ve come to believe.

Happy writing.

Summer Reading Plans

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.