I was just reading a friend’s post about his history with reading and where he is today.  He is a fan of high fantasy and has been for almost as long as I have known him.  His was the original stereotypical starting point: The Hobbit.  I have still never read that book and, having tried it a few times, never plan on it.  I do like high fantasy, but it never really caught on with me. 

I read the Landover series and the Lord of the Rings.  I think that was what killed it for me, actually.  Tolkien is so long-winded and in absolute love with his world that I never had a chance to get to know the characters or care about their adventures.  Landover was more of a “Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” type of story with the story being about this magical world with a modern man slapped in the middle of it.

With so little of that sort of fantasy out there when I was in middle and high school, I turned toward Stephen King.  His stories pitted modern man against magic in a very different manner.  Rather than invoking a sense of wonder, these stories showed how modern man is mostly powerless against these horrific forces.  Sometimes, if his heart remains pure, he or she can triumph… or not.  Regardless of whether the protagonist triumphs(Misery) or doesn’t (Pet Sematary), I still loved the stories.  By the way, these books are over a decade old as of this writing.  If you want to cry foul over spoilers, be my guest.

My reading changed in 2007 when I discovered Jim Butcher.  His series, The Dresden Files, set my mind aglow with both wonder and envy.  He was able to overlay our modern world with a realm of magic so well that I found myself muttering that old writer’s curse:

“I wish I’d thought of that.”

His characters are entertaining and engaging.  The dialog is sharp and witty, which makes the reading of his books entertaining as much for the interactions of the characters as for the story itself.  They read far too quickly for my tastes, no matter how long they are.  He releases one a year and it is just not enough.  I have found myself needing rehab from May-Mark of each year with my only respite being found in that week in April when I buy and read the next installment and then the following weeks when the high gradually wears down into post-Dresden depression.

Don’t get me wrong, I have read quite a few great books since last April’s Dresden release.  I think, in between updates on my writing and school, I will post my impressions of some of these stories.  Here is a mostly comprehensive list of my readings since April 2009:

Novels

Under the Dome by Stephen King

The Talisman Stephen King

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes Chris Crutcher

A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents by Liza Palmer

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Hurston

Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Illusions by Richard Bach

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Speaker for the Dead (Ender’s Saga, #2) by Orson Scott Card

Xenocide (Ender’s Saga, Book 3) by Orson Scott Card

Children of the Mind (Ender’s Saga, Book 4) by Orson Scott Card

Terminal by Brian Keene

City Of The Dead by Brian Keene

The Rising by Brian Keene

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Brother Odd by Dean Koontz

Forever Odd by Dean Koontz

The Good Guy by Dean Koontz

The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

The Husband Koontz by Dean Koontz

Prodigal Son (Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein, Book 1) by Dean Koontz

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo

Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8) by Terry Pratchett

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

Touching Evil by Kay Hooper

Candles Burning by Tabitha King and Michael McDowell

The Magic of Recluce by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

 

Short Stories

Primordial Chili by Thomas Gerencer

Why I Bring a Bag Lunch Now by Thomas Gerencer

Trailer Trash Savior by Thomas Gerencer

Demo Mode by by Thomas Gerencer

LT’s Theory of Pets by Stephen King

UR by Stephen King

Word Processor of the Gods by Stephen King

4th Wish by Ed Howdershelt

 

Nonfiction

The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. Jacobs

Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life by Neil Strauss

Reallivepreacher.com by Gordon Atkinson

The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by Barack Obama

 

Poetry

Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins

Nine Horses: Poems by Billy Collins

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“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot … If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

~ Stephen King

 

Listening to: Foo Fighters – Learn To Fly

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