Saturday, October 15, 2005

Special Books

Though not as much now as I wish, I am an avid reader. I'll read almost anything recommended to me (with the exception of the "read this. It's so bad it'll make you cry." books my dear husband pushes in my direction ;)) and I'm just as happy to pass them on to the next person and spread the wealth. The few times I've tried to maintain a collection, fate has destroyed that hope as books ended up filed in different shelves and then passed on at yard sales and used book stores because I didn't have them all, only to find the others years later.

This has given me a sense of books as temporary pleasures, a sense supported by the weird tinge of photographic-like memory I inherited from my parents that allows me to pick up a book within 10 years and everything will come back to me with such clarity that I almost never get the sense of new discovery. I'm a slow, detailed reader. You drop me a clue and odds are I catch it at the first go through, no matter how subtle. The number of books I've enjoyed rereading, I can practically count on one hand and often I wait 10 or more years before rereading. (For the curious, the one that comes most easily to mind in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I still love that book.)

Because of the above, my joy is much more in the passing on of books than collecting them. I figure the ones I want to reread are easily enough found again in libraries or used bookstores long after the publisher no longer has copies. This theory has taken hold of my mind despite the longing for a specific Harlequin romance published in the early '80s, but that's only a problem because I remember the story quite clearly to this day and yet the title and author didn't make it into my faulty memory banks. I want that book because the use of interpersonal tension was fantastic :D.

So, my reasons make sense, my logic (whatever you think of it) is logical. Why am I blathering on? Because all this has changed. I didn't really recognize that it had, or at least to such a great degree, until I went to the bookshelf where I'd placed a very special book and found its spot empty though I had no memory of lending the book out.

My very first special book came from Sheila, of StarDoc (as Sheila Viehl) and now vampire fantasy (as Lynn Viehl) fame (not to mention her romances that my sister just returned with a beg for more ;)). After not writing a book for many years, I was nearing the final 10k of my second novel in just over one year and I couldn't do it. I couldn't get past that end point and had no clue why. Sheila was running the Think Tanks over at Forward Motion at the time and helped me realize that half the problem was I didn't know what I would do next. I feared another chasm of no book writing opening up in front of me if I ever wrote "The End" on Heart's Promise. She told me when I got the book done, she'd give me a carrot...and then wouldn't say what it was. Sure enough, I raced through to the end and started into my next novel, The Queen's Return. I haven't stopped except to breathe since.

My carrot, when it arrived, was a signed copy of Blade Dancer (with a clever drawing of a carrot in the signature :)). This was my first signed copy ever and has extra significance because it gave me the push to keep going. If you want to see it, ask me some time when you are over here, but it is not leaving my library ever (Yes, I did find it a few days later, in a special place so it would not get lost ;)).

I have since received a few other signed copies including one from Holly Lisle in return for some coding work (the progress bar she uses on her site) and so my collection of special books is growing. My signed copies are unique. There is no way that I can simply replace them with a copy from elsewhere. The story would be the same, but the personal meaning would be lost. As much as I have enjoyed the stories, if I want to lend a copy out, I'm going to have to get a second :).

So, having just woken up to this new reality, I have to ask: do you have any special books? What makes them different from any other copy of the same? Or are they (like the romance I mentioned earlier) just too hard to find and so became precious by their very rarity?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Tagged (23rd Post)

From Holly. Thanks for my first tag.

Here's the gig.

1. Delve into your blog archive.

2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).

3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).

4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions. Ponder it for meaning, subtext or hidden agendas...

5. Tag five people to do the same.

Turns out that I have written more than 23 blog posts. I'm shocked! This is from New Feature on Friday, May 13, 2005. The below is actually my fifth sort of sentence and is quite appropriate considering who tagged me:

My current reads:
* Gods Old and Dark, the third in a Holly Lisle trilogy that I have been enjoying.

This entry was the start of a whole new world for my blog, it was the start of a beautiful profusion of new posts, it was a trick to keep me in line and the posts coming at more than one a month.... I glance over at the pile of books read but not blogged as of yet and echo Holly with:


Sadly, my last post was September 18th and it is already October 8th. I have 4 books that I've finished and plan to mention in the blog, notes for comments on three of them and nothing ready to go. I have at least two true stray thoughts written up that I am "planning" to edit before posting but which haven't made it to the to do list for fear of me curling up into a quivering ball of terror. I'm not a great blogger and lately, I haven't even managed to read the ones I like to follow, but thank you all you patient folks who still stop by :).

Oh, and in case you all are curious, the books are:

* Little Big by John Crowley
* Left Horse Black by S.J. Reisner
* Midnight Rain by Holly Lisle
* Ghosts in the Snow by Tamara Siler Jones

In each of them I found something to enjoy and only the Crowley is one I would not seek out more of because it is not to my taste though skillfully written. And no, I'm not counting that as the mention :).

And five people to tag? You mean more than five people read my blog? And who haven't already been tagged? And who blog? Oh okay, here goes :):

* Val
* Maripat
* Ann
* Bonnie
* Erin (who I'll link when I get the link from her :).)

And now to sit back and see if anyone notices. Or rather to scramble over to the pile of things still to do today :).