August 30th, 2007


Reading Any Current Literary Novels?

markdf pointed out an article on

I hear talk about classics. Works by Dickens, Clemens, Bronte, Melville. And I hear talk about works that are "current" -- i.e., works written since the turn of the century. There are enough LJ posts in the book challenges I can pick and choose something that isn't genre fiction, branching out from our little "ghetto" here.

I'm curious, though, as to what current "literary" novels people read more than once?

World Fantasy Reading

Speaking of reading novels ... I am, sadly, a slow reader these days. I certainly can't keep up with the current year's crop of books, let alone the books published last year or the year before. I'm trying to catch up; I've resolved to stop buying books until I put a dent into my backlog. Of course, I make that resolution lots of times. Books are my obsession.

I just finished a "current" novel, finishing The Ruins by Scott Smith, which grabbed my attention and wouldn't let go.* But it's time I sat down and read the nominees for this year's World Fantasy Award since I'm going to the convention for the first time and because I like several of the novelists being considered. Since I haven't had a "what should I read" poll in a while, I thought I'd offer one again.

Pick the World Fantasy novel nominee you think I should read first. The one with the most votes wins. Second place gets read next and so on.

I tried to figure out this on my own while I was still reading the Smith book, writing down numbers 1 through 5 on slips of paper and drawing them from a hat to see what order luck would present, but I've since lost that listing. I know it started with King, but this is more fun. :-)

I've got 63 days to read six** books. Pick your winner.

Poll #1047500 Reading List

World Fantasy Novels

Lisey's Story by Stephen King
The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden
Soldier of Sidon by Gene Wolfe

* -- I wouldn't necessarily recommend The Ruins to anyone without giving fair warning. It wasn't bad; it just left me exhausted. There aren't any chapter breaks; you're immersed in each character viewpoint, told how they feel, what they experience. Readable prose, which makes it engaging. I was caught about 10-20 pages into the book, and by about 90 pages into the book the story took off. So, only approach it if you're wanting to lose focus on anything else for a few days. I'm definitely leery of re-reading it any time in the future, because it was such a pit bull.

** -- I say six because I haven't read the other Soldier books yet. Surprise, surprise! I picked up Latro in the Mist so I could tackle Soldier of Sidon with that behind me. So I'm looking at about 10 days to read each one.

Added Saturday, 9/1:

Looks like the votes fall in favor of the following order: Kushner, Lynch, Valente, King, and Wolfe.

For some reason, Catherynne's name didn't make it to the poll choices for The Orphan's Tales. I'm sure I added it when I set it up. My apologies for what seems to me a slight--it was unintended. The Orphan's Tales is a beautiful book and I'm looking forward to reading it.