Thursday, March 18, 2010
I have a lot of books. Seriously. Since I've started reviewing I've accumulated hundreds of books that are sent to me by various publishers to review. Sounds great doesn't it? Okay. It is. But for all my good fortune I also feel the tug of guilt on a daily basis that I haven't even come close to getting to all the books I said I'd try to review. I'm lucky in that I'm sent a lot of stuff that I'm not obligated to review-- and those don't leave me with that feeling in my gut that tells me I haven't lived up to my word. I have lots of excuses: the newest of which is that I have a monthly obligation to read new arrivals for the Sacramento/San Francisco Book Reviews; which is a legit reason. But oh the agony of those guilty feelings. On top of that-- and something tells me you'll all be able to relate to this-- I have those books on my shelf that everyone tells me I should read. You know, the critically acclaimed ones. Not necessarily the classics, but books that everyone raves about but you can't quite get into. So, just for the heck of it, I'm going to list the books that stare at me from the bookshelves. The ones that I keep telling myself: next week. I'll read that one next week for sure. In no particular order. The Last Realm: Dragonscarpe by Pat Mcnamara, Gary Turner, Michal Dutkiewicz I got this book quite a while ago and it's HUGE. Coffee-table sized. I know this could not have been cheap to produce and then give away. But my goodness, this is a tough one to sit and read (I don't have a coffee table and it's a bugger to put in your lap) and it's not exactly portable. I even forget I have it because it doesn't sit on my regular bookshelf. It's one that sneaks up on me. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson I picked this one up on a whim. I've seen mention of Stephenson's work all over the net and it seems as if he's the guy you read if you're the cerebral type. His books aren't just book, they're tomes. (Doorstops like a Stephen King book, only much more complex). I actually thought this seemed really interesting, but not something I had the time to devote myself to. Though I do occasionally wonder if I'm just being intellectually lazy. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville China Mieville is one of those authors that I hear a lot about. He seems to be regarded very highly-- almost reverently. I tried to read "Perdido Street Station" and...well.. it seemed weird to me. I don't know if it's a style thing or if I'm just not very sophisticated. Couldn't get into this at all. A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin This is one of the very few books that I reminded the publisher when it didn't arrive. (I didn't solicit the book, but had been told it was coming). I read about half, was scheduled to review it when it got bumped from the print edition and it has lingered in online-only hell for a while. This one is tough to put down and then go back to. Good book but has a lot going on and my memory isn't what it used to be. The Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie I don't get a lot of books from Pyr Books, so I hate to appear ungrateful and not review their books. And I really wanted to read this when I got it. But Joe Ambercrombie has a very strong style when it comes to his writing and it's definitely a 'mood' thing with me. His characters are direct and profane and that was somewhat refreshing at first. But by the third book I was craving some subtlety and ended up letting this one linger. I hear it's really good though. Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson This isn't a book I have to read. But I've read so many rave reviews about this series that I feel like I have to or I'm going to be kicked out of the fantasy literature in-crowd. And I have a confession to make. I've tried to read it three times. Each time I get a little farther but it I never quite make it to the end. Why? Why can't I like this like everyone else? Is there something wrong with me? Truancy Origins by Isamu Fukui This one doesn't quite give me the guilt trips the other ones do because I did a giveaway featuring this title--so it got some love. I'm not a big YA reader. I like Harry Potter, but not much else in that category really holds my attention. I was scheduled to review this one but it ended up getting bumped from the print addition due to space constrains and it went to the online-only pile and has stayed in scheduling hell ever since. The Mirrored Heavens by David J. Williams This is a really cool book. This is one of the few that the author personally contacted me about and I've just been lazy about finishing it. Sci-fi isn't as compelling to me as fantasy, so I'm easily sidetracked when I get a sci-fi title. No excuse though... Witch Ember by John Lawson This is the only self-published book in my pile o' shame and I've had it for awhile. I tried to read it and was confounded by the glossary-- it's a big one. But there's real quality in John's work and I owe it to him to go back to this and finish it. John's also a really, really good guy who doesn't give me a hard time about how long I've been sitting on his books. Acacia by David Anthony Durham This one gets to me a lot. Maybe more than any other book on my list. I read at least a third of the way through "Acacia" before I was forced to put it down because I had another book on my schedule that had to be reviewed and I liked it-- a lot. But it's a very detailed book. Very deep in its themes and when I tried to pick it back up I wasn't able to followed the storyline that well; so I put it down in favor of another book that I could quickly read and review and never got back to it. I'm not sure why I feel guilty about not reading it and then don't pick it up. I think it's because I feel like I have to give it my undivided attention but just don't have the time. I'm weird. The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt I got this one at least a year ago. It's a beautiful book and I read the first few chapters. When I got it I really wasn't familiar with steampunk as a genre and was kind of confused at the overall style. It wasn't until I eased into steampunk with "Clockwork Heart" by Dru Paglissotti, "Darkborn" by Alison Sinclair and later "Boneshaker" by Cherie Priest that I began to understand the technology and Victorian settings that are so common to the genre. Since then I've been itching to get back to this book, but keep getting sidetracked. Boilerplate by Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett This book is soooo cool. I am constantly telling myself that I am going to get to this one soon. Then I forget. It's over-sized so it's on my bottom shelf and I don't give that shelf enough attention. Plus I've only recently gotten most of my books off of the floor (my husband bought me two more bookshelves last weekend) so I don't have many excuses left since I can see it now. As I write this, I realize this could end up being a really long list. I've been looking at the bookshelves I have downstairs and these are the ones that pop out at me right away. But then I remember I have two shelves upstairs that I can't look at right now or I'll wake up my husband. I'm almost afraid to guess at how many will I'll spot up there when I look tomorrow. So, to give myself a distraction, I'll ask you what sits on your pile o' shame.