books are the best thing ever.
I still remember childhood trips to the local bookstore. It was a great little place that has since moved up to Hunt Valley and isn’t so little anymore. They were both local and independent, so it’s pretty amazing that they survived the influx of Barnes&Noble and the advent of Amazon. I think they probably did so by expanding their selection to more than just books. It’s more of a… boutique now. They carry Vera Bradley, and all sorts of crystal and other sundry random cute decorative dust catchers (my favorite!). They’re also in a big revitalized shopping center now.
But I’m not writing about business models that I really know nothing about. I’m writing about books. So. Anyway.
I remember when I started to venture out of the kids section. I couldn’t tell you what my exact age, but I will admit that I read pretty far beyond my year level pretty early. I was a voracious reader, even as a kid, and I was always looking for something new and interesting.
I remember when I first ventured into the sci-fi/fantasy aisle (at that time, it was just one side of a row of bookshelves, maybe four units wide, with five or six shelves on each unit). It was both exciting and daunting. I’d start picking books up willy-nilly, only to be disappointed to discover that they were part thirteen of a twenty five book ark (that might be a slight exaggeration. Maybe). And it sounded so interesting! But I have an probably always will hate to start a series anywhere but the beginning. It’s a thing. I admit it. I like reading things in order.
It took a few trips, but finally I was able to find a book that wasn’t a part of a series and also sounded right up my alley. That book was The Black Swan, by Mercedes Lackey. It was great, I loved it. After that I managed to suss out where her Valdemar series started, and find the first book in that first trilogy. And I fell head over heels in love.
I’ve been reading sci fi and fantasy ever since. It’s what I write as well.
I love immersing myself in a new series, learning about a new world, new characters, new magic. As I understand it, many people are intimidated by fantasy because there often is so much that one has to absorb and pick up as one goes along. It seems like people don’t want to learn about a world as they go, they want to already know about it before starting. But I don’t see the fun in that. I love being thrown into a world without any prior knowledge of it. I love coming across words and having NO CLUE what they mean as of yet.
If a book is well enough written, I’ll be able to gather almost immediately a sense of what the word means, and can go on that until further explicated by the author. I don’t really like when things are spelled out for me–I’d much rather be left to figure them out on my own.
I’ve definitely encountered an awful lot of that with the last couple of books that I’ve read. I’m loving the slow reveal of plot and character and the world in The Court of the Air, which I’m reading right now. It’s actually what made me start thinking of all this–there’s so much going on, and so much to learn about in this steampunk sort of world that the author has created, and I’m just lapping it up.
For a while, I had a bit of a hard time with this immersion; I couldn’t manage the level of concentration needed to really get into this sort of book–that’s why it took me so long to finish The Lies of Locke Lamora (have I mentioned you really need to read that?). And I knew it was happening as it happened, and it made me sad. I’m glad that I’ve really started to work through it and get back to my beloved, intricately detailed books.
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Tags: books, bookstore, details, greetings & readings, immersion, locke lamora, reading, sci-fi and fantasy, the court of the air, the lies of locke lamora, world-building is my favorite thing