Second Questions Answered

Actually, this is sort of a Theme Answer, since we have three questions about my reading habits from three different questioners.

The first question is!

Are there authors whose books you don’t read because they (the books that is) interfere with your own creative process?  And if so, why?

After a certain point in the process, which varies with each novel, and doesn’t much seem to apply to shorter works, I do stop reading science fiction.  This still leaves a wide field — romance, mystery, biography, fantasy, history.  Occasionally, I need to stop reading fiction, so its biographies and autobiographies, and histories for me.  I tend to hold off reading my non-fiction books, so I’ll have a bulwark against need, in case the Next Novel to be written is a Jealous Novel.

Mostly, this isn’t so much that a certain class of book interferes with the creative process, as much as it is that I’m a mimic.  I will at the least — all right, let’s be honest, no — provocation start writing in the style of the book I’m reading.  The Liaden books have their own voice; and it’s best, really, not to muddy the literary waters with someone else’s.

Second question!

How do you pick the books that you read? You have been reading enough years that even picking a book to reread leaves a lot of scope. But how do you choose a _new_ book to read? Do you choose books that somebody else has read and recommended to you?

Well, the same way anyone chooses a book, I’m thinking.  I hear about a title; it sounds interesting, I check it out on Amazon, because usually I’m at a computer and that’s easy, and also, if I wait until I’m at a bookstore, I’ll have forgotten the title.  I’ll read the sample.  Pretty often at that point I throw the book back because:  the voice displeases, or the set-up annoys, or I want everyone I’ve met thus far to die on the second page…the usual things.  Sometimes — rarely — I’ll buy the book immediately on the strength of the sample.  Most usually, I’ll tuck the book in my wish list, and go about my business.  If I find that I’m wondering What Happens Next a few hours or days later, I’ll go back and read the three-star reviews, and either buy the book or let it languish in the wish list.  It might catch me at some later point, but usually — not.

Or, yanno, I’ll be in a bookstore, see a book, read the first page, it clicks — and I buy it on the spot.  I bought Ancillary Justice right off the table while we were on a book tour, because one of the characters had been be a spaceship.  I have An Interest in people who used to be — or still are — spaceships.

Now, how to choose a book to read right now. . .Mood, surely; whether or not the book I’m working on won’t let me read a particular genre, or has ruled out fiction entirely; the book I just finished reading.  For instance, I just finished reading Spinning Silver, which is, among other things, a fantasy set in a kind-of Russia.  It happens that I have on my TBR shelf The Girl in the Tower, another Russian fantasy, which I hope to enjoy as much as I did the previous book in the series, but — I wasn’t in the mood for back-to-back Russian fantasies. I did eye Alice Diamond and the Forty Elephants, but, as I mentioned above, I tend to horde my non-fiction against a Jealous WIP.  I considered Fire Logic, but reports indicate that it’s a pretty serious undertaking, and I’ve been feeling…a little down, which led me to the thought that I wanted something — light.  I considered re-reading The Warlock in Spite of Himself, realized I wanted something new-to-me, and — ta-da!  How Much for Just the Planet it my next book.

I can’t imagine this is much different than how anyone else chooses a book.  I mean, how do y’all pick what to read?

Third question!

You have read “The Black Wolves of Boston” and “8 Million Gods” by Wen Spencer, why not the “Elfhome” series?

Well, there’s a question packed with assumption.

I re-read both The Black Wolves of Boston and Eight Million Gods in 2018.  I remember that I wanted to re-read . . .Gods because I had just partially re-read another book in which the narrator wrote themselves into the story as it was unfolding, and I wanted to compare how Wen and Flann O’Brien handled that situation.  I re-read Black Wolves. . .  looks at Books Read in 2018 list and does calculations — ah, I remember.  I hadn’t been feeling well, and I wanted something well-written, and comforting, to keep me company.

As to why I “haven’t read” the Elfhome books. . .This is where looking at a single year’s list of Books Read kept by someone who has been reading for sixty-odd years, and assuming that’s the whole total of her reading experience — will get you in trouble.

I read Tinker when it was published, back in — what? — 2003?  And I read Wolf Who Rules when it was published, three or four years later.  I haven’t read any of the Elfhome books because, while I enjoyed my time in not-exactly-Pittsburgh, I don’t feel a need to spend any more time there.  This is nothing against the books, or Wen, or. . .anything, really — just my own reading preferences.

Here ends the answers to the second questions.

2 thoughts on “Second Questions Answered”

  1. How Much for Just the Planet should leave you rolling in the aisles with laughter. I found it one of the funniest books I had read when it came out about 30-odd years ago. I enjoyed most of the original ST books, but some took themselves a bit too seriously. So a spoof of the genre was right up my alley. Enjoy.

  2. I use your reading list as my ‘recommend to try’ list. If I am feeling fussy and don’t want to revisit an old friend, I will scan your list (or the blog-list of one of my other go-to authors) and pick something with a title that piques my interest. Online samples usually tell me if I am going to dislike the voice or the characters. Wen Spencer, Nalini Singh, Lisa Shearin and Sherry Thomas all have you to thank. And ‘thank you’ for 4.5 shelf-feet of good reading over and above Liad.

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