A (Dark) Towering Achievement

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I finally did it. I finally finished Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.*

This is a feat I’ve been trying to accomplish for many years now. That makes it sound like this was an onerous task, but nothing could be further from the truth! I loved it. But it did take me an excessively long time.

I can’t remember when I started reading the first book, The Gunslinger, but it must have been in the late 90s, as I think Wizard and Glass was already out in trade paperback.** My brother, Dylan, urged me to read these great books he’d been reading. I have to admit, I scoffed at first. I think I’d bought into the anti-hype that King was a bit of a hack. I’d read The Stand, but I assumed that was an outlier, a one-off. The rest of his stuff couldn’t possibly be any good. It was all about monsters and horror and clowns and stuff, right? Continue reading

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I’m in Another Book!

You and Who Contact Has Been Made Vol 2

That’s right! When it rains, it pours, apparently, and it’s pouring Doctor Who goodness at the moment. The excitement of seeing my name (and words I wrote!) in print in Companion Piece hasn’t even worn off yet, and here’s another opportunity to experience that thrill.

You and Who: Contact Has Been Made – Volume 2 has just been released. It’s the second volume in a series that looks at Doctor Who story-by-story. I can almost hear you saying “another book about Doctor Who?” Well first of all, I’m not sure there is such a thing as too many books about Doctor Who. There are as many interesting things to be said about the show as there are people to say them. And that is precisely why I’m so thrilled to be a part of this particular book. Continue reading

I’m in a BOOK!

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You guys! I’m in a BOOK! And yes the capital letters there make it look like I’m yelling. THAT’S BECAUSE I AM!

I AM IN A REAL-LIFE MADE-FROM-PAPER WITH-WORDS-ON-THE-PAGES BOOK!

Ahem. Sorry. I’ll try to control myself. But did you hear? I’m in a BOOK!

Ok, it’s seriously (mostly) out of my system now. You have to understand, I have been a voracious reader for most of my life. When I was a kid, we’d go to the library as a family, and each of us would take out a huge stack of books. It was a point of pride that I read every Doctor Who Target novelization from the Muskego Public Library—as well as everything in the young adult section. And then I moved on to the grown-up science fiction section before I was even in High School. I am a Reader.* It’s part of my basic makeup. In a way, I see books as magical, sacred objects. So much of my upbringing centered around them, it’s hard to imagine my life without books.

Anyway, that might give you an idea why the thought of being in one is so mind-boggling to me. It’s kind of like when Continue reading

My Reading Renaissance (& Whom to Blame)

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When I was a kid, I was a reader. No, a Reader. Capital R. I read voraciously. I started before kindergarten, reading these weird Dick and Jane ripoffs that had a little girl, a little boy, and a dog. I’m pretty sure the girl’s name was Wendy, but I can’t remember the boy or the dog.* Okay, they might not have been “ripoffs”. For all I know, they came first. I do remember other kids in kindergarten not knowing what I was talking about when I mentioned them. I was barely 5, and I was already “weird” for reading books the other kids hadn’t heard of. This trend was to continue for most of my life.

Anyway, from there, I graduated to Nancy Drew, The Dana Girls, and Encyclopedia Brown. I wanted to be a private detective and lapped up just about everything they had in the school library (except for the Hardy Boys, because boys were boring). Then I discovered sci-fi and fantasy, and it was goodbye to every moment of spare time. I was a Reader. Escaping into books was the Best Thing.

We’d go to the library as a family every month, and my mom would come home with Continue reading

The Death of a Good Book (Series)

Robin Hobb Books

Right now I’m between books.* In fact, I’m purposefully taking a break before I start reading something else. I recently finished reading Robin Hobb‘s entire Assassin/Liveship/Tawny Man/Rain Wild series. There’s probably a more proper name for the whole thing, but it boils down to this: three trilogies followed by a tetralogy, all taking place in the same world with some characters overlapping from series to series.

I’d read the three trilogies before, and once the final book in the recent tetralogy came out last year, I decided it was time to jump back in. These are some of my favorite fantasy books ever, so I had no qualms about re-reading them all, and despite a busy schedule, I managed to whip through all nine in a matter of a few months.

When I finished that ninth book, I started drafting a blog post that somewhere along the line got lost. I dug it up today, and it brought back the same feelings I had when I wrote it: Continue reading

My Modern Book Dilemma

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(No, those are neither my books nor my e-readers. Much as I might wish for either/both.)

This is a post for my fellow book-nerds. Whether it’s classics or comics or (like me) sci-fi and fantasy, if you have a love of books, you might sympathize with what I’m going through. First, a little context: I’m about to make the largest (physical) move of my life. I’m uprooting myself from Madison, WI, where I’ve lived for 19 years,* and plunging into the frozen reaches of Canada.**

In preparation for this momentous move, I’ve been divesting myself of most of my possessions. If you’re a Verity! listener, you probably already know of my aversion to “stuff.” It’s true, I’ve found much of this process fairly easy. Am I going to need all these kitchen items? Will I ever wear all these clothes again? Do I really need that many glitter lamps?*** The words “ditch it!” have become my catchphrase. Continue reading

My 10 “Books” (Sans Pressure/Guilting)

My 10 Books

You may have seen the “My 10 Books” thing going around Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/etc., and while I appreciate that social media is tackling something more substantial than cats* for a change, I really REALLY hate anything that requires one to tag other people. I get a squicky feeling of pressure when someone tags me in such a post**. I never want to inflict that on anyone else, so I’m not tagging a goddamn soul here.

If, however, this list should spur you on to make your own list, by all means, have at it and let me know!

So on to my list. As it’s MY list, I’ve done away with the requirement for it to be 10 books. It’s rather rare that I read a standalone book instead of a larger series. I view the stories I love most in terms of the entire story, not one piece of it. When I re-read something, I’m choosing to revisit that world, not one corner of it. So you’ll see lots of entire series here, and for that I make no apology. Continue reading