More answers!

Wow. Glaciers move faster than this. Anyhow, from Mr. Jones:

Name something that you will never do in your life that others often aspire to do in theirs. And you are comfortable with this.

For instance, I am confident I will die never having visited Egypt or learn to ski, and I’m quite okay with that.

There are lots of things I have zero interest in doing. Firing a gun, for example. No interest in it at all. I’d like to do a small amount of “world traveling”, but not too many of the usual places: Paris, Greece, Tahiti, the Bahamas, et cetera. Ballroom dancing? Yeah…not especially. Maybe, but not really.

I’ll almost certainly never toss a really nice basket in a pick-up game. Nor will I hit a home run. I’ll likely not learn to ice skate, own a motor boat, swim in the Mediterranean, or attend a Super Bowl in person. And…I’m fine with all that. Really. I think. (I’d sure like to swim in the Mediterranean….)

An anonymous reader emailed in this one:

Do you try new authors often? Do you try new genres of books? Is reading only for amusement, or do you read to do something else (educate yourself generally, learn something in particular, …)?

Good questions! No, yes, both. Next!

OK, more seriously. By “new” authors, do we mean “new” to me, or “new” as in, “Here’s the incredible first novel by Joe Sevenpack!” I do both, really, although I tend to do both in my own sweet time. More the former than the latter, though.

I often read authors who are new to me, although they’re not new to most people who read in the genres I tend to read now. A good example is Andre Norton: I’d never read her until just a couple of years ago, and I still have only read a couple of her books (and liked each one). I have authors whom I love, like any reader does, but I’m not really the type to obsessively read everything an author has written, nor (with one exception) do I have any authors whose books are sufficiently important to me that I grab their books as soon as they’re published. (This would be Guy Gavriel Kay, obviously.) I haven’t even read all of Tolkien yet!

Mainly I tend to be all over the map with regard to my reading. I like to switch genres after a book or two, for one thing, although I do tend to read more fantasy in the colder months and more SF in the warmer months. I also like to switch up my lengths, too: if I’ve just finished a doorstop of a novel, my next book is likely to be a smaller one. This tends to mean alternating newer works with older ones, as the newer ones tend to have the heftier page counts.

I also like to read classic literature, which I will often read alongside whatever genre book I’m reading at the time. Part of this is a desire to “better myself”, to challenge myself with something classic or difficult or whatever, but part of this is also a shift in my actual taste, as I’m finding classic works engaging in a way that I never felt when this stuff was required reading. The most recent example of this is A Tale of Two Cities (which I need to blog about one of these days — that book astonished me, well and truly).

In terms of genre, I do tend to stick to SF, fantasy, and (less frequently) horror these days. Occasionally I’ll hear about some book in another genre that sounds interesting, but I don’t really venture outside the bounds of my preferred areas too often these days. Mainly this is because I find that the genres I prefer are so rich within their boundaries that I don’t really need to step outside them for variety’s sake. With fantasy, I can read a big fat book about quests and such, or I can read a book about the magic in a modern urban setting, or I can read stories that mash those things together. I can read mysteries and war stories and love stories without ever leaving fantasy. Ditto SF — and in some cases, such as Peter F. Hamilton’s enormous duology consisting of Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained, in which, over the course of about 2000 pages, you get mysteries, espionage thrillers, wars involving massive starfleets, wars involving planetside guerilla tactics, love stories, and ideas about what a star-spanning human culture might look like.

I do find that I’m not reading as much nonfiction as I used to. I should probably change this up a bit, as non-fiction tends to be where a lot of cool story ideas come from. My problem with non-fic is finding some that is vibrantly and interestingly written. Dry writing puts me off faster than anything.

More to come. There is light at the end of the Ask Me Anything! tunnel!

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One Response to More answers!

  1. Lynn says:

    It seems natural to me that a fan of science fiction and fantasy would also be interested in classic literature. They all take you away to a different world. In classic literature it's a world that really existed but the only way we can visit it is through books so it's not that different from fantasy.

    Non fiction – I highly, highly, recommend books by Bill Bryson. (if you haven't discovered him already. I've read, A Walk in the Woods, English: The Mother Tongue and How It Got That Way and In a Sunburned Country. I need to read more of his books.

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