The link circulating amongst many authors on Twitter these days is a blog post by Neil Gaiman in which he addresses a fan’s concerns over authors producing works on their fans’ schedules. In fact, John Scalzi addressed the very same concern in his blog a few months ago.
I’m not an author. I don’t pretend to be (unless you count those behemoths that I have to write in academia — which most people don’t). But I am a literary fan. Books have been my salvation, my joy, my escape, and my home since I was a young girl (I was that kid who sat at the breakfast table, and if I didn’t have a book in front of me, I read the cereal box over and over and over until I could practically recite it.).
The point is, I see books as a gift. Do I get excited to read an ongoing series if it’s done well? Hell yes. Do I expect it? No. It’s not really about me, is it? It’s about the validity of the books, their characters and stories, and if an author has it in himself or herself to continue with that particular theme. Do I wish that some books did have sequels? Sometimes. But I also think there is a deliciousness in not knowing, in allowing my own imagination to lead the character somewhere. I read books for a good story (and no, I’m not counting those books that I read for my degree), interesting (not necessarily likeable) characters, and the ability to let my imagination roam.
It’s a symbiotic relationship for me. The authors do all of the hard work, I get to enjoy it and take the story from there.
Willow, my amazing niece, likes books. Lately, she has taken to reading Edgar Allen Poe – did we mess her up somehow? I think she’s turning out to be odd just like her father and I are. Heh.
Anyway, I like to send her books. She likes it if I read them before I send them, so I usually do. The two most recent books I sent her (well, I sent her three — including Blueberry Girl (a delightful book) — but I’m only looking at two here) were John Scalzi’s Zoe’s Tale and Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.
I’ll admit, I haven’t read other books in the Old Man’s War series, but have been reading Scalzi’s blog for quite some time. One of the reasons I picked up this book was because Scalzi said it could be read as a stand-alone, and because it has a teenaged girl as the protagonist. Since it is up for a Hugo (and I need to read those anyway), and it is geared toward young adults (remember, Willow is a precocious 10), I thought it might be a good read for her.
I liked it. It wasn’t a difficult read, but it was interesting and engaging. From what I understand, it tells the tale of The Last Colony from a different perspective, but you don’t get the sense that it is connected elsewhere while reading the book. Some of the dialogue seemed a bit simple given that these characters in their late teens, but overall it wasn’t distracting. The only point that did distract me is that Zoe’s boyfriend, Enzo, who is a rockstar poet from his planet, can write sestinas in an hour. I kept thinking, well, he’s a teenager, they probably aren’t that good — but he was invited on this adventure because of his poetry. A sestina in an hour? C’mon.
I do think Willow will like it, and it will be her first foray into more scifi type of writing.
The Graveyard Book
After having read Coraline (which I had gotten her for her birthday), seeing the movie, and then telling me how good Neil Gaiman is (smart girl), I thought she’d enjoy The Graveyard Book.
I kind of cheated on this one. Well, not really, but kind of. I read it — but I read it along with Gaiman. It was fun to hear the voices in his voice, but to read it with him. I stopped when each video stopped, making the book last the entire video series (which, honestly, was not easy at all). As in so many of his books, the graphics are absolutely delightful, gorgeous, and enhance the tale.
I fell in love with Bod. How can you not? He’s a sweet boy. He does his absolute best in trying to be a good boy — but still a boy nevertheless. He has to get into trouble.
The language is delightful. I could picture every scene in the book in full rich detail in my head.
It left me wanting more of Bod.
But even if I don’t get more, he will live on in the discussions Willow and I have about the book after she reads it. And, after all, that is the delight of reading.