Do you ever get in one of these moods where you can start every book you own, but your attention wanders after the first 20 pages of any book you pick up? I only need to FINISH 3 more books to complete my Goodreads challenge (200 books) for 2014, but these last 3 books feel like they will take forever. I know, too, that as soon as my 200 books are checked off on Goodreads, I’ll be reading just fine for the rest of the year.
Today I am trying to finish a short story collection about vampires, called By Blood We Live, with stories by Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and a bunch of other first-rate authors. I realized this Halloween that I haven’t read any really memorable books on vampires, werewolves or other Halloween creatures, besides Ray Bradbury’s Halloween Tree and the Harry Potter series. And, this short story collection was next in line on the A’s shelf in my library, so it seemed like fate was decreeing that I must read a vampire book this year. So far I like it- some of the stories are dull, but most are excellent.
I also am reading a book about the Kurds and their awful, messed up history, called The Kurdish Spring, by a diplomat who worked on the ‘Kurdistan’ problem for decades, obviously unsuccessfully. A friend of mine in grad school was a Kurdish intellectual in exile, and I’ve soaked up a bit about the Kurds from him, but the whole story is really depressingly awful. I like to imagine that the civilized world doesn’t just write off a whole ethnic group for the sake of oil and diplomatic points, but that is exactly what happened. It doesn’t help that the Kurds were so instrumental in the massacre of Armenians during the Armenian Genocide, or that Kurdish mercenaries have worked to slaughter their own people frequently throughout history. There are certainly no ‘good guys’ in all this mess so far, on any side.
Last, but not least, I am reading The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson, the first book in his current epic fantasy series. It starts in what feels like the middle of the story, and jumps around a lot so far, so it is proving hard to become acquainted with the world or its characters so far. Generally in a 1000+pg book one needs a solid plot thread and a solid main character to lead the story, just to have something to focus on, which Jordan’s Wheel of Time series did very well. I’m not impressed yet with Sanderson’s epic-starting abilities, but I’m ‘only’ on page 105 right now. Maybe it gets better.