Catching Up On Summer Reading

Ah, summer. The sun is out, the grass is green, flowers are blooming. Students everywhere are loving life right now. Two months off from school to do with whatever they’d like. It’s a little different for me as a first year substitute. I’m so used to having something going on during the summer (college, work, or otherwise) that I don’t know what to do with myself. I go out, run some errands, and take care of things, sure. Visit with a friend or two. But, it only goes so far and I often find myself logging into a game to pass the time.

Honestly, it’s left me a feeling a bit burnt by gaming at the moment. I’m not burnt out on any one game (except, perhaps, WoW… we’ll see) but I’ve felt the need to unplug somewhat.

So, I’ve turned back to reading more often! I’ve been on a bit of a binge lately. What some of you may know is that I often listen to audiobooks while I play MMOs. Usually, I’ll combine reading and listening to the book to experience it faster. The scales are shifting more towards actual reading of late.

Since I returned my Kindle (it was just too much cost vs normal books, right now), I made a trip to the library to see what I could find. I wound up coming away with three books I’ve heard good things about.

Since I know many of you are fans of similar fiction, I thought I’d post up my summer reading so far and my plans until September. Maybe you can recommend something to me. I always love finding a new favorite author. I’m a little unsure about which order to read the three marked [PLANNED], too. Any suggestions?

*[READ] American Gods and Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

  • These two books are tied together in that Anansi Boys is a bit of a spin-off for one of the characters. After reading them, Neil Gaiman is now one of my favorite authors. The prose feels like it should be read aloud. Gaiman weaves folklore so richly into his work (International in American Gods, African in Anansi Boys) that you almost feel like a kid again, hearing fairy tales told for the first time. Absolutely excellent. Oddly enough, I couldn’t finish his book Neverwhere. It just didn’t resonate with me in the same way.

*[READ] The Sandman Books 7 and 8 by Neil Gaiman

  • Honestly, I’m not much of a graphic novel guy, but, again, Gaiman’s rich imagination and grasp of international folklore make this series regarded as one of the best in the medium. I’ve remained compelled.

*[READ] Dragons of Summer Flame by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

*[READING] The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

  • I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I’m in love with it. Rothfuss approaches epic fantasy in a way I’ve never read before, in that, really, there’s not much epic going on for most of the time. In reading this, I had to pause to take in some lines of truly evocative writing. It does, at times, seem to drag and would benefit from some extra focus, but Rothfuss keeps it a fun read throughout. As an author’s first published novel, it’s remarkable.

*[READING] The Sandman Book 9 – by Neil Gaiman

*[PLANNED] The Briar King by Greg Keyes

  • I was actually surprised to walk out with this, but, after reading the first couple of pages, I was hooked. It seems like a traditional medieval fantasy initially; however, it’s being compared to George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, which is one of my favorites (I really hope he doesn’t die before finishing it). After sampling the forward, I’m very tempted to start reading this one next. Surprising!

*[PLANNED] Otherland by Tad Williams

  • Based on Andrew’s recommendation, I read into this one. It’s a cyberpunk novel, huge, and seems like the perfect fit for an MMO gamer. Persistent Virtual worlds? Crime? Suspense? I’m in. The introduction is remarkably fanciful too (think Jack and the Beanstalk).

*[PLANNED] The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

  • I found this on Yahoo Answers trying to find an author similar to Neil Gaiman. I hear it’s good, but the cast of characters listed on the back is what sold me: “an ancient Egyptian sorcerer, a modern millionaire, a body-switching werewolf, a hideously deformed clown, a young woman disguised as a boy, a brainwashed Lord Byron, and [a professor].”

Honestly, books excite me in a way that an MMO couldn’t swat at. It all goes back to when I used to explain my playing MUDs to my non-gamer friends. Your imagination can do more for you than an artist’s rendition anytime.

What do you think, any recommendations for new authors or suggestions on which order to hit the three I have planned?

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