Friday, December 29, 2006

What I'm Reading

In a post earlier this month (hard to believe that was only a couple weeks ago) I wrote about an (unammed) book that kept throwing me, and blamed the reason on the fact it was written in present tense. Well, reality loves to make a liar out of me, and I just finished an absolutely amazing book, that just happened to be written in present tense.

Vacation doesn’t agree with my husband. While I am accustomed to hours on end locked up in a little room working on a single task, such activity makes him stir crazy. So, he has been dragging me out as often as he can, and one of the few places close by that we both agree to waste away hours is the bookstore. On yesterdays trip, I was wandering through the stacks and Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls by Jane Lindskold grabbed my attention. Might have been the name, or the striking cover, but something possessed me to pick it up and read the back. My first thought was that it would either be a really good book, or horrid, but the premise didn’t sound like something the author could just squeeze by with—she had to nail it. I picked up two other choices, just in case, and settled down in the cafĂ©.

After the first chapter, I was hooked.

The worries I had upon reading the back flap proved to be nothing more than what usually plagues back flap-blurbs—too much and not enough information rolled into one with a bit of oversimplification. Written from the perspective of an autistic woman who can only communicate in quotes, (think Shakespeare, Chaucer, the Bible, ext..) Ms. Lindskold has created a masterpiece. Set in a world only slightly more advanced than ours, the reader spends a chapter or two wondering just how insane the main character is because her toy dragon speaks to her, and if the back flap hadn’t told us walls talk to her (which starts much later in the book) I think this would have been an even stronger effect. Of course, if the back cover didn’t say anything about that, buyers might not realize it was a fantasy novel. (They say hindsight is 20/20, but really it isn’t, I don’t know if the elements that almost scared me off from opening the book were removed from the description if I would have still picked it up--then it might not have sounded interesting enough. *shrugs*)

When a voice announced over the loudspeaker that the store was closing, I knew I couldn’t stop reading and had to take the book home with me (thank you gift cards.) Starting back up in my living room was actually the first time I really noticed the book was in present tense, so I guess when done well, present tense doesn’t throw me after all.

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