Autumnquest

That title is a word I just made up, by the way. If you’ve seen it somewhere else (which wouldn’t surprise me), my apologies for stealing.

I’ve been thinking about this all day. Today is a perfect fall day here: cloudy, cool, and a little rainy this morning. It’s cool enough to be comfortable without needing to actually wear a coat or jacket.

For some reason, autumn always makes me want to read some kind of huge epic fantasy. I think maybe it’s because I originally encountered The Hobbit during the school year, which began in (very) early fall when I was a kid. And, since Bilbo travels across Middle-earth during the fall and winter, I guess I associate fall with fantasy.

The problem I’m having with that this year is that I’ve reached a point where I have a rough time reading straight fantasy. I can do urban fantasy, but when I’m in some completely fantastical world I start losing interest. It’s kinda depressing, really, because I used to love these things. Going to other worlds, whether Tolkien’s Middle-earth with Hobbits or Donaldson’s The Land with Thomas Covenant, was my escape from this world. And, since I used to spend my summers being much busier than I do now (shame on me for not being that way now), fall and winter were the times when I caught up on my reading.

So I guess it’s kind of a Pavlov’s dogs sort of thing. Autumn rolls around and I want to stick my nose in a big, thick book that’s got one hell of an epic story going on in it’s pages.

But I guess I’m a hopeful kind of guy, despite what some people say about me (and you know who you are lol), because I went to my friend’s used book store (this is his last week in business) and picked up The Sword of Shannara and its sequel, The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks. I read Sword years ago, as I have mentioned previously, and tried to read Elfstones without much luck. It didn’t have the same flavor as Sword to me for some reason, maybe because it wasn’t shaping up to be the same kind of quest fantasy as Sword was. I have several years of perspective now, though, so I think I’ll give it another chance. After all, Brooks has had quite a bit of success with the entire Shannara series of books, judging from how many he’s written (and their claims of being New York Times Bestsellers), so perhaps I should. Yes, they’re considerably older than my general rule 0f not reading things more than a year old (with certain exceptions, of course), but that’s okay. It’s always easy to learn from a successful author, and Brooks is that.

Or, on the other hand, I have a copy of Eragon, which was likewise successful. I’ve seen the movie (which I understand completely butchered the story), but have yet to try the book. Maybe it will be my fall book this year. I also have its sequel, so that’s good. If I like it, I can keep going.

On the other hand, another book I’ve been intending to read is The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. I like historical novels (I highly recommend Sarum by Edward Rutherford, if you like them as well), and this one is set in medieval times, so it might fit the bill as well.

Decision, decisions.

And on that note, I think I’ll go eat dinner and decide what book to delve into.

Later,

Gil

PS. The Link Below to “100 Fantasy Novels and Collections Everyone Should Read” also links to “100 Science Fiction Novels Everyone Should Read” as well as “100 Days of Fantasy.” I recommend looking at them. The last is author Ty Johnston’s blogging about the 100 books that influenced him as a fantasy writer, and you can find it here.

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