What makes one book work and one book not work, especially when they are similar? What makes a book a living thing? I think there is a kind of magic in the best books, but there's more than that.
So I'm going to keep reading this DNF - I'll F it for the same reason people in the middle ages dug up graveyards and cut apart dead bodies--out of a keen desire to know what the heck went wrong!
It will also show me what went right with the books of this author that I have loved and embraced. I think sometimes good writers get under pressure to produce too fast, and my favorite writers take risks sometimes too - ones that don't work out - but that spirit of risking is what make them good, and I always look.
It's a kind of nosiness, I suppose. And hell, maybe I'll come to like the latter part of this book better, and I'll get the writerly learning experience along with some readerly pleasure. Maybe the book will spring up and run around and be okay. It will still show me something. Do other authors do that? Read for what went wrong? I guess I assume so. Maybe not!
|Awesome Armstrong in a|
Another thing I enjoy, which is kind of along the same writerly nosiness lines, is that I look at the less popular series of authors I love, because sometimes those books show me how they pull things off in a more plain and straightforward way than than their popular series do.
For example, Kelley Armstrong's wonderful hitwoman series - the Nadia Stafford Series (an awesome series that I'm dying for her to continue beyond two books) - gave me a lot of insights into how she differentiates characters with language. It's almost like you can see the scaffolding of her character magic; part of this, I think, is because the hitwoman books are quite simple and minimalistic, and about humans, too.
Same thing with Charlaine Harris' less popular series, the Grave Series (reputed to be the author's favorite of her series, and it's certainly my favorite of all her series).
|The other Bon Temps|
Anyway, an author's body of work shows me things about individual work. What I mean is that the Grave Series shows me things about the Sookie Series that would not be revealed in the Sookie Series alone. This small town bit, for instance. Oh, wow, have people fallen asleep yet? Is anybody reading this sentence? Do you ever feel like that on blog posts? ahem, back on topic!
|Hello ape man?|
This week I finished Dreams of a Dark Warrior by one of my top favorite authors, Kresley Cole, and I then did something I've been meaning to do forever: I ordered Kresley Cole's McCarrick brothers series.
After that, I'll read her Pirate series. You can't imagine how excited I am to read them. I've noticed that in early books, authors can sometimes be viewed trying out themes and exploring techniques that they later perfect and smooth out.
I'm sure I'll enjoy both these series - it's unimaginable to me I wouldn't enjoy something Cole writes, but will reading her early stuff be like the missing link? The ape-man version of what is today her very highly-evolved writerly wonderfulness? Let's hope! I am nosy that way!
Stiltwalker image: Masquerade on the pumpkin festival (Festa della Zucca) in Verzone, province of Udine, region Fruili-Venezia Giulia, Italy by Johann Jaritz