Sunday, November 4, 2012

Book Withdrawal

I may have a teensy weensy, itty bitty case of book withdrawal.

Sadly (happily?), I finished up A Discovery of Witches on Friday evening. After spending most of the week cruising through the book at about 100 pages a night, it was a bit of a let down.

Maybe it was a little more than a let down. I've had a difficult time fully extracting myself from the book's world of witches, vampires, daemons, and mysterious misplaced magical manuscripts ever since I closed the book cover for a final time. I'm a little embarrassed to admit just how much I loved a book in which vampires played such a critical role. (Yes, vampires. *blush*)

Back in the day (aka: high school), I read many a fantasy novel.  I loved Jane Yolen, Terry Goodkind, Tamora Pierce, and so many others. But then I went to college and there just aren't that many good fantasy books in the English major's canon, you know. It's been a long time sine I delved into a book that was so overtly fantastical and I was glad to find it so easy to get whisked off into another magical world, especially in a book that I picked up on a whim.

Author Deborah Harkness, who's a history professor, does a wonderful job of weaving scientific and historical facts into the tale to move the plot forward. She also has a knack for choosing wonderfully interesting settings (at least for this Anglophile.)

But don't get me wrong. The book's far from perfect. It starts off mighty slowly. The main character, Diana, is a historian of science and reluctant witch, researching in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Now I know that research can have it's interesting bits, at least if you yourself are the researcher. But reading about a fictional character doing research is not exactly fast-paced excitement. A fair amount of the first 70 or so pages read something like this: "I got up and went to the library. I got some books. I read the books. Then I went home." Wash, rinse, repeat. *yawn*

But then Diana discovers a magic manuscript. And then she bumps into vampire. Then the entire magical community starts to gang up on Diana.Oh, and there's a love story involving star-crossed lovers unfolding too . . . .

Harkness may have left a few too many details in her final manuscript (Really, if you must describe clothing in your writing, at least be vague enough so that the reader can draw their own conclusions about what the character's wearing.  I mean - what the heck is a blue sweater with a funnel shaped neckline?! I don't even know.) but I did find myself genuinely caring about the characters. In fact, I may have gotten a little too attached to them. I spent most yesterday suffering from  "where's the sequel already" ennui.

That's right: ennui.

Now simply no other book will do. I must find out what happens to Matthew and Diana.

That nonfiction book I'm halfway through about eating habits of immigrants living in a tenement building on New York City's Lower East Side? Sure it's interesting to read about the Jewish practice of raising and slaughtering geese for a little while. But my goodness, that sort of reading is awfully real. Where are the vampires, I ask you? Where are castles and fortresses and bad guys?

So this morning, I did what any slightly possessed bookworm does when in the throws of such book-induced angst. I went to Amazon and ordered the next book in the series.

Am I setting myself up for disappointment? Oh yeah. (The online reviews of this second book aren't great.) Still, I have a feeling once the book's in my hands, I'll be able to shut up my inner critic and enjoy this book as much as I loved the first one.
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Please Super Saver shipping be kind to me. Don't be too putzy, mm-kay? 

What have you been reading lately?
 

2 comments:

  1. I have never heard of these books! I've been reading "The next best thing" which is really average, but I'm almost done, and next up is "gone girl" which I'm really hoping lives up to its hype because I've been waiting like 6 months for the library to send it to me...

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  2. I enjoy your books reviews and trust your judgement! I might have to try this one. Haven't read a good novel in a long time. Keep trying and keep not finishing.

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