July 4th, 2006


Lost in a Book

I just finished Lois McMaster Bujold's The Curse of Chalion, a novel which devoured me whole today. I started it late on Sunday evening and it wouldn't let me go. I managed to escape it for a good chunk of Monday, but today it insisted on having its way with me.

Lut is beside me and bemused; he chews through novels like this one in two or three hours. I used to do that, when I was a teen. I don't know why I read so slowly now; 500 pages and it probably took me 10 hours to read.

Lut says, "You should be grateful for that, you know." Perhaps I should. It's something to treasure a novel, to let it fill you up.

This was a very good book. I am struck by the contrast between the length of time it took me to finish this one versus the one I read previously. I spnt better part of three weeks to making my way through Tom Holt's Paint Your Dragon, and The Curse of Chalion -- which was nearly twice as long -- didn't last three days. It's not that the individual pages of Tom Holt's book read more slowly; it's that I couldn't be bothered to read it except when I was walking to and from work. Sometimes, not even then. I almost never sit down to read a book at home. Even at work, I'll typically read LJ in preference to a novel. At home, I'll play games or write instead of reading. I can read during my commute, and I can't do any of those things then. So I save reading for walking.

But today, there just wasn't anything I wasnted to do more than read this book. I managed to guilt myself into exercising, and Lut convinced me to watch a movie. But after some abortive attempts to write or play Puzzle Pirates, I gave up and read.

I was hoping that I could motivate myself to write some fiction of my own after I finished hers, but I don't seem to be in the mood for it.

One thing I dearly love about Bujold's works is that, while she's prone to writing sequels, she doesn't write what amount to multi-part novels. Every book ties up at the end. There may be some dangling threads here or there, hooks for the next story, but the gestalt of the single book is satisfying.

Which is good, because it means I am not craving to start the next Bujold book. I've got Paladin of Souls, which uses the Chalion setting again, next to me now, but I'm not going to start it yet. On the other hand there will be that walk to work tomorrow morning ....

Lut thinks I'll like it. For the sake of making some other use of my evenings, I hope I don't like it quite so much.

In the meantime: happy birthday, America.