Thursday, July 28, 2005

Readers in the Sky

Weekend Assignment #70: Suggest a book for a long trip. You know, something to keep me from banging my head against the plane wall as I'm bored out of my skull at 36,000 feet above the chilly North Atlantic. I'm open to fiction and non-fiction, and I like to read from all genres. I don't mind something challenging, but this should be a book for enjoyment; I'm not planning to study for a test or anything. Please don't recommend a book that's sold over, say, 5 million copies, because that's waaaay too easy. So no Harry Potters or DaVinci Codes or the Five People You Meet in Heaven or most primary religious texts or stuff like that. You know what I'm talking about, here.

Extra Credit: If you have any special tips or techniques you used for dealing with long trips, I'd love to hear them. - J.S.

Read me! Okay, here's the pitch.  Read one of the books I've been working on recently.  It's got likeable characters, adventure, intrigue, humor, magic, a couple of battles, psychological depth, alienation, and my favorite word in the title.  I know this book has all of those things, because I put them there.  It is, in fact, my first novel, Heirs of Mâvarin.  Like the first novel of someone else we know (historically, anyway), a bit of it can even be sampled online.  And oh yeah, it's much better than Mall of Mâvarin.

Don't worry about any ulterior motives I may have in foisting my book upon you.  I really don't expect you to do anything else with it, such as take it to every agent and editor you know and say, "This Karen Blocher's really got something here!"  No, no, nothing like that (not that I'd mind, not in the least).  No, this would be strictly for your reading enjoyment.  (And if you don't enjoy it, don't tell me.)

But not like this!I'll grant you, carrying someone's unpublished novel onto a plane in a big white binder is somewhat impractical.  So you don't.  Let's deal with the extra credit right now:  you have a laptop, right?  Well, then you're set for the plane ride, and the waiting in airports.  A laptop is about the most entertaining thing you can have on a plane or on a concourse, even without the online access.  With your laptop you can read Heirs of Mâvarin from a series of handy-dandy Word files, which can be sent to you upon request, at the speed of dial-up.  If you get bored, you can play one of the many games you've introduced us to in By the Way, write a blog entry offline, edit digital photos of airplanes in surprising ways, defrag your hard drive (if you're really desperate)...why, the possibilities are endless!

You can judge these by their covers, but...Okay, you want an actual published book for the trip?  Here are two alternatives:

1. The Essential Ellison by Harlan Ellison.  I haven't read this book, but devoured much of its contents in prior publications, namely my extensive collection of Ellison paperbacks (from the 1950s on) and 1970s hardcovers.  Still, it's chock full of Harlanesque goodness: silly stuff, social commentary, depressing accounts of how we ruin our lives (sometimes all in one story!), well, you get the idea.  My personal favorite is "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman," but I also love the other side of the LP I have somewhere, "Shatterday," and "One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty," and lots and lots of other stuff.  Depending on your mood, you can pick and choose what to read here, for hours and hours of provocative entertainment.  (Drat.  I see that this tome does not have some of my favorites, such as "Shatterday"and "The Crackpots."  Oh, well.)

The good stuff's inside!2. A Treasury of Great Poems, English and American, edited by Louis Untermeyer.  You're not likely to get hold of this before you leave, or find it anywhere this side of eBay or an antiquarian bookshop.  It was published before my parents even met each other.  But if you're in the mood for poetry written between the Middle Ages and 1940, inclusive, this is a great book to explore in.  Yes, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne, Keats, Whitman, Frost and Pound are all here, but so are Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll and Ogden Nash, and old songs by that prolific writer, Anonymous.  Good stuff!

Honorable mention:  Chosen by Nancy Holder is a good, long, relatively undemanding read, that manages to make entertaining sense of the entire final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

And heck, maybe in a few years, on another long plane trip, you'll be able to read Heirs of Mâvarin in paperback. Perhaps it will even be for sale in the airport. 

Have a fun trip!



ryanagi said...

I took Karen's book on a trip to my parent's house. It was a great escape from the crushing bordom. :-)

ondinemonet said...

Hi :)

I see nothing wrong with a good are an excellent writer, and you can spell and everything! LOL. :) I didn't know Buffy was available in books as well, I need to visit more aisles then then Cooking, New Fiction, Art and Biography.

Always, Carly :)