Anthologies

I have a complicated relationship with anthologies. I really do. Once upon a time, it was simple. I didn’t like them. By and large there was only one story in there that you were really interested in and all the rest were thrown in there by the publishing company as either filler, like sawdust or packing peanuts, to fill out the book and make it actually novel size, or in a desperate and fairly transparent bid to make the other, lesser known authors in the book look better by association with the headlining author of the book. You can always tell which type it is too, you just have to look at the font size on the author’s names. If one of them is easily twice the size of all the others, it’s door number two. If there’s one, possibly even two, good stories in there and the others make you want to gouge your own eyes out, it’s door number one.

I was comfortable with that. I could work with that, and I did that by pretty much ignoring all anthologies. And if an author tried to be clever and force you to buy the stupid thing by making some big plot point happen in a hundred page short story, then I am not ashamed to say that I would sit in the aisle at B&N, read that particular story, and then go about my business.

And then, and don’t ask me why, I went through a really weird phase where I kept buying anthologies. Again, no idea why, it just seemed like a good idea. But there was a day when I was at the store and I saw one with an author I like in it and thought “Well what the hell?” and actually discovered two really important things: that I really can’t stand Charlaine Harris and the beauty that is Meljean Brook and Ilona Andrews. (The other author, in case you were curious, was Nalini Singh.) That’s right, in one book I found a short story by an author I like and two new authors to love. It was amazing.

So I have since revised my opinion on anthologies… ish. I have since read a couple more (I did say it was a phase) and not all of them turned out well. One of them, in fact, was one of those eye gougingly awful ones I mentioned earlier, but on the other hand, it can lead to you discovering really awesome new authors that it might otherwise have taken you years to discover. So it’s an extrememly cautious thumbs up, with a “Be Careful” attached.

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hiya

Okay, so to lay it all out, I intend this to be about books., not that that’s a surprise given the title, but I felt it was worth saying. I have read God only knows how many books in my life and I have a surplus of opinions, and not only that but I have been informed that my opinions are often correct.

There is probably nothing in the world that I know better than stories; movies, books, TV, comic books, whatever, I know them and they make sense to me. I have loved books, stories of all flavors really, for a very long time and I feel like I’ve developed an insight or two.

There are times when the entire book is a masterpiece, beginning to end and the whole thing is so beautiful, so perfect that it almost seems like the pages are glowing. There are books that are just wonderful and you love virtually every thing about them. There are the so- so books that you love despite their flaws, the books that if it weren’t for one or two things would have no redeeming value whatsoever, and of course there are the really crappy books that you just put down and walk quietly away from, trying desperately to pretend that you didn’t just waste your time on that garbage. Then there are the times when nothing anyone does in a given storyline does makes sense, possibly because the author was on drugs (just a personal theory), they had no idea what they were doing, or somewhere in the depths of their subconscious the characters staged a rebellion and took over. Which, admittedly, can sometimes lead to greatness, not often but it can, or, more often, it can lead to a book that just flat out does not compute. Those are the weird ones.

With this blog I would like to discuss some books, my favorites, the ones I hated and the ones that just plain made no sense. I welcome feedback, provided it’s an actual discussion and not just disagreeing with me and not including the reason. 

I will try to discuss books in sequential order if they’re in a series but if I’ve recently read the newest one and just have to talk about it, you’ll have to bear with me. I will also occasionally go off into the world of the large or small screen since, as I said, I know stories, all kinds of stories. Just try to bear with me. I hope you enjoy.