Monday, September 10, 2007

In Which I Say Something Honest About My Literary Background

Apparently I'm one of the few people in my circle of friends who wasn't all that impressed when reading A Wrinkle In Time in first grade. I had no problem with Isaac Asimov, loved reading Joseph Wambaugh, and enjoyed reading many technical manuals on how to operate heavy machinery such as cranes and other construction equipment. Madeline L'Engle, though, I just did not dig her writing. I read it, put it back and went on.

I've also realized that as I get older I read less fiction and less science fiction. The last two fiction novels I read were part of John Scalzi's current sci-fi series starting with Old Man's War. I was done with those books in a night each. They weren't too bad.

Something killed my desire to read fiction, most specifically fantasy and sci-fi. I'm not sure what it was. I know it wasn't The Three Musketeers that did it. I can re-read that book. I can read history books and classics and plow into them with no troubles. Even ancient stuff like The Odyssey, Herodotus' Histories, Livy's History of Rome, and Discourses on Salt and Iron makes for a good read for me. Modern fiction leaves me flat, sadly.

Hmm. Maybe it was William Gibson's Idoru that did it. I don't think I've ever finished that book. I think it might have been the only cyberpunk/ post-cyberpunk book I've never read in one sitting. I love that genre, the whole melding of human and machine, the tribalism that comes from a breakdown of the good society, the justifiable paranoia of living in a world where being watched is one part control and one part entertainment. There was always something in the background that said "despite this, we will adapt to it and overcome." Somehow, the desire to read anything new died out. At some point, nonfiction became more entertaining. I know many people first found a love for reading through L'Engle's books, and for that she deserves her Newbery Award. She didn't have much of an effect on my reading when compared to some of my peers. I don't begrudge the effect she had on others, though I do wonder why it didn't take with me. While my peers were reading A Wrinkle In Time, I was busy finishing The Choirboys.

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