Thursday, October 18, 2012
Book Club: Let's Try That Again
The October discussion topic for our modest little book club was to be Janny Wurts' Curse of the Mistwraith. I say was because only one of us in attendance had completed the book -- and she was the one who had recommended it and was enjoying it for the second time. The rest of us were generally a third of the way into the book.
I have to admit, I read maybe 19% into the book and then skimmed another 10% before our session last night. I read and enjoy science fiction and fantasy, so I was well aware that fantasy novels can start out slow as the author establishes the setting and rules of magic. For some reason I found CotM more difficult than usual to engage my interest and comprehension. My personal preference would have been to become grounded with one key character before the whole cast steps on stage. I know novels are supposed to begin in the middle of the action, but there were so many characters, locations, historical events, etc., coming so fast and furious -- I felt overwhelmed. It also didn't help that by the time I settled down to read I was tired and dozing off.
However, by the time I had skimmed a third of the way into the book, I was getting into the story. The other members of our book club had similar experiences. In CofM Wurts has created a dense fantasy setting with an elaborate history and backstory. Definitely not a book for skimming, as I was attempting to do. Wurts has written the novel in a formal style with many descriptive passages -- reminiscent of Victorian novels and appropriate for the tone of the story about a long ago and far away culture. It needs to be approached at a slower pace. And it did hook most of us (one member didn't have her interest piqued and another said she must be too literal-minded to read fantasy).
So -- we've agreed to finish the book and discuss it in November.
Guess I'll go back to the beginning to refresh my memory before continuing where I left off and give the novel more attention.
We also agreed that this is not a book for an e-reader. It contains a glossary of characters and places at the back of the book and I find it a hassle to flip back and forth on my Kindle. Also, the traditional book includes a map, which is missing in our e-books. Bit of a Luddite here when it comes to literature.