Tuesday, November 21, 2006
For the past five weeks, I've been obsessively plowing through Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe books. I first encountered Sharpe through our local PBS station's airing of the Briitish series of TV movies which also inspired a long-term crush on Sean Bean. I'm a voracious reader but I don't think I've ever been so obsessed with a series of books and certainly not sustained an obsession through this many different books in a series. [I pooped out after initial obsessions with Stephen King's Dark Tower series, David Weber's Honor Harrington books, and Anita Hamilton's Anita Blake series.] The great thing about starting to read these books now is that I am able to read them almost completely in timeline order versus the order in which they were published. In some cases, I have pursued this order by maximizing my use of the Washington County Library interlibrary loan system. In other cases, I have driven from one library branch to another library branch and visited the adjacent St. Paul Library system to feed my habit. Internet library search is a wonderful thing. During lulls between copies of the book, I've finished a few other books. One, The Requiem Shark by Nicholas Griffin is a novel about the pirate Black Bart which I highly recommend. There's a good review of it up at Salon. Pirates - yay! Sam Enthoven's Black Tatoo, a YA dark fantasy, was next and was one of the freebies from World Fantasy. While there were a few times I looked up from the book to frown in consternation, I was nicely pulled through the book by interesting characters, surprising world building and sword fighting. Sword fighting - yay! I am awaiting the last three Sharpe novels and have to content myself with my new obsession, watching the Sharpe's movies through Alan's B-day subscription to Netflicks. Because it is his birthday gift, I am limiting myself to one of his two movies at a time which he puts up with since he knows the movie will be probably be watched and returned within 24 hours. I will plow through the whole series of movies in just a few weeks. Interspersed amongst these, we'll have our usual Alan's obscure foreign movie picks coming in at a regular pace, too. I was a little disappointed by the first two films in the Sharpe series (the Wellington character made me want to barf) but I've been told things pick up with this next one, Sharpe's Company. [I would be watching it RIGHT NOW but someone is playing something on the Gamecube. The dog is between us destroying his new rawhide bone. We all have our obsessions, I guess.] I currenlty am reading John Scalzi's The Ghost Brigades which like his previous novel, Old Man's War, has soldiers, aliens, intrigue and bloody battles. Bloody battles - yay! Unlike the first book, which I did really enjoy, the main character isn't annoyingly perfect and brilliant and always saving the day. On my bedside table waiting to be read, I have Partick O'Brian's Master and Commander and Sabatini's Scaramouche. So everything I've been reading the past few weeks has conveniently though not intentionally had battles or swashbuckling in it. I've been trying to figure out my obsession with the Sharpe books and this focus on warfare. The Sharpe books aren't as well written as some in the genre (?) but I've always been a forgiving reader if the story is compelling, the characters interesting and the writing not so bad it throws me out of the story. I think that Cornwell has hit on the right mixture of romance, intrigue and adventure for my taste and it probably doesn't hurt that I still picture Sean Bean as the main character. Another time, we'll have to have a discussion about why Sean Bean has to always play bad guys in American movies.