Tuesday, January 25, 2011

        Fantasy books are my first love. My home library shelves are home to my “keeper” authors – almost all of whom write in the fantasy genre. JRR Tolkien was the first who turned me on to worlds other than our own. I first read the LOTR trilogy when I was in high school and we were taking a trip to Florida. I brought it along as reading material, having already read The Hobbit and not really loving it.

        I might as well not have left my room for all I saw of Florida that vacation. I spent my days with my nose buried in Middle Earth, walking the forest paths with Strider and the Halflings, riding with Eomer over the plains of Rohan, struggling with Sam as he tried to get Frodo up Mount Doom. I was hooked.

        Except there were few fantasies ‘way back then (the early 70’s), so I turned to science fiction for exploration of new ideas and new worlds. I also dove head-first into Mary Stewart’s Merlin trilogy, eagerly awaiting each new book, loving her exploration of the world of Arthur and his magician.

       By the end of the decade, the genre had ridden to the crest of a wonderful wave. Fred Saberhagen, Piers Anthony, Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks followed shortly after by David Eddings, Katherine Kurtz and Anne McCaffery. I read them all, kept them all on my growing bookshelves. Those and more.

      And then came children.

      My obstetrician, upon seeing me comfortable in my hospital bed reading the Sunday paper the day after my daughter was born, laughed at me and said, “Enjoy that paper. It’s the last thing you’re going to read for the next eighteen years.” I laughed with him, thinking he was joking.

      He wasn’t.

      Between holding down a full-time job, raising two children (my son was born 20 months after my daughter) and being a wife, lover and friend to my husband – reading fell way down the list of priorities. Who had time to go to the library, let alone read what you borrowed? Buying new books? Out of the question. We needed diapers, school uniforms, milk money. I read short magazine articles in doctor’s waiting rooms. That was it.

      But children grow and since September my husband and I have an empty nest. Temporarily only – they’re just away at college. But time to remember what we used to do with our lives before they filled it up with wonder.

      A few days ago my daughter and I browsed a bookstore and I came across the Complete Book of Swords by Fred Saberhagen – all the Swords books in one volume. I read those books. Twenty years ago. I still have them on my shelves. Today I visited another bookstore, this time I came across a new Piers Anthony book – part of his Xanth series. Another set I read such a long time ago.

      And Katherine Kurtz with a Deryni book published two years ago for a series I once devoured a book at a time, impatiently waiting for the next to be released. Here this one had been out for two years and I didn’t even know it existed. I shook my head, then grinned – and bought it.

      But I’m not going to read it. Not just yet. This year is my year for fantasy. I pulled down the Saberhagen and Anthony books and put them on my TBR pile. I’m debating if I want to re-read the Deryni series in the order in which she wrote them, or the chronological order in which they occur. I’ll decide soon –and I’ll re-read them all, sliding the new book in it’s proper place either at the end, or in the middle where the chronology puts it.

      I’m very excited. A year dedicated to the genre I love. I can’t wait to get started!

     Play safe, everyone...and I hope you enjoy some of these authors, too!


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