Monday, November 2, 2015
Bit of this, bit of that
Had a disappointing trip to a local book store today. I work in downtown Madison, and there is a used book store down near the campus that I used to walk to during lunch every couple of months. They had a section in the back that was mostly just old books that weren’t selling very well. Everything was a $1, and I usually managed to discover at least a couple of good finds. Mostly classics from 60’s and 70’s. Well, today that section is all but gone. At least the fiction paperbacks are. I barely found anything to browse, let alone that looked interesting.
So then I wandered over to the Fantasy/Science Fiction section, which usually had a decent selection of more popular classic paperbacks. Nope, those are largely gone too. The majority of stuff in there now is less than 10 years old, and probably represents books that people bought, read, and traded in to make room for their next purchase. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot that looked very interesting. But, my wallet is a bit thin these days, so none of it was an option for that reason alone.
I’m a big proponent of collecting old paperbacks. Especially when I learned that the standard policy of most used book stores these days is to try to move those books through their “bargain” sections for a fixed amount of time. After that, they literally get tossed in a dumpster. When I heard that I almost cried. Must be the historian in me, wanting to preserve these relics for future generations. Ah well, I just need to accept that the world is moving forward, I suppose.
Speaking of classic paperbacks, some of you may have noticed that my “Currently Reading” image kind of quietly changes occasionally. I recently finished reading a book I found in one of the boxes I brought home from our storage shed. It was a slim book published by Wizards of the Coast based on their D&D line. I’d read a few of them, and they were generally good for what they were. Which was basically an introduction to what playing a D&D game would be like from a literary standpoint. This one featured my favorite of the “iconic” characters found in the rulebooks, Krusk the half-orc barbarian. All in all, a fun little read.
Ok, I guess that isn’t exactly “classic” literature. Though I’d contend that those little books are just as good as some of the pulp-ish sci-fi books of the 60’s and 70’s.
Anyways, after that one, I was planning on reading The Silmarillion. I’ve never read it, but I love Tolkien’s world-building (even if his actual writing style is a bit dry for my tastes), so I thought it would be interesting. Well, I’m sure it will be in small chunks here and there, but not in one long effort. So, while I’ll probably still browse through, and read choice portions, I chose a different book for my “main” reading; the first volume of Ballantine’s 1991 issue of ERB’s Venus tales, Pirates of Venus. Haven’t actually started it yet, but ERB has yet to disappoint me, so I’m hopeful.
On the writing front, I did about 2/3 of the synopsis for my latest WIP (the Mahak story that I posted a snippet from a while back). But I had to put it aside while I focused on laying the groundwork for my Thesis. I have a pretty detailed outline for that, and started in the draft-writing today. Almost 600 words of introduction today, which is cool. I figure if I can work on putting down about 2500 words a week on that, I should have no problem getting 70 double-spaced pages done by the end of January. Which means I might actually be able to carve out some time for fiction concurrently. I’ll start by finishing the Mahak book, and move on from there. I have a military sci-fi book that I started planning out using the Snowflake Method. I might try to dig into that one next.