What I’m Reading – Favorites New and Old

It’s been a couple weeks since I made this post, mostly due to sheer laziness on my part. Let’s see if I can remember what books I’ve read.

I found a second edition hardcover of The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle at the used bookstore, and even though it was a library copy I of course snapped it up in a second. I was surprised at the mild sarcasm Beagle throws into his narration from time to time, and was amused and delighted with the people the unicorn finds herself with, characters that aren’t quite what they should be, like the powerful and incompetent magician Schmendrick. But what really cemented my purchase of the book was the language, which Beagle gives readers a good taste of right off the bat:

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam, but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea. (Beagle, 1)

Judging from Amazon this book’s still in print, and illustrated, unlike my copy. But I can’t imagine owning anything but a vintage copy, with the big swirling letter to start off each chapter, and the indents of the letters pressed into the thick paper.

I’ve also started rereading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin in preparation for A Dance of Dragons coming out in July, as well as the HBO series starting soon. Again I’m being dazzled by the amount of detail Martin put into his work. Not only are there parts of the story the rereading is helping me remember, I’m also noticing things that I didn’t pay attention to the first time around. There are mentions of names and events that don’t seem important at the time, but in the third or fourth book it amounts to something huge! And I didn’t even know he alluded to it the first time around. Martin has such tight control over his story – it’s simply amazing.

Another book I’ve made good headway in is Sabriel by Garth Nix. Nix is an author that people have been telling me to read for years. One professor even told me he was very surprised I had never read him before. I decided to take the plunge and use Sabriel for a craft essay for my MFA. I’m not quite halfway through, and while I like it quite a bit – the magic system is interesting and something I know I can learn from, and I love the titular heroine – it’s not making the amazing impression I was expecting from the recommendations. But it’s enough that I’ll definitely read the rest in the series, and of course I’m not done with the story yet.

So that’s what I’ve been chipping away at recently. What have you been reading? And what’s on your list?