Well, now that I've finished reading Kelley Armstrong's very entertaining "Women of the Otherworld" books, I've now started into reading some of the novels on my University reading list. Yippee! A Sweetness in the Belly is to be read first - for no other reason than the green, beige, and pink stripe format of the cover caught my eye about a hundred times when I was working at Coles. Bad memories? Nah - I loved working there. It was getting fired that sucked.
Anyway, I'm already loving it. I adore books that begin with a language or a style or a story that immediately grabs me - these books are like waking up on a Saturday, when you know that there are two days of glorious non-work, or non-school ahead of you. Here, when a book begins well, it's wonderful because I know there are at least three hundred pages of similar goodness to go.
Granted, I have come to love good books that begin more slowly, but they're more like schooldays where they start with some trepidation (because I know that there are math classes, and social studies classes, and science classes ahead), but then as I progress I find out that we have a substitute teacher in math, we're watching a movie in social studies, and science is cancelled by a fire drill. All in all, it ends as a pretty good day. Still not quite as good as waking up on a Saturday, though.
Anyway - I finished the T.A. Barron Great Tree of Avalon series, and it tried my confidence as a reviewer, at least a little. I had very good reasons for the critique I gave of it (negative), and I think I backed them up very well, but when I read the blurb sheet presented in the press kit that has quotations from Madeleine L'Engle and Lloyd Alexander (two YA authors I love and have loved since I was eight) lauding a work I dispised, it's a bit of a kick in the teeth. I want to be like L'Engle and Alexander, I think they're wonderful writers, and I certainly don't want to question their taste by hating on a book they seemed to have enjoyed. But that book was so very unpleasant to read.
It's also a blow to the ego when yet another book I reviewed badly (Od Magic, Patricia A. McKillip) ends up nominated for a major fantasy award. Again - I had good reasons for not liking it, but sometimes I feel badly about it.
I wonder, everyone else seems to have liked it - I must have missed something. Or my favourite authors like it, so who am I to say it's bad? The fear of being too superficial or unintelligent a reader to catch the positive points that so many other people seem to have gotten from a novel can be daunting. I love Madeleine L'Engle and Lloyd Alexander, but T.A. Barron, you are no L'Engle or Alexander. Not even close, in my estimation.