Thursday, April 24, 2008
I generally have a stack of books by the bed. I read less than I used to, but I'm still getting through maybe two hundred books a year, plus assorted 'zines, not counting the daily newspaper, blogs, and all like that.
As a reader, I have a gripe with my favorite writers -- they need to write faster.
If I find a book by somebody and I like it, I look to see what else they've done. If they have a series, I collect as many as I can find. Problem is, even if they have twenty books in print, I can read them all before they can get too far ahead of me. Pretty soon, I catch up, and then I have to wait on them.
There are a handful of writers that I will buy in hardback. With some of those in the $25-35 range, I can't afford too many on that list. So I go to the bookstore and prowl the aisles, waiting for one of them to come out with a new novel. Generally, this doesn't happen but once a year, sometimes longer. Sometimes way longer -- fans of George R.R. Martin's fantasy series have been drumming their fingers impatiently for several years now waiting on him.
It took two decades for Roger Zelazny to finish his Amber series.
Me, I have a dozen guys I'm waiting on at any given time.
One example: I got hooked on Robert Parker's Spencer books years ago. He now has three characters with whom he plays -- Spencer, Jesse Stone, and Sunny Randall. They are all variations on the same guy, even though Sunny is a woman, she is a lot like Spencer in a skirt. Parker is faster than most, so those characters show up more frequently, but since, if Dianne drives, I can almost finish one on the way home -- lotta dialog -- the novels are like fast-food -- quick, easy, over in a hurry.
(Gotta love that Hawk, who is the coolest dude in modern mystery novels. Bobby Crais's Elvis Cole novels give us the west coast version of the Bostonian Spencer, and his sidekick, Joe Pike, is the white trash version of Hawk. I'd love to see them in a book together. Hawk and Pike ...)
Um I digress, I digress, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers pressed ...
My gripe is that the writers I like need to write faster -- and today, I got an email from one of my fans, and, of a moment, found myself on the other side of the looking glass. You, he said, need to write faster ...
Huh. What goes around comes around. One more manifestation of karma.