December 27th, 2005



The other thing I did Christmas Day was finish reading 'A Feast for Crows' by George R.R. Martin. Quite good, but it had very much a "beginning of Act Two" quality, as if the first three books (collectively like 2700 pages) were "Act One." 'Crows,' the fourth in the series, resolves some subplots but sets up many more conflicts that won't get resolved until the SIXTH book. Probably. Maybe there will be a seventh. Plus, I don't think I've ever read a book -- even 'War & Peace' -- with so many NAMED characters.

So I'll read my Christmas present 'Looking for Jake,' probably to finish this weekend, and then will once again do my annual tradition. For at least the past 10 years I ring in the new year by reading a book by an author I've never read before. I'm not sure why I started it -- perhaps it made sense because I'd receive books by new writers as Christmas presents. Some have been great ('The Man Who Was Thursday' by G.K. Chesterton), some have been duds ('Aliens of Affection,' 'Me & Shakespeare' -- I can't even remember the authors), but I'll probably keep up the tradition because of the feeling of "new-ness" that comes with it.

The first book of 2006 will probably be either the mystery 'Warning Signs' by Stephen White, which my mother-in-law loaned me after I mentioned how much I like Lee Child's Jack Reacher books, or 'The Prestige' by Christopher Priest, a book about two rival 18th century stage magicians that sounds like a cross between the GREAT 'Carter Beats the Devil' and the not-bad-but-too-long 'Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I freely admit that 'The Prestige' got on my radar because Christopher 'Memento/Batman Begins' Nolan is making a movie of it. I'd just as soon not start the year with a multi-page doorstop, though, like 'The Historian' or Jeffrey Eugenidies 'Middlesex,' even though I'm curious about them both.

My choice isn't set in stone, though, so if someone wants to SUGGEST one, I'd welcome a fresh idea. Ideally something that's less than 400 pages and doesn't feel like "work" to read. (I'd heartily recommend the aforementioned 'Carter Beats the Devil' to anyone looking for one.) Come on, throw some names and titles at me. If you read the blog but rarely/never leave a comment, this would be a great time. Anyone?
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