Thursday, March 22, 2007

Long Days, Long Nights

It's been a heavy work week with little time for blogging, but I finally managed to catch up fairly well last night. Teaching can be a feast or famine sort of existence. You'll have a week or two of short days and then suddenly a week of hell. This week was the latter, and it's during the "shorter" days that I tend to get fiction written. So, not much new writing here lately. I am reading a couple of books that are much better than the last two I read, although I haven't gotten to the endings yet.

Book 1, Blood & Thunder by Mark Finn. This is a biography of Robert E. Howard, who I've mentioned here many times. It's the first full-length biography of Howard in the last 30 or so years. Mark's approach is almost conversational, but he provides a lot of interesting material and is clear to lable speculation as what it is. He's obviously done his research and knows what he knows and what he doesn't. Since I'm rather intimately tied in with Howard scholarship I would have read this even if it wasn't well written. But it is. I'm not only getting good information, I'm enjoying it as a reading experience. I know Mark personally as a friend, but if I didn't like his book I just wouldn't even mention it here. If you're interested in Howard this is a great work to pick up.

Book 2, Winter Warriors by David Gemmell. Since I'm considering writing a big heroic fantasy novel myself, I'm doing some studying of Gemmell to see how he achieves his effects. So far, (about a third of the way into it) I'm enjoying this book very much. Gemmell seems unable to write a bad book, but my favorites of his have typically been stories of the "Drenai." This is one such. If you've never read Gemmell, I'd suggest some of his earlier Drenai books, particularly the ones featuring "Druss the Legend." This will set you up with the background, although any of Gemmell's books can stand on its own.

7 comments:

Michelle's Spell said...

Charles,

I hear you about teaching -- it's a strange profession that way. I'll definitely have to check out the books. I'm a writing book junkie!

Lucas Pederson said...

Both books look very interesting, and since I'l be doing some shopping this weekend, I'll buy them. Thanks for mentioning them!

Susan Miller said...

I've still got to get your book and Michelle's poetry and Kate's writings and Steve's graphic novel and I've got a bookshelf full of books. Geez, someone slow down.

But thanks for the recommendations.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I've been fairly busy myself. Planning a convict graduation and getting ready for some Science Olympiad competition. I need to find more time to read more "How To" books on writing.

etain_lavena said...

Ja I agree both books sound very kewl...one rainy day I will buy some books again, I am on a strict budget...whahaha:)
Have a good weekend:)

Sidney said...

I went to a party for one of Mark's books at World Fantasy but didn't actually meet him. I have the old L. Sprague de Camp bio of Howard, kind of a large chap book. I'll have to look for the Finn version.

I hear you about the days - it's been hard for me to stay focused at work this week. I think it's spring.

Danny Tagalog said...

Hi Charles, hope you get a slow one next week. I'm gung ho for another year - but after that maybe I'll find time to read that big heroic fantasy thats in the works...