To borrow a well-used phrase, and a Jasper Fforde title, for the last few days I’ve been well and truly lost in a good book. Actually, two good books – I’m re-reading the first two Kingkiller Chronicles novels from Patrick Rothfuss. I’ve already re-read and reviewed the first one, The Name of the Wind, rhapsodising muchly, and now I’m about two thirds of the way through the second, The Wise Man’s Fear. Between the two they amount to over 1500 pages of fantasy goodness, just the kind of stories that I’m liable to get completely caught up in.
For as long as I can remember I’ve loved reading, especially the kind of escapist stories that can be found in science fiction and fantasy. As a young man I would sit for hours on end with my nose buried in a book, barely pausing for meals; weekends and holidays would pass in blurs of endless pages, my imagination on fire, as I lived through the events of the books I was reading as though I was part of the stories. I’m a fast reader so I’ve always tended to read through books in a series one after the other; The Belgariad and the Mallorean, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, The Amtrak Wars, the Gormenghast Trilogy…none of them lasted long when faced with my teenage voracity.
It’s all well and good as a teenager to lose yourself in books, because you tend not to have too much else to do. As an adult however, it’s slightly trickier. This year I’ve largely avoided books in series, because I know what I’m like and I’ve been trying not to end up losing days on end to blurred vision and arbitrarily-taken meals. You see, when someone uses the phrase ‘lost in a good book’ they generally mean that they have been caught up by the story and really enjoyed reading it. What I mean when I say it is that I’ve literally lost hours, days and occasionally weeks to doing nothing but reading. While I’m not the most sociable of creatures, this can occasionally cause a problem or two, especially when I’m forced to put my book down and return to the real world! My many re-reads of the Wheel of Time series in particular have been notable for the bizarre way in which my mood can be affected by what’s happening in the narrative. Dangerous.
With the Kingkiller books though, they’re just too good for me to able to read them in any other way. I’m willing to sacrifice a few days to spend a bit of time again with Kvothe and the gang, and if I’m becoming grumpy from living too much in the story…well, luckily I have plenty of time on my hands at the moment. Speaking of which, I’ve got a few minutes left before bedtime tonight. I can get a few pages in…