Let me back up, because even that was a lie. I didn't promise them I would read it so much as allow myself to be guilt-tripped into borrowing a copy of said Life-Affirming Modern Novel after opening my big mouth and exercising my unfortunate tendency to praise other people's reading choices, even when I don't truly share their enthusiasm for said reading materials. It's an occupational hazard.
I'm going to beg the anonymous forgiveness of the internet here by saying that I have so little time for pleasure reading right now, what with library school in full swing, that I don't want to waste it on feel-good Americana when what I really want to read is fantasy and horror and Tokyo Vice, by Jake Adelstein.
I had an extra day off this week, which I shamelessly spent reading Fire, by Kristin Cashore, and watching Regency House Party with Jeremy. I think the link to Regency House Party kind of speaks for itself, but I have to take a moment to sing the praises of Kristin Cashore.
I really love well-done fantasy novels, but so few authors get the mix just right. Fantasy is one of those genres with an unfortunate tendency to stray into eye-rollingly silly territory, or else rip off Tolkien without nailing his mastery of world creation and majestic prose. So I say with a lot of respect and admiration that Kristin Cashore writes good, solid fantasy novels. At first they seem unassuming. She doesn't use a lot of verbal pyrotechnics or experiment with structure and point of view. Instead, she gives you the profound pleasure of reading a book with a clear and exciting plot, complex characters, themes that cause you to ponder ethical issues without being pedantic, and well-planned narrative arcs that resolve the events of the books without tying everything up in a neat bow. All I have to say is: Respect. And go pick up Kristin Cashore's books at your local library.