When I was a kid, I was single minded. At dinner, I would eat each part of the meal individually. I’d eat all my mashed potatoes, for example, before having a bite of corn or steak. I was the same way with books. I would read one book and one book only until I was done with it. When I was done, I’d pick a new book. My brother was the opposite. He’d be reading multiple books at once and at the time I couldn’t understand it. Why would you want to start another book when you were reading one already?
Well, times they do change. These days I’m never reading just one book. Does that make me “multi-minded”? What I read on any given night depends on my mood. Sometimes I crave history, other times escapism. I don’t count game books anymore, because I rarely read all the way through non-GR RPG books. I more flick around looking for the interesting bits. Sometimes I even find them.
Here’s what’s on my nightstand on the moment.
The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell: The author of the Sharpe’s series takes on the Arthurian legend. This is the first modern retelling I’ve read in a long time and it’s good. Cornwell has solidly based his work on history and he paints a vivid picture of post-Roman Britain. I especially like how he’s integrated the Mithraic cult.
The Tsar’s Last Armada by Constantine Pleshakov: This is a very interesting book about the Russian fleet that sailed all the way around the world to confront Japan in 1904, only to meet spectacular defeat in the battle that established Japan as a world power. If you want a glimpse of Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, this is for you.
Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien: Previously discussed. Now moving into the Two Towers.
Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower by William Blum: This book has an interesting premise. What are the results when the US is tested by the same standards that it uses to judge other countries? I’m not too far into this one yet, but it does appeal to my lefty sensibilities. It certainly has some better answers for why the US is held in such low esteem throughout much of the world than, “They hate us because of our freedom.”
Essential Tomb of Dracula by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan: OK, this doesn’t quite count as a book. It’s part of Marvel’s Essential series, which makes available long out of print comics in cheap, b+w “phone books”. Tomb of Dracula is goofy 70s fun. Best line so far: “This shortcut through the graveyard will bring us to my grandfather’s manor house very soon!” Yeah, what could possibly go wrong…