I just finished reading The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (at the suggestion of mrschili). I had seen the movie quite a while back, but barely remember it. As I recall, there was an uproar by the Catholic church because of the clear anti-authoritarian-religion flavor of the story (since I don’t fret about who might be offended by the books I read, and, if anything, agree with this particular book about organized religion, that aspect doesn’t concern me). As a yarn, it’s entertaining. It was clearly written with a sequel in mind. It seems all too many books these days are written to be a series (particularly in the scifi/fantasy realm). I can’t quite say why that puts me off, but it does. I know it’s tough making a living as an author, and it’s not the best time for publishers, but I get the vague feeling I’m reading an annuity contract, and not a fully-realized story sometimes. As a caveat, I admit a love for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
I’ve started reading Drood by Dan Simmons. For those who may have forgotten, The Mystery of Edwin Drood is an unfinished novel by Charles Dickens. Mr. Simmons tells us a fictional story, via the first-person narrative of Wilkie Collins, about Drood and his appearance in and role in the life of Charles Dickens. The book is written in a sort of Dickensian style, with a good bit of “Dear Reader” and all that, and the narrator intends that it not be published or read until after he and Dickens are long in the ground. I’ve been an avid Dickens reader in my adult life, and will plow through this book, but I haven’t decided yet whether I like it.
Wilkie Collins was a novelist, a contemporary and friend/collaborator of Charles Dickens. He wrote 30 novels, including The Woman In White.