Monday, September 15, 2008

"Damn you, Jim Butcher" and other stories

OK. Imagine that somehow Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson had a love child. And that child had a raccoon. That raccoon? I look like that raccoon today. Large black circles under my eyes. I have not had enough sleep. And for that, I put the blame squarely on Jim Butcher.

It all started innocently enough last June. I was sitting in the living room of the large house that a bunch of us had rented in Niagara Falls, sipping wine and talking to the other parenting forum mommies who had travelled with their families from all over the US and Canada for a real-life get-together. I was listening to a conversation between Nikki from Calgary and Sara and Neil from Ohio about books -- SF mostly, which explains why I wasn't talking much. Once you get past Dune, I don't have much experience in that genre. The conversation turned animated when someone (can't remember who) asked someone else if they liked the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. My ears pricked up when I heard the phrase "the only wizard who advertises in the Chicago yellow pages."

Fast-forward a couple of months and I'm poking around the library looking for something to read. I picked up Storm Front, the first of the Harry Dresden books. I liked it enough to request the second, Fool Moon. And I was hooked. Hooked, I tell you. Harry is a smart-ass PI who just happens to be able to deal with the occult as well as normal cases. You know, cheating husbands, demons, that sort of thing. The books are fast-paced, fun and funny. And I worked my way through them all.

Then he went and started another series, the Codex Alera, a fantasy series set in a world not unlike the Roman Empire in its politics, but different in that people have has some degree of command over elemental forces or spirits called furies. I put off reading it for ages, thinking it couldn't be as good as the Dresden Files. I was wrong. It's different -- high fantasy rather than urban fantasy, but enthralling.

I got the fourth book in the series, Captain's Fury, on Friday. I sat down with it at 8 a.m. in my pajamas with my Sunday morning coffee. I never got out of my pj's all day. I'm pretty sure I remembered to feed my kids (pretty sure -- I vaguely remember opening a package of hot dogs), but all other chores: lawn mowing, laundry, vacuuming, fell by the wayside. I was glued to the book. Monday morning I felt like it just wasn't fair that I had to, you know, go to work, instead of finding out what was going to happen. I finally finished the book at 2 a.m.

So. Me. This morning. Raccoon Girl. Yawning a lot. Way to make my life harder, Jim.

(And wouldn't you know it? I got a call from the library. Careless in Red is in. The book I've been waiting for 3 years for, to find out how Thomas Lynley is coping with the murder of his wife. Damn you too, Elizabeth George. Note to self: buy concealer.)


  1. Thanks, now I have a new set of books to look for. I've been trying to find something new to read and this sounds like something I might like.

  2. Oh yeah, I've done that before. But it's always so worth it.

  3. LOL, that was me when I discovered the Outlander series!

  4. Ohthose Jim Butcher books sound right up my alley. Was it Elizabeth George who wrote those murder mysteries set in Egypt? Hmmmm...

  5. He he he!!!! Glad you found a good series!!!

  6. augusten burroughs aged me...couldn't get enough of him in a one week period.
    i'm not much of a SF girl - though does Pillars of the Earth count? i think i failed my OC chemistry exam because of that book

  7. Stacy - I think you'd like the Dresden Files. The first one, Storm Front, is just OK, but they keep getting better and better. He's written about 10 or so in that series.

    Jen - It wasn't the first time, and I'm sure it won't be the last time. And you're right, it's worth it.

    Lori - I've only read the first one of that series. I'll have to put in a request for the second one at the library. Say, over Christmas, when I have some time off -- those suckers are thick!

    Nat - Try'em, I think you'll like 'em. Like I said to Stacy, the first one is just OK, but he gets better and better as the series goes on. And it's Elizabeth Peters who writes the Egypt ones. I've never read them. If you haven't tried Elizabeth George, you're in for a treat. Start with "A Great Deliverance". Fantastic book.

    SaraJ - I guess I should be blaming you, eh?

    Meanie - I've never read Augusten Burroughs. But I did see him interviewed on The Hour, so maybe I should pick up one of his books. Which one should I start with?

  8. i think we have all done that

  9. Ooo, and just when I'm looking for something new to read. Thanks!!

  10. I will have to check these out...I'm always in the market for new reads! But you can count on the fact that I won't be up reading at 2AM--no matter how awesome a book is I just cannot stay awake that long!