Finally. Finished. The Three Musketeers.
It took me over three months.
It wasn't boring. The plot was intricate and interesting, if not a little melodramatic in places. (Why are all the female characters biting their lips until they bleed? Has anyone in the world actually been that distressed? I actually tried biting my lip and realized it would take quite a lot of force to actually puncture the skin. Maybe people back in King Louis XIII's France had much sharper teeth than we do now?)
My biggest problem was that since I do most of my reading in bed at night, I kept falling asleep with the Musketeers. I'd be reading along and not even realize I'd dozed off until I woke up and still had the book open in front of me. And when you're reading a 627-page book with teeny print, you have to read more than a few pages a night to EVER finish.
Next, I read Twilight.
It took me less than three days.
Not because it was so suspenseful and wonderful I couldn't put it down. No, not quite. More like, "I really have to finish this book because I don't want to write anything while I'm reading it."
Have you ever noticed how much your writing is effected by the books you're reading? My own writing tanks when I'm reading a poorly-written book.
And, not to be mean to Stephenie Meyer who wrote it, but Twilight is ... uh ... not a book I'll be holding up as a paradigm of good literature. I can maybe see the allure to certain readers: infatuation with a bad boy, the forbidden fruit. There was a lot of emotion packed into the book, a lot of sexual tension, but for me it was just Ew.
So, after staying up late speed-reading Twilight, I glanced at the first chapter of the sequel, New Moon, which the publishers helpfully printed at the back of the book. "Thank goodness the sequel's not on my books-to-read list," was my only thought as I slammed it shut.
Then, I opened a YA book I picked up from the library yesterday: A Curse Dark as Gold.
Reading through the first few pages gave me a rush of satisfaction.
This is great writing.
This is the kind of thing I want to emulate: rich detail, deep characters. Plus, it's based on the Fairy Tale Rumpelstiltskin; I have a soft-spot for fairy tales.
It's the difference between being satisfied with Nestle-brand ice cream or paying a little more for the Dreyers.
Elizabeth C. Bunce is at the Dreyer's level, my friends. She's a scoop each of mint chocolate chip, cookie dough, and double fudge brownie. Fabulous.
I lay in bed, pea green, grinding my teeth and muttering, "Wish I could write like this."