Friday, July 31, 2009

Musketeers, Vampires, and Fairy Tales, Oh My!

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."


  1. Amy, I can only laugh and smile at this -- I've read The Three Musketeers because I felt I had an obligation to (one of those classics, you know?), and then I read the Twilight series because I was curious about the plot, but I do agree that the writing is atrocious.

    As for the third book, you've added something to my reading list. :)

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Weronika,

    I only read a few pages of A Curse Dark as Gold, so it might not be as great throughout. We'll see. Let me know what you think when you've read it. :)