Sitting outside in my parent’s backyard, I’ve just finished reading for the second time The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss when I realize it was the first book of a trilogy of books I had completely about twenty days ago with The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.
Along with Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, these three books were all bought at the Smith Haven Mall’s Barnes & Noble. Since about 2007 my friend Keri and I have had a tradition where I pick her up from her house, we go to Barnes & Noble hunting down books to purchase, and then grab a bite to eat. All along the way, except for the moments when we’re hunting down books, we catch up on what’s going on in our lives.
I can’t say we’re close friends but I also can’t say we’re not. We both have our own group of friends, jobs, and schools that keep our lives busy. I’ve been mulling it over as I drafted this blog entry on a legal pad, and I would compare our friendship to getting to hang out with that cousin at the big family barbecue, that cousin you have the most in common with but don’t get to see that often. You’re relieved to finally be able to talk to someone on a similar wavelength as you. Plus, with the amount of books she reads and the number of years she’s been writing I have always a new book she can recommend to me. Which is exactly what she did in this story.
The stories goes, in I believe the summer of 2008 when we went on one of the trips to Barnes & Noble I was looking for something new in the genre of Fantasy. This was after I had absorbed The Lord of the Rings into my being, was heavily read in Science Fiction, was too smug with my Literature Major classes to read Harry Potter (I have since read 1-6 and highly enjoyed them) and had yet the foreknowledge to try George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.
So simply, I asked her “I’m looking for some fantasy books, more modern authors, something new.” We were standing in the fantasy section, and without much thought, she pointed out the three books I mentioned earlier, relatively near each other. “Patrick Rothfuss has been getting a lot of buzz, same with that book The Lies of Locke Lamora. Elantris is a good start for Brandon Sanderson.”
With that, I bought all three of those books that day but I had a bad habit of buying more books than I could read. A habit that has only started slowly waning this year. Those three books sat o the shelves as I pushed them aside for other books I had bought before them.
It wasn’t until 2011 that I finally said fuck it and picked up my copy of The Name of the Wind. I can’t count on my hands the amount of books that have engrossed me into their world that quickly. The Lord of the Rings is my absolute favorite books but even I struggled with the Tom Bombadil chapters the first time through. This book I couldn’t put down and finished it in a couple days.
It just so happened at the time that a guy named Nick Fletcher at my job happened to be a big fan of the book. I don’t know if I’m recalling it correctly but I remember asking him if he had read it and he immediately told me it was one of his favorite books, and that the second book had just come out. After the lengthy conversation, we had about the first book, which I do think made us better friends, I took out my phone, opened the Amazon app and order The Wise Man’s Fear as fast as I could.
I didn’t read it as soon as it came, though. I have this strange habit when reading. Like when you let the wine breathe for a bit I need to give a novel, especially one part of a series, time to breathe. I have enormous difficulty reading a book series back to back. I like coming back to it later when I’ve read some other books in between. When I do come back to the series it’s like a flood of memories comes rushing back like meeting up with an old friend, catching up while you go to Barnes & Noble.
So in Summer of 2012 after I finished The Wise Man’s Fear I picked up another one of those three books I had bought, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. Again, another good book, not a favorite like The Name of the Wind was at that point but I still loved it. I’d later be disappointed by Sanderson’s second Mistborn novel, The Well of Ascension, after highly enjoying Mistborn: The Final Empire. I think partially the reason I didn’t enjoy it was because I forced myself to read the second one right after finishing the first one in a reading competition with my friend, the big The Name of the Wind fan.
I wouldn’t complete this trilogy of books until July 9th of this year when I finished The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch which almost engrossed me as much as Rothfuss’s The Kingkiller Chronicle.
Lesson learn. Trust the Keri. Read the books she recommends to you right away as some of them might become one of your favorite books.