What to Read When You're on a Rock in the Middle of a River

July 19, 2014 - 8:38pm -- swingbug

The last few weeks have taken me on many adventures, traveling some of my favorite veins of California's water system. I've been camping in the woods along the Big Sur river, swimming with family in Lewis Creek, and drifting on lazy parts of the Merced River in Yosemite. A couple of the state's greatest hits, really.

While I was sitting about in various California rivers over the last two weeks enjoying cold water and warm sunshine, I blew through three books, which is pretty amazing for a snail of a reader like me. I have nothing but good things to say about all of them, so I thought I'd go ahead and say it here. If we're book kindreds, you and I, and you find yourself sitting on a rock in the middle of a river with nothing to read, you might try one of these:


Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

I've been a big fan of Neil Gaiman ever since I read Good Omens, a light and funny book he wrote about the apocalypse with Terry Pratchett. (One of the best books on earth, incidentally; please read.) but I truly fell in love with his work when I first cracked one of short story collections. Poetry, fables, the end of the world, and, always, the darkness that looks at you from inside the shadows. "Snow, Glass, Apples" sticks out in mind from the rest of collection, though perhaps that's just because it ended the set and had the opportunity to leave its aftertaste behind. 

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I haven't read the Holmes stories since college. (Let's skip the math part on that, eh?) However, my husband and I recently started watching Sherlock, after having been told many times by many trustworthy folks that it's awesome and totally up our alley (yes it is, yes it is) and its reinspired both of us to look back to the books again. I blew through "The Hound of the Baskervilles" in short order and I'm currently chugging through The Adventures of... I remember enjoying them the first time round, and I'm eating them up now. How many years since you read this stuff in school? (Oh right, we're not counting. It's not decent to count...)

The Wind through the Keyhole by Stephen King

This is a newish Dark Tower novel. (And those of you that already follow the path of the beam, and somehow missed the appearance of this book in 2012 like me, are now running to the bookstore and say thankee.) It falls between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla and is quite awesome. It involves a little of the ka-tet we know and love so well, a bit more about Roland's youth, and some new folk with their own story to tell. Fear not, though.  Even if you've never traveled Mid-World, or if it's been so long (the world has moved on, after all) that you don't quite remember, you can pick this book up and enjoy it as a stand-alone. Me? Interminably slow reader that I am, I blasted through it in three days, and now I'm turning the pages of The Gunslinger again, and may just redo the whole series. Ka is a wheel, after all. I've heard that said. 

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