Like a Let’s Play, but with books. I read through a book I want to look at in detail, a few chapters a week. Feel free to read along if you want.
- The Gormenghast series: Mervyn Peake’s magnum opus, containing some of the best purple prose I’ve ever read in my life. The tale of a decrepit castle and stifling traditional environment that suffocates its weird and wonderful inhabitants. With the exception of a few subplots, the stories of the first two books feel like a finely-tuned machine serving delicious melodrama. The characters they detail that seem alien at first, but exhibit a weird charm and a strange ability to win my heart. It’s a good thing those first books are a self-contained story, because after that things fell apart. Peake’s health took a nosedive and impaired his writing ability, compounding with his desire to continue Titus’s story with a radically different installment to create a regrettable mess.
- Legends: Eleven successful authors with their own established universes each contributed a short story set in those world for this collection. These stories aren’t created equal, of course. The Discworld and Song of Ice and Fire entries held up just as well as I expected, while the Majipoor and Riftwar Saga ones (as well as the Wheel of Time story, I suppose) were pleasant surprises. The biggest letdown was the Dark Tower story, and everything else was of middling to no interest. I don’t know how easy it is to find the individual stories without having to get the whole book, but maybe other fantasy fans will have different opinions on which stories are better. Just be prepared for at least one of them to disappoint.