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text 2017-03-21 20:47
Why I Love Urban Fantasy

I’ve been a fantasy reader all of my life.  I started as a little kid with books like Waldo the Jumping Dragon.  I continued as a teenager with The Lord of the Rings.  And although I still have an enduring love of the regular fantasy genre as well as science fiction, I have found my true love in the Urban Fantasy subgenre.

 

Urban fantasy seemingly has it all: vampires, werewolves, fairies/the Fae, spies, time-traveling librarians, Medusas, talking mice, druids, magicians, goblins, intergalactic inns, magic swords, you name it!  It also has a propensity towards tough, ass-kicking main characters, be they male or female.

 

But no matter how impressive the main character, they suffer from the same problems as you and I do.  They sometimes doubt their abilities (Seanan McGuire’s October Daye).  They have difficulty with their families (Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels trying to cope with her god-like father).  They struggle with their finances (Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden).  They experience confusion in their love lives (Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse).  They worry about their careers (Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant).  They make bad decisions that have lasting effects on their lives (Kevin Hearne’s Atticus O’Sullivan).  They’ve lost people who are important to them (Ilona Andrews’ Dina Demille).  They’re having problems with their supervisor at work (Genevieve Cogman’s librarian, Irene).  They struggle to provide for their families (Ilona Andrews’ Nevada Baylor).

 

In short, these characters share the same problems that we have in the mundane world.  Just as the Harry Potter books speak to regular kids’ problems (sports, tests, bullies, misunderstandings between friends), Urban Fantasy represents a subset of somewhat more adult problems. 

 

Plus, Urban Fantasy is all about relationships and not just romantic relationships.  Building a supportive circle of friends and allies.  Making a good reputation for yourself.  Finding a good partner, both in work and in love.  Finding out what you stand for.  Basically, it is about building a well-rounded life for oneself.

 

When the main character is female, she is generally a take-charge woman.  She’s a mechanic like Mercy Thompson or a vampire-librarian like Jane Jameson or an Inn Keeper like Dina Demille.  She’s got a quick wit and quicker reflexes.  They are us the way we would like to be.  I don’t know about you, but I always think of the perfect rejoinder about two days later and I often feel like I’m in danger of tripping over my own feet.  This is the REAL fantasy of these novels—the fantasy that allows up to enjoy this feeling of competence that is occasionally missing from the daily grind.

 

I love the hopeful nature of Urban Fantasy—the belief embodied in it that we can all find our place, find our people, and find our way in the world.

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text 2017-03-18 10:21
Why I Love Circus Books
Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus - James Otis
A Spark of Justice - J.D. Hawkins
Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
Joyland - Stephen King
The Life of P.T. Barnum, by Himself. Author's Ed - Phineas Barnum
Under the Big Top: A Season with the Circus - Bruce Feiler
The Advance Man: A Journey Into the World of the Circus - Jamie MacVicar
Mr. Stubbs's Brother: A Sequel to Toby Tyler (Illustrated Edition) (Dodo Press) - James Otis

Every child is enchanted by the idea of the circus at some point in their young life. For me, this began with the story of Toby Tyler, by James Otis, alternately titled Ten Weeks with a Circus. The story was also made into a movie called Toby Tyler as well as a radio dramatisation.

 

As I became an adult, I learned that the way animals were treated in the real life circus could be brutal at times and the big cats, whom I loved most, spent their lives in cages the size of a train car. Circuses are actually not legally allowed to keep animals in the UK. So, for me, the magic of the circus is relegated to fantasy; to the world of books.

 

While fiction satisfies my fascination with life behind the scenes of the circus, some non-fiction books are also very interesting, relating what this life was really like in the days when there was no regulation to speak of to keep the activities of circus folk completely legal. While circus is primarily a performance profession, there was a time when 'hooch tents' and violations of prohibition played a significant role on the seedy side of traveling entertainment.

 

Some stories relate this side of circus life as openly as the non-fiction books, like Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. The author did her research well and many incidents, including a very amusing situation involving an elephant stealing lemonade, came from real anecdotes from circus people. There are some sad incidents concerning animals in the annals of real circus life as well, but these I try to avoid.

 

Circus books are my fantasy circus, where animals are never mistreated and it's all about the magic of entertainment. I am, however, fussy about authors doing their research properly. I have an aunt who traveled with the carnival in her youth and she taught me the differences between the circus and the carnival. A fast way to get me to abandon a book is to write in a carnival setting and mention a Big Top or to refer to circus people as Carnies.

 

These worlds have a few things in common, but distinct differences. I loved how Stephen King got around all that in Joyland by setting the story in an amusement park owned by someone who had worked for both the circus and the carnival sometime in his past.

 

I recently found another book by James Otis on Amazon, Mr. Stubb's Brother, A Sequel to Toby Tyler. It was even free! Naturally this is high on my tbr, but I want to re-read Toby Tyler again first. These circus stories bring out my inner child and for just a little while, allow me to enter a world where it's all about the magic.

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text 2017-03-17 01:12
Why I love Reading

I know that these posts are supposed to be genre based, but that's not goint to work for me.

 

For me, reading is life.  I know it is for many of us on sites like this or Goodreads or Librarything.  Pick your poision.  You have more books than you know what to do with.  The ereader is the book haul.  Your bedroom or house is simply a place where you sleep or live with books.  It's library with an alternate function.

 

I was, am, never the out going one.  I am the shy one, the quiet one, the one with her head in the book because the best thing about human race in many class is literature.  At first, books are an escape.  There's magic.  There's horses.  There's dragons.  The underdog wins.  The unpopularity doesn't matter because the book doesn't care.  You meet people like you in books.  The characters don't give a damn what your hang ups are, and they don't betray you - at least not in the real world way.  You can forget, submerge, be on Mars, Krynn, MIddle Earth, Medevial France, the Tudor Court, a mole in a hole.  

 

And you can stop reading.  You are in control and not in control.  It's a good feeling.

 

Because books are there.  Once, you just needed a library card.  Now, you need a phone or computer.  

 

Then you get older, and you realize that books teach you.  That Robin McKinley's Hero and the Crown didn't just teach about story telling but about being a woman.  That non-fiction is worth reading too, even if it is about those long dead people.  

 

Non-fiction boards your mind.  Fiction does too.

 

It keeps you sane because it is the rabbit hole and the ruby slippers.  The way out, the way back.  It can protect you from those other humans, yet educate you about them too.

 

It is a way to make friends.

 

One of my oldest friends is my friend because we both loved The Hero and the Crown.  Today, we have many books in companion, and some we don't. I went to my first protest with my book club.   Every friend I have on a site like Booklikes or Goodreads is there because of books.  Books aren't about life; they are a key to life.

 

I love reading because it helped me find my voice.

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text 2017-03-16 17:41
Why I love Science Fiction and Fantasy books

Well, I'll jump in on the booklikes "Why I love"  round:

Once upon a time, a child's moving neighbor asked if they wanted any books before donated elsewhere.  Duh.  I was an avid reader of whatever variety of stuff found in school library, borrowed from friends and sporadic yard sales.  These boxes included authors like Lester Del Rey, Andre Norton, Robert A. Heinlein, Alan Dean Foster, Mercedes Lackey, Andrew J. Offutt, John Wyndham, Ron Goulart, J.R.R. Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey ... devoured, never looked back and have been hooked ever since by these greats of SF/Fantasy.

 

If it can start with "what if," "In a faraway," or "Once Upon a Time," count me in!

 

Oh, the possibilities.  The potential worldbuilding.  The "what if ..."  The potential "other," diversity or alien-ness for characters.  Societies and sociological switch-ups.  The exploration of furthest reaches of space, science and imagination.  The huge tapestry in which an author can create.  Escapism for me, please, but with a logic inherent to whatever the author has imagined.  Take me along for the ride and for a brief moment let me live in the world you made with your stories and your characters instead of mine,

 

Moon of Mutiny - Lester del Rey The Stars are Ours - Andre Norton,James J. Campanella,Uvula Audio Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert A. Heinlein  Arrows of the Queen - Mercedes Lackey  

 

Web Of The Spider - Andrew J. Offutt,Richard K. Lyon  The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham  The Panchronicon Plot - Ron Goulart  The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien  

 

Yes, those few unwanted boxes launched nearly 50 years of book love.  No genre beats the scope and elements of an excellent SF/Fantasy book.

 

Squee!  I'm a dancing fan poodle unable to write a good post about it.

 

(If you missed the blog post from booklikes, that was at http://blog.booklikes.com/post/1539266/let-s-share-book-love )

 

 

Source: blog.booklikes.com/post/1539266/let-s-share-book-love
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text 2017-03-16 17:31
Along with "Share book love"

...click or search the "why I love" tag to find new booklikers to follow.  

 

If reminded of some favorite reads when making your posts, go to those book pages afterwards and look at the community reviews.  It's another good way to find other booklikers to follow (maybe check their blog to see date of last activity to make sure still here).  As is checking out community reviews for books you are reading or reviewing ...

 

 

(If you missed the blog post from booklikes, that was at http://blog.booklikes.com/post/1539266/let-s-share-book-love )

 

Source: blog.booklikes.com/post/1539266/let-s-share-book-love
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