Happy Friday, folks, and welcome to Chasing Maybes (or, “Adventures in Pushing Myself to Do Stuff I Ordinarily Wouldn’t Choose to Do and Writing About It”). This week has pretty much siphoned the lifeblood out of me, and I am ready to be entertained. How about you?
Reading is one of my favorite forms of entertainment. I don’t consider myself to be particularly choosy when it comes to reading material — I’m the passenger who reads the Southwest magazine cover to cover on the airplane — but some stories appeal to me more than others. I love richly-drawn characters. I love fresh perspectives. I love imperfect endings. I love Anne Tyler and John Irving.
My husband loves Robin Hobb and George R.R. Martin.
For as long as I’ve known him, his leisure reading choices have come from Science Fiction/Fantasy, an aisle I enthusiastically sprint away from at bookstores. I like to refer to his literary preferences as “unicorn books,” a designation he roundly disputes (“There are absolutely no unicorns in this book!” he once huffed. “It is possible that there is a gnome, a few necromancers, and a disappearing elf… but absolutely no unicorns.”)
Still, it is evident that Steve is in good company with his love of fantasy novels. George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones books have been made into a hit HBO miniseries by the same name, and Harry Potter has been laughing his way to the bank for years. Much of the world, it seems, craves otherworldly escape. I guess I’m the outsider.
When I told Steve my idea for this Chasing Maybes project, that I would spend the next six months pursuing experiences I had previously eschewed based on Trivial Pursuit categories, I saw his eyes light up. From the excitement on his face, I instantly understood that, at some point during the month of June, I would be reading a unicorn book.
“Please,” I muttered under my breath at this realization, “just don’t let it feature a half-dressed sorceress taming a dragon its cover.”
For this sub-project, I asked Steve to select a fantasy book for me to read, a novel he generously downloaded to his laptop last night. The book is Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, and it is the first in a series of seven novels. The series is considered “urban fantasy,” meaning it takes place in an actual city (in this case, Atlanta) but contains elements of magic, mythology, and/or the paranormal. I considered it a beautiful coincidence that the protagonist, Kate Daniels, shares the name of my college creative writing professor, the award-winning poet. One Kate is a saber-packing mercenary with a smart mouth, and one is a bespectacled sparrow with illegible handwriting. In college, I idolized the poet Daniels. Give me a hundred more pages and I’ll let you know how I feel about the mercenary.
Because my husband downloaded Magic Bites for me, I didn’t actually see the book’s cover art until today.
I realize the image is small, so perhaps you can’t make out the low-cut leather bodice Kate is sporting or the enormous lion to her left. I guess the next time I am judging a book by its cover, I’ll need to be less specific.
I plan to finish this foray into fantasy this weekend, so I will give my full report on Monday.
I hope you slay some dragons this weekend. Thanks for showing up.