When I boarded an Amtrak train in Boston in December 1994, heading for Whitefish and from there to land, for good this time, in Missoula, I carried several important things with me. Some were items I had realized, on the train trip eastward four months previously, would come in handy. You know, slippers, a sleeping bag, earplugs, whiskey.
I also carried three books.
They were a gift from a boy I’d flirted with all fall, despite, or maybe because of, the fact that I was moving to Montana to be with my boyfriend. He was a rich kid; they were hardcovers.
One by Charles DeLint, short stories I think. That one didn’t do much for me,
One was The Eye of the World, the first book in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. The series currently stands at 12 books and over 11000 pages, and is being written by a new author who took over, using the original notes, after the original author died in 2007. There will most likely be two new books. Had I known I’d still be reading this series almost 20 years later…. I probably would have read it anyway. But I never recommend anyone START this series at this point. (Well, maybe I’d recommend it to an epic-fantasy-loving teenager.) I will read the remaining books when they are released but I’m not in a big hurry. It’s more like finishing a project I started a long, long time ago.
The last book of the three was The Assassin’s Apprentice, by Robin Hobb. It, too, turned out to be the first in a series that would run to 11 books so far, with two more expected. Unlike the Jordan, I HAVE recommended this series many times– including to Josh, who has actually read the entire thing too. For one thing, the books run to about 500 pages each, not over a thousand. For another thing, the “series” is actually comprised of four separate sub-series (The Farseer, Mad Ships, and Tawny Man trilogies, and the Rain Wilds Chronicles) which continue to develop the scope of the world, the characters, and the storylines. The characters are wonderful, rich and never drawn in cliche sketches (again, unlike the Jordan.) I am not only committed to finishing the series, I hope she keeps going, and going, and going, building more and more of her stories’ world, so I can keep visiting it.
(In fact, I just ordered a copy of the newest one which just came out last month. Woo!)