BOOK & BLOG
|March 25, 2007
Books of the Week
I recently emailed back and forth with a friend whos at a similar crossroads to the one where I stood a few years ago. Shes trying to decide what to write next. Since shes incredibly talented, she could write anything. But she might try a paranormal, or an urban fantasy, or whatever you want to call it. To give her a taste for the field, heres the reading list I recommended:
1. Guilty Pleasures, Laurell K. Hamilton
Of course, I debated adding MaryJanice Davidsons first Betsy book, Undead and Unwed, but I didnt think my friend would become a comedy writer. Probably I should have thrown that one in there, too.
So, do you think this was the right list? Right away, I began second-guessing myself. Maybe Lilith Saintcrow? I did recommend Jim Butcher too, and Christine Feehans DARK series, just to give her two ends of the spectrum. Are there others I shouldve included? It gave me a picture of just how far the field has come in the past three or four years. I was right there just after the beginning, and I hope Im still standing at the end.
I think these six books stand the test of time, and I think theyre fairly representative of the paranormal genre. They are books I would reread. Thats my rule of thumb for keeping books on my shelves. I have to winnow through my library every now and then, and there are books that I finally donate to the library because I realize I will never open them a second time. I hate that moment, but sometimes thinning the shelves is necessary, with a never-ending stream of books coming in.
Those are the books I picked, and I hope she enjoys each and every one of them as much as I did.
You may think I work in the theme of softball too much, but I can only say I think about whats in front of me, and these days softball is in front me. These three months our daughter is playing on her school team, and come May shell be playing on a tournament (or traveling) team. With so much time spent at various ballparks around the south, you can bet softballs much on my mind.
At a tournament this past weekend, one coach decided to present his team with a bad lesson. Youre all familiar with sports similes, Im sure. Ministers use them in their sermons, politicians use them in their speeches. Some of these lessons are good: work as a team, know each others strengths and weaknesses, support and encourage the efforts of your teammates. Theres also: respect your coach, listen to her signals, and when you act, commit to that action.
But this coach, and he happened to be male, though I dont think thats particularly significant, had another set of rules. His team was blessed with a good pitcher, a very important component of a successful softball team. The coachs team was beating their opponents, a team that was having a bad, bad, day and also was not blessed with a great pitcher. They were beating them bad: like, 8 to nothing, and the score was mounting, all on one side. The losing team got more and more dispirited.
What does a winning coach do, at that point? The game is clearly won. A winning coach that is rational and sporting will take out his best pitcher and put in his second-best. This works two ways: its saves the arm of No. 1 pitcher, and it gives the stomped opponents the chance to earn back some self-respect by getting on base and maybe scoring a run or two. The winning coach will also hold back his runners from stealing, just a bit, by the same reasoning. Especially when the score rises to something like 14 to zip.
But this coach wasnt gifted with mercy, common sense, or sportsmanship. He left his number one pitcher in. He sent his girls running at every opportunity. He seized the occasion to use the other team as a training exercise.
Is this illegal? Heck, no. And many coaches would agree with his viewpoint.
Is this unsportsmanlike? Of course it is. What messages does this style of coaching send to the players? Lets see: kick your opponent while shes down, to make sure she stays down. Never relent. Exploit every resource you have to its maximum, even if its exhaustible. Deny the other team any respect.
The final score? Eighteen to nothing. The final cost? Well see that in the future, when the young women under his care and teaching grow up and go out into the world.
© 2009 Charlaine Harris