I saw Jennesa Dyck swing dancing with a bunch of friends at the outdoor stage in the Exchange District at the Winnipeg Jazz Festival earlier this summer. I approached her, we began talking, and our topic of conversation often circled around both books and reading.
What are you currently reading?
“Right now I'm reading four books. Well, I've started four books, at least. I'm not sure that I can claim to be currently reading all of them – it seems that I don't have as much free time for reading as I would like.
I'm halfway through Jean M. Auel's latest addition to the 'Earth's Children' series - The Land of Painted Caves. I didn't even know it had come out (or that she was working on it), but I happened to see it in McNally Robinson one day and so I bought it. I already own the rest of the books in the series, and the second one - Valley of Horses - is very probably my favourite book.
Auel should, however, have quit after Plains of Passage – the fourth book – because the one after that isn't very good and this one is even worse. I love these characters, but now the story line seems so dull and forced. It's as though she has taken too much interest in the history of the area, which is certainly fascinating, but it has completely overshadowed any semblance of a serviceable plot line or any interest in character development. Perhaps that's why I haven't gotten any further.
I'm also reading Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, but I haven't yet made it past the prologue. This one came at the very strong recommendation of a friend. He swears it's brilliant, but I'm reserving judgment for a time when I've read more than twenty-two pages of it.
The last two are both by Joel Nickel: The Shadow in the Darkness and Ouroboros. I'm reading both of them not only out of interest in the stories but also because I was asked to edit them. So far, so good, but it's difficult to get into a story when you're watching for grammatical errors and taking time to write comments in the margins before jumping back in. I will once again reserve judgment until I've had a chance to read them all the way through (without having to edit as I go).”
What is your preferred genre?
“I think that my favourite genre is probably fantasy (followed closely by historical fiction). This is most likely because I use reading as a means of escape from reality. I never read for pleasure during the school year (if I did, I'd never get any work done), so when I start reading in the summer I want it to be a relaxing experience.
I read when I want to wind down before bed, or when I want to spend an entire day just doing nothing – it's a way to turn my brain off and just enjoy existence without great effort.
With fantasy, I can just let the story take me away and let the characters do all of the work – it's effortless pleasure, and that's what I like best about it.”
A new THIN AIR streeter takes place right on the streets of Winnipeg every week. Next time, we could be walking up to YOU and asking questions about your book selections. Be ready!
- Joel Nickel