At lunch today, after dashing over to the post office to drop off a manuscript and get some holiday stamps, I headed to the library to find something to read when I finish Frameshift (which very well could be this evening).
What a delight it is, wandering through the stacks. The local branch doesn’t have the best science fiction (or science section) for that matter (the Central library was far better), but is was good enough. I picked up three books:
1. Uncertainty by David Lindley which is research for the December short story.
2. Cauldron by Jack McDevitt which will hopefully quench my thirst for the kind of s.f. I thought I’d be getting with Incandescence.
3. Grace by Robert Lacey, and thereby hangs a tale.
Everyone has a guilty pleasure. For some its a TV show that they wouldn’t be caught dead watching. For others its cooking or shopping. For me, it’s a certain type of reading. I read science fiction for pleasure certainly, but also as a kind of scholar of the genre, as well as a writer. So for me, it’s a fulfills a combination of needs and desires. I read science and history to learn (and often to get ideas for stories). But there is one genre that I read entirely because it is what I would call a guilty pleasure: Hollywood biographies.
Now, I don’t usually mean biographies of living Hollywood people. I’m not at all interesting in Tom Cruise or Barbara Walters or anyone like that. I mean "golden age" movie stars. I loved reading Gary Giddin’s biography of Bing Crosby, A Pocketful of Dreams. I enjoyed very much several of George Burns’ books. So when I saw Grace sitting on the shelf today, I couldn’t resist. Grace Kelly is my favorite actress and how could I not read her biography. I’m looking forward to it.
Incidentally, depending upon the order in which these books are read (not fully determined yet), either Cauldron or Uncertainty will be the 400th book that I’ve read since January 1, 1996.