It's back-to-school time, and I'm crunched: prepping classes, creating last-minute syllabi for classes I haven't taught before, trying to find the office decoration balance between what's appropriate for students to see and what I want to spend my time looking at. Which means the Radiohead poster is in, but the holographic album cover from Their Satanic Majesties Request? Not so much.
And in the midst of all of this, when I don't have a single moment to spare, along comes a review copy of Collin Kelley's Conquering Venus. I pick it up. I read the blurbs. And suddenly, I find myself taking "just a minute" I don't really have to read just the Prologue. Okay, just the first chapter or two. Or five. (I think you see where this is going.)
Flash forward a few days. I still haven't finished my syllabus for tomorrow's class, but I somehow found the time to go to Borders and buy an Itty Bitty Book Light so that I can keep reading Conquering Venus late at night without waking anyone up. Addictive? Yeah. Pretty much. Poetic? Yes. Compelling? Absolutely. But I'm not going to give out any plot details or spoilers. One of my pet peeves is knowing too much about a book or movie going in and having preconceived notions or expectations either way. What I will do is tell you the five things that will happen when you read this book:
1) You will remember the differences between poetry and fiction and be grateful for an author who can write both--and who blurs the genres in such a satisfying way.
2) You will want to travel. Again. Or still. Or all of a sudden.
3) About 1/4 of the way in, you will start imagining which actors would play which characters in the movie version of the book. Thinking about the movie version, and imagining these actors smooching, will get you more than a little hot.
4) You will buy an Itty Bitty Book Light if you don't already have one so that you can keep reading. Or, if you have the time to devote to it all at once, you will devote that time. Happily.
5) You will be grateful for the fact that this is part of a trilogy, but at the same time, you'll find yourself a little foot-stampy and impatient to know what happens next. And that's a really good thing.
It's just too bad I can't assign it on my syllabus.