The second half of 2012 was a catastrophically busy time, and the majority of 2013 looks to be equally busy. One of my resolutions for the coming year was to be more careful to make my limited leisure time count–when I don’t have a lot of time to re-charge, I have to try and re-charge efficiently.
The vast majority of my work time and a significant portion of my play time is spent on a computer or at a desk, stringing words together. When I need to genuinely unwind, I find that what works best are reading, exercise, and making some kind of art or craft. Over the years I’ve made quilts, jewelry, furniture–all sorts of things. What’s interesting is that nowadays, thanks to the miracle of modern technology, I can now combine one or two of these re-charge activities at the same time. Audiobooks allow me to read and exercise, or read and work with my hands, all at the same time!
Over the Christmas break this winter I decided to dip my toe into the waters, and try a few e-books. My daughter has always been a big fan of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden novels, and I discovered that the audiobook versions were going to be read by James Marsters (who played “Spike” on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel). Win-win!
I downloaded the first and thoroughly enjoyed Marsters reading the first-person narrator of Butcher’s books. It was excellent! And I’m now on my third audiobook in the series, genuinely enjoying the quiet, reflective moments when I sit painting figurines and terrain pieces, sewing or sketching, and listening to a story spin out on my iPad.
On a personal note: I find Harry Dresden to be an interesting character. The style and format Butcher has chosen inevitably recall Laurell Hamilton, just as Hamilton herself inevitably recalls the first-person hardboiled detective novels and romance novels that serve as antecedents to her own work. Butcher has not stinted on his world-building, and he has created not only a consistent magical system, but a consistent system of ethics, law and justice to go along with it–an important component of any fictional universe which contains Very Special People.
In general I find Harry a sympathetic character, but I think I was somehow on the fence about him until a critical scene in the third novel, Grave Peril. That was when Butcher genuinely surprised me, and made me laugh out loud–which is hard to do with a book, believe me.
The man who fought a demon in the howling rain dressed in nothing but the suds he hadn’t washed off in the shower?
The man who threw himself out of a moving car to stop a truck full of werewolves with a blast of eldritch power?
Him, I could take or leave. Action heroes, however bumbling, are a dime a dozen.
But the guy who showed up at the Vampire Masquerade Ball dressed in a cheesy Halloween vampire costume, complete with a moth-eaten cape, plastic fangs and fake blood…
…that’s a man I could love.
I like a guy who makes me laugh.