The Common Room is Open
What are you reading these days?
Next to the downtown public library here in Vancouver, there’s a pub called the Library Square Public House where rumor has it well-off university kids love to drink, because when mom and dad get the credit card statement it says Library on the bill and they can play it off as having spent money on textbooks. I don’t know if there’s any truth to that story, but I was reminded of it while thinking about Braelorne Academy and the school house common rooms.
The common room was like a dream clubhouse. Heavy woven carpets covered most of the stone floor. Several comfortable leather couches and armchairs were positioned in the middle of the room and around each of the two fireplaces at either end of the room. Every couch or chair had a little side table nearby, and most were lit by soft lamps giving off a cozy glow. There were even three ancient looking arcade cabinets in one corner. Finn knew what PAC-MAN was, but he’d never heard of Galaga or Wizard of Wor. Still, it was better than nothing, he supposed. As long as he didn’t have to pay for them.
The common room is a staple in the world of The Traveling Librarian as well. Most inns in Tellen have a common room where guests can take meals if the establishment provides them, socialize with other travelers, or even sleep on the floor or a bench if they can’t afford a proper room.
Most of you are probably subscribed to a few author newsletters, and the thing about a classic newsletter is that it’s a one-way communication tool. I can send you updates, and though you can reply to me, there’s no way for all of you to connect with one another. Part of the reason I chose to switch to this platform for my own newsletters is the ability to open comment threads for anyone to join, be it for a Q&A or just a bit of casual chitchat. I’d like to use this space to create something more than just another mailing list where I subtly nudge you into buying my books. In theory, you’re all here because you love reading fantasy novels. If you’ve read and enjoyed any of the Alex Black books or last week’s Mrink & Mrank story you like reading my fantasy novels. If that’s true, I’m guessing there’s a lot more we have in common, so it’s my hope some of you are keen to grow this little space in to a cozy community of readers.
So come tell us what you’re reading!
Or if you’d rather, recommend your favorite book of all time, share what part of the world you’re logging in from, or just say hello!
I’m absolutely loving Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirlees, a book Neil Gaiman has called one of the finest fantasy novels in the English language. Since I’m only a few chapters in, I’ll leave it up to Neil to describe the story:
The book begins as a travelogue or a history, becomes a pastorale, a low comedy, a high comedy, a ghost story and a detective story. The writing is elegant, supple, effective and haunting: the author demands a great deal from her readers, which she repays many times over.
And guess what? Lud-in-the-Mist just went into the public domain, which means you can download it from Project Gutenberg absolutely free.
Next week I’ll be back with a progress report, so until then I’ll see you in the common room!