I Guess I’m a Robin Hobb Fan Now

I read so much as a child.

I still read quite a bit, but as a child and young teen I’d read for hours and hours, and for days and days. Reading for fun. (I read hour after hour in grad school as well, but that was a different kind of fun. In grad school I read to engage, as a child I read to escape.)

In my early teens I read buckets and barrels of sword & sorcery, and high fantasy, but at some point that kind of vaguely medieval, vaguely western Europe sort of novel (or, more typically, trilogy of novels) lost my favor. I probably haven’t read a half-dozen fantasies like that in the last forty years.

However, driven by my mind’s inability to engage with anything critically, I’ve been fishing around for escapist literature. For reasons I can’t fully recall, I picked up Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice, and I’ve been reading compulsively ever since.

This compulsive desire reminds me of youthful Saturdays when I’d lay on the couch all afternoon, with nothing more substantial planned than maybe snacks between chapters.

As of this writing I’m about a third of the way through the third volume of the first Farseer trilogy. I’d give even odds I’ll continue with more Hobb once this trilogy is done.

To call it escapist literature is not meant to be a slight against Hobb. She’s great! My mind is flooded with the detail of her world, and moved by the danger and desires of her characters, to the exclusion of the world around me. I can sink into the world Hobb creates, and for a brief window of time I don’t think about politics, or human cruelty. Fear of contagion and sickness is banished from my thoughts. The future is neither grim nor uncertain, because it is tightly bound in what happens over the next few pages, and I know that with a little patience that future will be revealed.

Once this Hobb phase has ended, and I have the cognitive energy to engage a bit more critically (assuming that day ever comes), I have The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson sitting at the top of my TBR pile.

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