First thing’s first. It is so difficult to spy the titles of books on e-readers. Seriously you guys. How am I supposed to stalk you and your literary choices (and our collective bibliophilia) when your kindle doesn’t have a cover with the title in a nice large font that is easy to see from several rows away? What about ME?
Anyway, while squinting painfully at a kindle/nook/whatever over someone’s shoulder the other day, all I could make out was “Robert Jordan” and “Wheel of Time” (although this was only after deciding that there was no way it was called “Wheel of Limes”). Once I did some research and realized that this the title of a series with about a dozen books in it, I was a little disappointed that I hadn’t seen which particular book the man was reading. But now I realize that it probably doesn’t matter, as it appears that I stumbled onto more than just one book. This is “a book” in the same way that the world of warcraft is “a video game.”
Full disclosure time. I went through a Fantasy phase in middle school. Well, I imagine we all did, but I’m talking about “Fantasy” as a genre of literature. I remember reading the Sword of Shanara and the other books that were in the trilogy. I loved books that came with a little map in the first few pages that you’d have to revisit time and time again as you followed the protagonist on his quest in a mystical world with forests teeming with ogres and fears of Elvin magic. It was just escapism plain and simple. I think there is something incredibly satisfying in stories where good and evil exist in their unalloyed forms and are often personified by individual characters. How easy it would all be if the world were so simple! (Sidebar: I think the Harry Potter series has done a great job of tapping into this yearning).
When I started doing my first few google searches for the Wheel of Time, my results revealed that it was not just a book, nor a series of books, but an online community. And this is no recent social fad: the first book was published twenty years ago. The final book is slated for publication next year. As World of Warcraft is known by its fans as WoW, so too is the Wheel of Time known by its faithful as WoT. The message board speaks of WoT themed weddings and there is a forum that discusses “…ale brewing, and Deathwatch Gardener battle tactics.”
How could that not be fun?