Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stalking Sarah Waters

So maybe not stalking exactly, but I've become highly interested in Sarah Waters' work all of a sudden. Several weeks ago, I discovered that B&N has a video podcast I can access through Apple TV, and I watched an interview with Waters dealing largely with her latest book, The Little Stranger.

To preface this post a little more, I've heard NOTHING but really wonderful things about Waters' work. I really have no frackin' clue why I haven't read any of her stuff beyond the fact that her books are ALWAYS checked out of my library. ALWAYS. It's crazy to me that years-old books still have holds on them. It must be proof positive that I'm missing something really good.

Now that I've decided to read Waters' work, I'm torn as to how I want to go about it. Should I be systematic and start from the beginning? Should I jump into the book that appeals to me most?

Looking over her catalog of material, Affinity definitely grabs me the most. Of course, I've been bowled over by all the praise for Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet, but from a purely premise-based judgement, I REALLY wanna read Affinity. The very short blurb that grabs me by the hair:
From the dark heart of a Victorian prison, disgraced spiritualist Selina Dawes weaves an enigmatic spell. Is she a fraud, or a prodigy? By the time it all begins to matter, you'll find yourself desperately wanting to believe in magic.
 Right ON! Sounds creepylicious and intriguing. Furthermore, I admit to having sort of a fascination with prisons. While that sounds completely weird, it's just true. Old prisons, new prisons, open prisons, derelict prisons. If there's a prison show: Ghost Hunters investigation, National Geographic expose, I'm there. When I was watching the Waters interview and heard "prison," my ears perked up. A Victorian women's prison??? Even better! How often do we get to read about those!

I suppose my fascination with prisons comes from a long line of movies and TV--some fiction, some non. While prisons hold the seediest, most dangerous members of our society, they are a mixed bag of evil and kindness, deprivation and rehabilitation. Movies like The Shawshank Redemption have certainly had some bearing on my fascination. Beyond that, documentary series like National Geographic's Lockdown have also fed my interest in recent years.

At this point I think I've pretty much talked myself into purchasing Affinity for my Nook, but I still want to know which of Sarah Waters' books would you recommend to start?

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