Life of a Book Hoarder

In Memory of Tanith Lee


I was sad to hear of the passing of Terry Pratchett earlier this year because it’s always sad to hear of the loss of a talented writer or artist. But I had yet to read any of his work – and even now, with one book under my belt, I don’t feel I “know” him the way I know other authors – and it didn’t affect me as deeply as it might have for other readers.

The recent passing of sci-fi and fantasy writer, Tanith Lee, had quite an impact on me however and I just wanted to say a little something about her.

She’s one of the authors who has made the biggest impression on me and who I’ve been reading the longest. I fell in love with her work in middle school with the Claidi Journals (did a little post about these here) and her Unicorn series and continued on to other marvelous works such as Silver Metal Lover and Biting the Sun as I grew older.

It’s a challenge for me to describe her work, because it’s so varied and also I just want to say “oh my gawd, I love it, just read anything.” But her characters are very complex, her worlds are strange and dark and full of fantastic technology or magic. She’s a great source of inspiration to me, as someone who would love to write her own novels someday. Also, check that cover art! Granted, that’s not her work, but most of her books have divine cover art and it just adds to my love of them.

At some point several years ago, I decided to collect (and read) all of her books. She’s written around 90 novels and over 300 short stories and I own about 60 novels at this time. Sadly, while I’ve been doing great on the collecting – as most of her novels are out of print – I’m behind on the reading. I think, like most, I don’t tend to think about the death of an artist (or anyone) I love, so I didn’t think there’d be any lack of new material coming my way. I was incredibly sad to learn of her passing and I am now going to focus on reading more of these fantastic novels that I own, to get to know her even better!

I’ve already started my mission by reading her first published novel, The Dragon Hoard, which is a children’s fairy tale. I’ll be posting a mini review of that over the next few weeks. I’m currently reading her first adult novel, The Birthgrave and loving it so far.

It’s depressing to know there won’t be any new worlds or characters coming from Tanith, however, I’m so happy that she has such a large body of work for me to explore, and I’ve already found several of her books that I enjoy re-reading. If you are a fan of fantasy and sci-fi, I highly recommend grabbing any of her work. Here’s a little blurb about her posted on Tor after her passing. I’ll leave you with a piece of her quote from that article that I simply love:

“But all lives are important, all people are important, because everyone is a book.”

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