I'm currently in Purgatory. I wake up, sleep through my day, and at night I flip open the pages of my latest book and weep. All because of Maps and Legends. It's just too good to follow.
In short, Michael Chabon's book of essays about everything from genre fiction (great essays!) to inspiration and the process of writing his early novels (fantastic!) to memoirs laced with lies to prove a point (get this guy a Guinness! brilliant!) has left me wanting more. Now I want a good mystery, a well thought out map, a journey through some fantastic land while being dragged along by carefully selected prose that brings the story to life.
I think the best books, and stories, inspire. Many of my revelations and enthusiasms have come from either films or books, be that a good or bad thing. And the best thing about Chabon's Maps and Legends is that it inspired me. Not only do I want to read a good mystery, or go back and walk through the forest of Mirkwood with Bilbo and Frodo, I'd love to write something. And even if it never sees the light of day, I'm thankful, because the fire that books like this ignite, the creative spirit they spark, is worth much more than the jacket price.
I say read this book. Not only does it have a really cool cover, what's in between isn't bad either.