Bad title for a thread, but I didn't want to say "You can have a bigger penis in three days" because nobody would open it. I'm old, but I'm new to fantasy. I've read bits and pieces over the years, but not near as much as most of you. How do you prefer a writer to give the background for the culture or society where their story is taking place? I started Kushiel's Dart a couple of weeks ago, but I put it back down pretty quick. Ms. Carey is starting with lots of information and detail, and it almost reads like a textbook. It's being narrated, or at least it feels like narration. But I don't know who the narrator is or how or if he/she fits into the story, so I'm just not caring too much. Someone told me the book continues in that vein, and for me, it's boring. On the other hand, I also put down Gardens of the Moon not that long ago because I didn't feel I was getting *enough* background to get me to become involved in the story. But then I started The Bone Doll's Twin by Lynn Fewelling (sp?) and she seems to be striking the perfect balance between telling the story and expounding on the culture. I'm getting acquainted with the characters and picking up just enough bits and pieces to want to know more. I'm not lost, and I'm staying interested. So how do you folks want it? Do you want sort of a history at the start, so you know who's who and what's what? Or do you prefer to learn gradually? Maybe an analogy would be in traveling. Do you want to be on the tour bus or would you prefer to take off on your own?