So, I have fallen woefully behind in my book reviews, both here and over at FindStuff2Read. My newest resolution is to write one book review a week – two for this blog and two for FS2R (which you should check out btw – it’s run by Shannon Howell, who runs an awesome blog of her own).
Other than that, I just hope to keep not missing updates.
So, having graduated and earned my BA, I now get to answer the fun question of What To Do With An English Degree. And, of course, while I ponder this question, my mind goes to…
Pride & Prejudice!!!
See, I do have an idea of what I want to do. I want to be an editor, preferably for books. I could also happily edit and ghost write for magazines and blogs though – and I’ve taken what steps I can towards getting actual experience in these fields so that I’m not jumping in totally cold and inexperienced. But, even with this groundwork that I’m laying, I actually have no idea of how long it will take for me to land a job in my desired field, much less my “dream job”.
So, the question now is, am I going to be Lizzy or Charlotte?
Lizzy said that nothing short of the deepest love was going to induce her into matrimony – and she held out for it. At the risk of dying a poverty-stricken old maid with no home of her own, she refused to settle for anything less than her ideal. And, let’s face it, it did pay off for her.
Charlotte, on the other hand, made a very practical choice and “settled” for a comfortable home and a secure future, even if it meant that she didn’t have a steamy romance. As she seemed very content with her choice even at the end of the book, we must conclude that it paid off for her as well.
How these musings apply to me goes into how far outside my field am I willing to look for a steady job. Do I take what I can find that pays well and ensure a steady income for the Beloved Husband and I? Or do I hold out for that dream editing job somewhere in the nebulous future and only pursue jobs in that field?
And how much of this do I have to decide now?
Will I be Charlotte or Lizzy?
While I’ve been enjoying my time in the Dresden series, there have been a few things the series lacks.
First and foremost is the problems that arise from the constant narration. The first-person narration is one of my favorite parts of Jim Butcher’s writing in these books, but on occasion there will be whole soliloquies in the middle of a scene about what’s happening or various motivations. That brings up another small gripe, the over-explanation leaves no room for subtlety.
My wife has rarely re-read this series, though she loves it dearly and now I can really see why. While the writing is fun and the stories are good, I don’t expect that multiple reads will allow greater discovery of the characters. In Dresden, people’s motivations are almost always made clear, unless purposefully stated that they’re unclear, and there’s no room for greater explorations of the characters. When everything is laid out, there’s nothing left to look at in the characters.
If you contrast this with a book like Pride and Prejudice (the Wonderful Wife’s favorite, as you know), the difference is so stark in that the motivations of the characters are so hidden that every time you see the story again you gain a further knowledge of why a character acts this way or does that.
The Dresden novels simply seem to lack subtlety. If it’s important, it will get explained. I would assume that this derives from the writing process itself, that writing a ~450 page novel every year leaves very little time to take out what doesn’t need to be told.
That said, I have liked my time in the Dresden files so much and look forward to waiting with my wife for the next new one.
- Written by the Husband of the Bookwyrm
“So I liked several things about the Dresden series. First of all, I really enjoy the first-person narrative. I felt that this allowed me to really get into the character of Dresden in a way that I can’t get interested in most books’ protagonists.
In the Lord of the Rings, for example, none of the characters are particularly endearing to me because they don’t really seem to have any distinct voice or motivations. The narration tends to spend much more time on what they’re doing than why they’re doing it. In Dresden, Jim Butcher writes from a perspective of Dresden looking back on the events so this includes all of his motivations, thought processes, and of course snarky humor.
The humor was another thing that really drew me in. It ties together each event in the book in a cohesive voice and makes me much more interested in what’s going to happen next. The fleshing out of Dresden in particular made me actually care about what he was doing and why he was doing it.
Butcher also adds in a few flaws to keep him relatable. Dresden is shown as pig-headed, chivalrous in company that doesn’t want it, quick to anger, and sometimes quite dense, but he will always try to do the right thing (it’s even written on his tombstone).
I finished Storm Front a bit over halfway through my stay in New Orleans and ended up having to download the second book Fool Moon on my phone to keep reading before I got back. Unfortunately I dropped the reading habit when I returned home and was quickly distracted; luckily though, I returned to New Orleans this year. Thinking ahead, I politely asked for two Dresden Files and managed to finish the second of those on the ride back into town. This time, so far, I haven’t dropped off in my reading (something the wonderful wife is quite happy about) and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon. On Friday, I’ll share some of the things I haven’t enjoyed quite so much about the Dresden Files
- Written by the Husband of the Bookwyrm”