Posts from the ‘Books’ Category

…Not Quite What I Expected

So, despite my very negative reaction to Game of Thrones, I decided to give George R. R. Martin another shot. I’m making my way through his vampire novel, Fevre Dream – I figured his brand of brutality would make for some chillingly evil vampires (which modern literature needs more of, IMHO).

Alas, his vampires seem to be following the Anne Rice model of suave, seductive, and alluring. One of them has ripped a few throats out, but it’s all been very tame reading overall. I’m hoping things will spice up a bit as I get farther in, but I’m already at 140 pages…

 

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Adventures in Reading 3: The Dislikes

White_nightWhile 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

Adventures in Reading, The Sequel: What I Liked

DF02-FoolMoon-2001paperbackSo 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”

Awesome Bookstore Find!

I found the best thing at Barnes & Noble last week!

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It’s a Hobbit-sized copy of The Hobbit! It fits perfectly in my purse, so now I can have something fun to read wherever I go. 😀 To make it even better, it’s leather-bound, got gilt-edged pages, and high quality copies of the maps and Tolkien’s illustrations. And (best of all), despite its tiny size, it’s the full story – not abridged!

This was one of those times when I just had to buy it… you know those times when you just look at something and go:

download (1)

download (2)

Yeah… that’s pretty much what happened.

Seven Deadly Sins of Reading

f6ffb5a941bb472610e4a65ffca7909bSo, I found this idea over at LaurenReadsYA, but the original idea comes from BookishMalayza on YouTube.

Sin #1: Greed – What is your most expensive book, and what is your most inexpensive book?

My most expensive books are my Easton Press Leather-bound Classics, which ran at about $45 per book. Back when I lived with my parents (and thus had no rent, grocery bill, utilities to pay, etc.) I bought one a month for a couple of years, so I’ve amassed quite a collection that includes titles like Dracula, The Time Machine, Little Women, Ivanhoe, Frankenstein, Don Quixote, Paradise Lost, and Dante’s Inferno.

My least expensive books come from Friends of the Library book fairs and go as low as $0.50 a pop. A lot of my paperback fantasy novels come from there, like my collection of Ursula K Le Guin’s Earthsea books and my Star Wars EU novels.

Sin #2: Wrath – Which author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

I tend to either love an author or hate him… I very rarely vacillate between the two. Maybe Charles Dickens? I recognize that he’s a master of his craft and has brought a lot to our literary traditions. I enjoy his wordplay and deft use of symbols and visual names, but… it’s such a depressing slog to get through his stories. Hard Times and Great Expectations had me frothing at the mouth in frustration, but I really enjoy the movie adaptations of Nicholas Nickleby (on the To-Read List, but I’m a little scared to start it) and A Tale of Two Cities. Besides, as an English Literature Major, I feel kinda obligated to like him.

Sin#3: Gluttony – What book have you deliciously devoured over and over again, with no remorse whatsoever?

Pride & Prejudice, Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels novels.

Sin #4: Sloth – What book have you neglected reading due to laziness?

Published: Nicholas Nickleby (from a mix of laziness and trepidation). Unpublished: My mom’s work of sci-fi from her earlier years. I’m sorry, Mom! I will read it, I promise!!! I’m almost out of school!

Sin #5: Pride – What book do you most talk about in order to sound like a very intellectual reader?

Honestly? Whatever book I’m reading in my senior level college English courses. This tactic has taken  me through Spencer’s The Faerie Queene, Dante’s Inferno, Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte D’Arthur, the poems of Lord Byron (which I hate), Shakespeare, and the works of William Blake. Add in a disdain for James Joyce, and I can sound as well-read and intellectual as you like… then just mention Doctor Who and I’ll devolve back into a frothing nerd. 😉

Sin #6: Lust – What attributes do you find most attractive in male or female characters?

I like my literary men a little gruff and overprotective of the women in their lives (only a little, mind you, too much and I get grumpy). I also like them consistent – a character that blows super rude and then super sweet all in the name of inner conflict will chase me away.

Sin #7: Envy – What books would you most like to receive as a gift?

Oohhhh, the list I have. The Harry Potter box set (the nice hardcover one) is pretty high on my list. Leather-bound copies of the classics are up there too – I tend to drool over my friends’ libraries full of pretty books.

Book Fair Haul

So, we had our Friends of the Library Book Fair this weekend!

I actually didn’t know about this one til my little sis called me up and was like, “You wanna go with me and Mom tomorrow?”

“Me? Want to go to a book fair?” I asked. “Weellll… let me think… um, DUH!!” And so the engagement was made.

I actually got quite a few books this time.

  • Tehanu by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Od Magic by Patricia McKillip
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (hardback, gilt-edged)
  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (for my dad)

All for $7; not bad, if I do say so myself! 😀

So, my To Read List has just gotten exponentially longer.

Snapshot of a Book

White_nightRandom Book Meme

Instructions:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the 5th sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal… along with these instructions.

“I lifted both eyebrows at him.”

From Jim Butcher’s White Night, which somehow ended up on my side of the computer desk, despite the fact that The Beloved Husband is the one reading it (he’s moving through the series very quickly!).

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