Posts tagged ‘Books’
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…
Booking Through Thursday prompts:
“I want you to think about your ideal reading experience. Think about the location. (Your bed? Favorite chair? The beach? Indoors or outdoors?). Think about the sounds. (Is there music playing? Happy children playing in the background? Utter silence?) Is there a snack or beverage nearby? Are you alone or with friends/family (presumably being quiet enough for you to read in peace)? What kind of lighting is there? Are you dressed in something ultra-comfy? What’s your position? Curled up? Stretched out?
Now … describe it so that we can all feel exactly how perfect it is … and why.”
I’m stretched out in bed wearing my comfiest, fluffiest pajama bottoms and a light tank top, snuggled under the flannel sheets and our blue comforter, a pile of pillows behind my head. Beside me, the Beloved Husband props himself up against his own stack of pillows and reads a book of his own. Occasionally, I reach over to play with his hair and he’ll stroke the side of my foot with his own. At the foot of the bed, the cat stretches across both of us, purring – a little heated foot massage!
The window is cracked open to let in some of the cool night air. Through it also drifts the sounds of crickets chirping and the occasional car driving past on the road outside our home. It smells of damp concrete and freshly cut bushes.
The yellow light of my bedside lamp gives our small bedroom a warm glow. Right next to the lamp on my bedside table rests a steaming mug of chamomile tea (or cold milk, if it’s summertime) and a plate of peanut butter and honey toast.
The Beloved Husband and I read together until we start to doze. Then off goes the light and we cuddle up to go to sleep. A perfect end to a long day.
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”