Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coming Up: Book Reviews, Quotes, London, and Blog Notes

Now that I'm beginning to settle in more fully up here in London, I thought I'd take a minute to give a preview of my upcoming posts for the rest of the month, as well as on into the rest of the semester.

First of all, I am long-finished with Warbreaker. I just haven't had time with the traveling and everything to write up my review. It should be posted by the end of the week. By that time, I will also have finished The Truth, by Terry Pratchett. So a review of that shouldn't be long in coming either.

Yeah, I know. The Truth wasn't on the initial reading list. Well, I said that list would be derailed, didn't I?

The story: a few days before I left the country, I stopped by my local library to drop some stuff off and I found a 25 cent book bin. Usually, when I take the time to check these, there isn't much worth mentioning. I always manage to find a book or two that I've either heard about or that spark my interest. But nothing spectacular or anything.

Well, that day, I found The Truth.

A footnote to this story: a few days before I went to the library (it may have been the night before, actually) I found a comment from Brandon Sanderson on Twitter where he said that The Truth was his favorite Pratchett. So, naturally, an endorsement from Brandon Sanderson is enough to get me to buy the book.

So that was that. I've been reading it at a rather leisurely pace for the past week and a half, and I should be finished any day now.

In a similar vein, today we stopped at the Surbiton Public Library. Now, neither of us has a library card yet, but we wanted to stop and look around anyway. (It's a very nice looking library. I'll have to take a picture next time.)

Within, I found a fantastic book about the use of rings in literary symbolism, specifically the history that Tolkien drew upon for his The Lord of the Rings. When I finally get a library card, I'm probably going to check that out, as ring as an object have always fascinated me and as a literary device they continue to draw me to using them (though I haven't really done so recently).

More relevantly, I found a cluster of shelves with books for sale. 20 pence each.

So... yeah, here's what I got:

 So, from right to left, we have:
The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch
Naked Empire, by Terry Goodkind
Metal Fatigue, by Sean Williams
Crossroads of Twilight: Book Ten of the Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan
Knife of Dreams: Book Eleven of the Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan

Here's the quick rundown:
Lies: Fantasy-heist story promoted to me as "just as good as Mistborn" by a close friend; we'll see if she's right.
Empire: I've never read Terry Goodkind, or Terry Brooks, or any of the other giants of epic fantasy from the pre- and early-90s; so I figure I should. Naked Empire is a standalone epic fantasy that Goodkind wrote following his Sword of Truth series. So we'll see how good it is.
(Note: I have this long-standing presupposition that just about every popular epic fantasy written between Tolkien and the 21st century is basically just bad Tolkien clones. There are, of course, exceptions. We're going to see if Goodkind is one of those, or even that I might be proven wrong.)
Fatigue: This is the one I'm taking the biggest chance on, in my mind. It's sci-fi. And I'm not as well-versed in sci-fi, despite my desire to dabble in it at some point in the future. Of course, I love the concept of sci-fi -- and the whole "imagining the future" concept to fiction. I just haven't made reading sci-fi as much of a priority as I have the fantasy. In addition, what little sci-fi I do read (outside of Star Wars, of course) I sometimes find difficult to get into because of it's often high-concept approach. (On the one hand, I love your detailed world-building and the depth of your knowledge about this "cutting-edge" scientific concept. I find it interesting, I really do. That being said, on the other hand, I just want to read a good story. I don't want you to preach to me about the wonders of X technology or whatever; and I definitely don't want you to tell me how horrible our current society is and how either a) We're going to end up in a living hell in the future because of what we're doing today, or b) We need to turn things around so we can be as great as this perfect Star Trek society that you're depicting. *ahem* Apologies. My bias against Sci-fi, much like my bias against early epic fantasy, should probably be discussed at another point in time.) Back to Metal Fatigue. This one is an award winner, it's concept sounds interesting, and it's written by one of the authors from the New Jedi Order series of Star Wars books (which, I'll admit, isn't much of a recommendation, but I'll take it + an Australian literature award over a bunch of unknowns). So, yeah, a brief foray into Science Fiction territory. We'll see how it goes.
The Wheel of Time books: These are the last two books before Brandon Sanderson picked up the series; they're also the only two books not currently included in a paperback boxed set. So, as soon as I get the Books 7-9 boxed set, I'll be set to read the whole series from start to finish next fall. (Well, I'll have to wait for the spring, when Sanderson publishes A Memory of Light, but I can at least get through what Robert Jordan wrote without having to stop and look for them at the library or anything). Also, I really like these British covers. For all the books.
I'll have to post larger pictures later.

Moving right along beyond the reading list.

I'm going to try posting a selection of quotes on writing (and life in general) near the end of each month. So keep an eye out for that. We'll see how it goes.

I've been taking pictures during my time here in London, though I haven't been here long yet. I'm going to try making a point of giving at least one London update a week, and probably include some pictures with it. I know I didn't have any with the first London post, so I'll try to get those up in a separate post sometime this week.

As a final note for this "end of the month" stuff, I've been following a number of blogs somewhat randomly. Several have jumped out at me, while others have kind of faded into obscurity. It was difficult to choose one to follow for an entire month, so I'm just going to post links to some of my favorite articles that I've read during the past month. We'll see how that goes, and I'll try proving myself more dedicated during the months to come.

Alright, that's all for now. The writing has started back up again. We're currently sitting at 19,500 words out of our projected goal of 500k. I budgeted 20k words for this month, so we're right no track, but the pace is going to have to double soon if I hope to reach the goal.

1 comment:

  1. Great Googly Moogly! When you said you bought awesome books, I was going to rib you about Lamora... and you got it! HUZZAH! Read it first! Then make L.E. read it! Then get the sequel! And tell me what you think! *dissolves into excited fan-ness*