Allegraphy

pen nibs and india ink. notebooks.


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It’s been a while…

So, let’s play catch-up:

In July, I managed to rip through an impressive amount of books (although few were on my list):

  1. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
  2. Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
  3. Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
  4. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
  5. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
  6. Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
  7. All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
  8. From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
  9. Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
  10. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
  11. Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
  12. Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris
  13. Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
  14. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (which also included a re-read of A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night)

 

Currently, I am reading Jim Butcher’s latest Dresden Files book, Skin Game, which should be completed before the end of the month.

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Earlier this year I also completed:

  • Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
  • The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson


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Because I never read what I intend to…

So, this one time, I didn’t read the book I was supposed to…and regretted it.

Instead of jumping back in to Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings like I said I would I slapped Terry Goodkind’s newest SOT series book, The Third Kingdom, into my ipod.  Why?  Because I am a dumbass.

Also, I intended to leave off this novel in order to go through the entire series from front to back.

But now, I am stuck remembering why Goodkind’s writing can rub me the wrong way at times.  It isn’t the story that bothers me so much, but the actual presentation of it through the writing.  Sometimes I feel like I am being:  A) tortured with unnecessary repetition; or B) lectured; or C) being held away from the action by narrative explanation instead of being in the action itself (the show v. tell factor).

Even though it irritates me at times, I still like the overall original series (Books 1-11) possibly because it was the first full-blown fantasy series I read.  I’m holding off on this second arc until it is complete before I make a judgment…

I swear I will get to Sanderson eventually…!


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King Solomon’s Mines

I said I’d get around to writing about this.  Don’t hold your breath.

  • Book:  King Solomon’s Mines
  • Author:  H. Rider Haggard
  • Publication year:  1885

King Solomon Mine coverThis book is supposed to be the genesis of all “lost world” genre books.  But, to me, it screams bigoted colonialism which pisses me off in any genre.  I don’t like the view (especially when it is author driven and not just character driven) that anyone–no matter race, gender, or beliefs–should be written off as a simpleton just because of a difference in technology and customs.

Yes.  I could be diplomatic and say Haggard was a creature of his time and values.  Well, times change.  Novels don’t.

If you can get around the arrogant “white man is the superior being” language in the text, the tale isn’t dreadful.  It does feel a bit simple–more like a teenage adventure tale–but there are still twists and turns to be had:  a lost brother, a treasure hunt, treachery, tribal civil war, witches, almost certain death, and stalagmite-bodies of dead kings.  Oh, and–in case you forgot where you were–the obligatory great-white-hunter scene of wanton destruction of animals.

But, as is to be expected to generate hope for any adventuresome reader:

So we left it. Perhaps, in some remote unborn century, a more fortunate explorer may hit upon the “Open Sesame,” and flood the world with gems. But, myself, I doubt it. Somehow, I seem to feel that the tens of millions of pounds’ worth of jewels which lie in the three stone coffers will never shine round the neck of an earthly beauty. They and Foulata’s bones will keep cold company till the end of all things.

Here lies the adventure of King Solomon’s Mines.

  • Did I enjoy this book?  Not in any particular way.
  • Will I read this book again?  That is highly unlikely without a specific reason for doing so.
  • Will I attempt to read more H. Rider Haggard?  I may give it one more shot.

PS.  If you do go digging in to this novel, you might hear the echoes of other adventure stories as you go.  While this book’s attitudes may rub me the wrong way, I do think this book has made serious ripples in the literary pond…


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The Lies of Locke Lamora!

If I could convey my enthusiasm for this book, I might kick you in the shins until you felt compelled to read it.  Or pinching.  Yes, most definitely pinching with squealy-girl screeches.

Holycrapitiswayawesomeandyouhavetoreaditnowdammit!

lies of locke lamoraDetails

  • Book:  The Lies of Locke Lamora
  • Author:  Scott Lynch
  • Publication:  2006

I have been hearing about this book for several years but haven’t gotten around to reading it until now.  What the hell was I thinking?!  However, one great thing about my laziness is that I have two new books in the series to continue…but, like everyone else, will have to wait on the remainder.

This book was beyond excellent.  While it is technically a fantasy novel–and I mean that in the way that says “technically”–because this is a made up world and there are unique creatures and magicians and other curiosities that make a world “real.”  However, the non-recognizable is made commonplace by the fact that this is a story about a heist, a coup, and revenge.  Essentially, it is all about a small gang called the Gentleman Bastards and the lovably devious Locke Lamora in particular.  The fantasy fades into the background…

The interweaving storylines–the past with the present–while not really a new style, seem to be particularly effective for this story.  It made for a rich, full world by filling in little corners and shadows with detail that might not have been there had the story been structured differently.

As I listened to the book, it reminded me of some wild crossbred version of Charles Dickens, The Little Rascals, and those black and white crime movies (think Edward G. Robinson, Peter Lorre, etc.).  The book is witty and amusing and beautifully written.

The audiobook was narrated by Michael Page.  Page uses different voices to separate the characters–which is not always the case when listening to an audiobook–but it works so well with this novel.  Highly recommended.

  • Will I read it again?  Hell, yes.
  • Will I be continuing on to the next two books in the series?  Hell, yes.
  • Do I recommend this book?  With an ever-enthusiastic pinch, a kick in the shin, and a squeal!
  • Thoughts?  Scott Lynch is a brilliant new writer.  I can’t wait to see where he goes next!

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On to my next book:  The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson


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The SciFi/Fan Plan

I like science fiction and fantasy books–they feel so much more inventive than traditional fiction.  This isn’t so say that there is nothing amazing about classic novels or even modern novels but, on occasion, I need something a bit on the edge of reality if not completely outside it!  

This list is not book-oriented like the Classics Club list.  What I wanted to do is create a list of authors (most of whom I have never read before) and go from there.

Plan:  To read at least one major work or series by every author in this list.

Author List:  This list is by no means comprehensive for this field.  It contains both old and new authors–those I could remember off the top of my head.  In fact, I am sure this will grow much longer as I add writers.   

  1. Adams, Douglas
  2. Ahmed, Saladin
  3. Asimov, Isaac 
  4. Atwood, Margaret
  5. Bradbury, Ray
  6. Bradley, Marion Zimmer
  7. Brett, Peter V.
  8. Brin, David
  9. Brooks, Terry
  10. Bujold, Lois McMaster
  11. Butcher, Jim
  12. Card, Orson Scott
  13. Carey, Jacqueline
  14. Chabon, Michael
  15. Clarke, Arthur C.
  16. Correia, Larry
  17. Dick, Philip K.
  18. Feist, Raymond E.
  19. Fforde, Jasper
  20. Gabaldon, Diana
  21. Gaiman, Neil
  22. Gibson, William
  23. Goodkind, Terry
  24. Grossman, Lev
  25. Harkness, Deborah
  26. Heinlein, Robert
  27. Herbert, Frank
  28. Hobb, Robin
  29. Jemisin, N. K.
  30. Jordan, Robert
  31. Kay, Guy Gavriel
  32. Kowal, Mary Robinette
  33. Lackey, Mercedes
  34. LeGuin, Ursula
  35. Lewis, C. S.
  36. Lynch, Scott
  37. Martin, George R. R.
  38. McCaffrey, Anne
  39. McCarthy, Cormac
  40. McClellan, Brian
  41. Miéville, China
  42. Modesitt, L. E.
  43. Murakami, Haruki
  44. Niffenegger, Audrey
  45. Niven, Larry and Pournelle, Jerry
  46. Novik, Naomi
  47. Peake, Mervyn
  48. Pratchett, Terry
  49. Priest, Cherie
  50. Pullman, Philip
  51. Rice, Anne
  52. Rothfuss, Patrick
  53. Saberhagen, Fred
  54. Sagan, Carl
  55. Sanderson, Brandon
  56. Scalzi, John
  57. Stephenson, Neal
  58. Tolkien, J. R. R.
  59. Verne, Jules
  60. Weeks, Brent
  61. Westerfeld, Scott
  62. White, T. H.
  63. Williams, Tad
  64. Willis, Connie
  65. Zelazny, Roger

 

Off I go.  I’m currently listening to The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (#36 on the list).  This is the first book in the Gentlemen Bastards series.


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The reading plan…which will be tossed away by February

I can’t stick to a plan for reading.  Why?  Because I read according to my mood.  However, I like to keep trying.  Maybe someday I will be able to do it!

This year I want to stick to the 19th century as much as possible with my Classics Club reads.  I’m not saying I won’t stray from the list, but I’m feeling a bit old fashioned today so these are winning out.

Classics  Goals

  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  • The Red and the Black by Stendhal
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  • Waverly by Sir Walter Scott

However, my main goal is to tackle a lot of science fiction and fantasy books this year.  I’ll talk about that in a different post.  But, a few of the newer contenders being published this year (2014) that I want to grab and will definitely be reading!:

  1. The Book of Life (#3 in All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness
  2. Words of Radiance (#2 in Stormlight Archive) by Brandon Sanderson
  3. The Crimson Campaign (#2 in Powder Mage Trilogy) by Brian McClellan
  4. Skin Game (#15 in Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher
  5. Magician’s Land (#3 in Magician’s Trilogy) by Lev Grossman

 

After that…well, we’ll have to see.


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I’ve been away…

Hey folks–

I was absent quite a good chunk of last year.  I couldn’t make myself write (I was even a NaNoWriMo flake!) or read or do much of anything extra-curricular.  Mostly, last year was a survival year.  I made it through and I am determined to make 2014 so much better!

What’s going on right now?

1.  I finished the first book on my classics list in quite some time!  I took on H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines.  I’ll post a review soon.

2.  I am currently listening to Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora on audiobook.  The beginning made me laugh!

3.  I just picked up Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive #1) on Kindle over the holidays.  I’ve only read two chapters in and am intrigued, but am putting it on hold to finish the Lynch book.

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