Authors & Books

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Patrick Rothfuss – The Wise Man’s Fear – 400 pages to go

The Wise Man's Fear

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I’ve allocated every minute of my reading over the past three weeks to The Wise Man’s Fear.  I know its been three weeks because the library only allows you to borrow ebooks for 21 days before they’re returned, and today is the day its leaving my Kindle.

I don’t want to give any final judgment on the book, but as of today I have been very happy with it.  Book one, The Name of the Wind, was Outstanding!  This one is also very good, adding depth and back-story to many of the characters introduced in the first book while introducing several new, diverse characters.  That character development, along with learning more about the rules of ‘magic,’ have easily been the best parts.  The time Kvothe spends at the University had me staying up late, falling asleep with my Kindle on my chest.

My only struggle with it has been the question – where is this going?  I had thought it would again follow the timeline of the University, with conflict and diversity intertwined.  I’m now 600+ pages into it and there really isn’t any main conflict, although many of the small conflicts had me completely absorbed.  The book has taken an interesting turn into political intrigue, which I have to admit has been a good twist, but beyond that I don’t know…

Since I’m someone who struggles to commit to a book for more than a couple of weeks, I’m going to add a chapter or two from Close to Shore in between longer stints with The Wise Man’s Fears.  We’ll see which I finish first.

Book Review – The Color of Magic

I finally finished reading The Color of Magic this week, which is actually the third time I’ve read it.  It’s been at least 10 years since the last time and it was almost like reading again for the first time.

The Color of Magic is the first of Terry Pratchett‘s novels set in a fantasy realm called Discworld.  The story follows two main characters – Rincewind, a wizard of sorts, and Twoflower, a visitor to the city, Ahnk-Morpork.  They have several adventures and meet many fantastic characters and creatures throughout the book, including thieves, warriors, dragons, and even Death.  The book is separated into four short but linked stories that could stand alone, but do flow one into the next.

When I first set foot in Discworld, I was probably around 12 years old.  At that time, Terry Pratchett spun a tale of whimsy and happiness.  I took note of those things a normal 12-year-old would, the escape into an alternate reality that was clearly more exciting than our own.

The second time in was just a few years later and not much had changed, although I do remember finding it much more comical than before. The interactions between Death and Rincewind are great.

This time is took me much longer to read it than ever before.  It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it as much as previously, because I did.  It was because I spent about half the time reading and the other half thinking about a passage in the book.  Pratchett touches on politics, religion, and common misconceptions. There is so much depth in his writing, so much philosophy and satire, that I completely missed previously.  Pratchett obviously has a great sense of humor but within that humor lies deep contemplation and intelligence.

Overall Grade:  4/5 stars (only because one of his other books is the bar I’m using for a 5/5)

If anyone else has read it, I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts and reactions to it too.

Cover of "The Color of Magic"

Cover of The Color of Magic

Terry Pratchett – A Great Author and Inspiration

Terry Pratchett kindly posed with his hat for ...

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I read a handful of Terry Pratchett books several years ago, all from his Discworld series, but eventually left the Disc to go other directions.  I never really knew much about the author until last year but have since become an even bigger fan.

His books fall in the fantasy genre but they’re not your normal sword and sorcery books.  Pratchett is a tongue-in-cheek writer who adds comedy and satire throughout each book.  The books read quickly but are ones that can be reread several times.  You may catch something in a second reading that you hadn’t noticed the first time through.  Pratchett loves to tie in characters from previous books, so familiar names will continue to pop up throughout the series.

However, the best Terry Pratchett reading I’ve done has been of the interviews he’s given over the past few years.  Pratchett was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in 2007 and has been open and honest about his reactions and life since.  In no way could I do justice to the interviews he’s given, so instead I’ll include links to a couple of the better ones I’ve read.

The last time I checked, the Discworld series stands at 39 books.  You can pick up any book in the series and read it individually, but like any world, Discworld has grown and evolved throughout the years so I recommend starting with the first and what I still consider one of the best – The Color of Magic – which I’m reading for the third time.  Pratchett has touched many lives with his writing over the past 40 years and I’m sure he will continue to do so, in one way or another, for several years to come.

Thank you Mr. Pratchett

Cover of "The Color of Magic"

Cover of The Color of Magic–I-watch-happen.html

The Best Books I Read in 2011

Cover of "The Name of the Wind (Kingkille...

Cover via Amazon

Looking back, I actually read a lot more than I have in a while.  Much of the volume came from adventure type books, the same genre as where the Da Vinci Code would fall.  This type of mass market paperback is readily available for 99 cents at Goodwill or in the clearance section of Half Price Books.  Normally, I’m an avid fan of fantasy fiction like that from Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin, but found that the quick pace fit perfectly with what I needed.  They still provided the escape that I needed but without taking a month to read an 800 page book.

James Rollins and Steve Berry were new authors I tried out and will continue to read.  I also really enjoy the ‘Pendergast’ novels by Preston and Child and highly recommend giving them a shot if you’re at all interested in supernatural thriller/mysteries.  The Pendergast character is a very interesting take on an FBI agent.

There are also a few books on the list that my wife put me up to reading.  No need to point them out, I’m sure you can guess.

The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer (decided to give this one a try after watching one of his shows on the History Channel)

Map of Bones by James Rollins

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

The Charlemagne Pursuit by Steve Berry

The Romanov Prophesy by Steve Berry

Water for Elephants (believe it or not, this book is a hundred times better than the movie. The book has much more of a focus on the circus which is really well researched and interestingly portrayed.)

Reliquary by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Dance of Death by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Written in Bone by Simon Beckett

The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen

And easily, the best book I read last year was The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (pictured above).  It’s a fantasy fiction novel, his first, and was everything a fan of that genre could hope for.  I’ll be submitting a book review to YCN and will add an update here with that link once it’s posted.

I know there were several more, but trying to remember 12 months worth is actually pretty difficult to do.  Especially since, if I don’t enjoy a book I’ll quit reading it after 50 – 100 pages, which means lots of other novels keep coming to mind that I didn’t actually finish.


Borrowed Post On Finding Things in Books


I came across this post about entitled Things I Find in Books, Part 1.  Give it a read.  Like the author, I also tend to buy used books – in fact I can’t bring myself to buy a full priced book anymore thanks to Half Priced Books being so near.

I’ve never found money in a book but I have been lucky enough to find a few random things in the well-worn pages of a few garage sale treasures, not including the faded brown boogers or questionable slightly curled hairs (I’m saying they’re arm hairs – that’s how I sleep at night).

To me, the best items I’ve found have been a couple of personal letters from the 50’s and 60’s that were hidden within the pages of a couple of Goodwill bought paperbacks.  There’s just something so intriguing about them.  In a way, they’re quick snippets of that era’s reality T.V.  Neither of them say anything monumental, but they both convey a level of courtesy, warmth, and love that is missing in most of the rhetoric.  Plus the penmanship of both, while the two are completely different, speaks to a time where style and readability were equally important.

Looks like I’ll be stopping by Goodwill tomorrow to browse the selection.


Day 3 – Walt Whitman on Life (Preface to Leaves of Grass)

Walt Whitman's use of free verse became apprec...

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Tonight, I’m a bit tired and because of this I’ve decided to let Walt Whitman take over Day 3.  Plus, just look at him… Wisdom flows from the tips of his crazy eyebrows.

“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body… . The poet shall not spend his time in unneeded work.”    Walt Whitman

In one of his most noteable lines from the preface to Leaves of Grass, Whitman throws out a challenge to break the mold.  Create your own path and embrace the differences in the world, especially those who may not fit into what society considers the norm.  Don’t settle for the answers you’re given, challenge yourself to find out more.  The more you understand life, understand yourself, the more beautiful life will be.

~ The Hatter

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