I am taking a break from A Song of Ice and Fire and dove back into the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. Just finished An Incomplete Revenge. Excellent…a solid, well told mystery with well developed characters and a bit of history and psychology woven throughout. I bought a two-book bundle from Amazon so I have the next one, Among the Mad, ready to go when I need a gardening break today.
Or…I might read something else. The last five books I’ve read have been on the Kindle. I mostly read them on my iPad but I am finding that increasingly distracting. I’ll read a chapter and then check Facebook or Twitter or try to beat that last level on My Kingdom for a Princess. At night, I read from the real Kindle, and I do like the way it syncs between devices. But I think I am mostly craving a real book, one with pages that feeds the tactile senses. One that doesn’t have other content loaded on it, calling to me.
I practiced bookstore tourism this week, stopping at Blue Whale Books in Charlottesville to browse and buy a few books. I fed my nature and books collections and was charmed by the discovery of Sixpence House: Lost In a Town of Books by Paul Collins. It describes Collins’ move to Hay-on-Wye, the bookstore town in Wales. I made the pilgrimage to Hay when I was in Wales and have often imagined what it would be like to live in a place where you could slip into a bookstore every day just to browse. Maybe I’ll dig into what the Boston Globe called “the bookworm’s answer to A Year in Provence.” (I know I have read that book but it must have been pre-Library Thing as it’s not in my reading list.)
On a side note: one of my favorite children’s authors died yesterday. I must have read From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler 25 times when I was a kid in a small country village imagining life in New York City. I reread it when I started teaching middle school and was delighted all over again. E.L. Konigsburg had a wonderful sense of mystery, magic and wonder.
First, a confession…I immediately started the third book of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. In A Storm of Swords, everything is in chaos. And, yesterday afternoon it broke my heart. All that hope I thought I saw in the second book evaporated in the space of three pages. Favorite characters were killed violently with little warning. (I know, I know, there was lots of foreshadowing but I guess I just didn’t want to believe it.)
Now, in despair, I continue to read just waiting for the glimmer of hope to return. But, I’m not trusting that I will find it. Lovers are torn apart, horrible dead things stalk the land, women and child are murdered…and the evil people are really winning now. I may definitely have to take a break after book 3 for something a bit more upbeat.
I did have a good laugh related to Game of Thrones. I stumbled on this music video by comedy group Axis of Awesome. It is, as they say, explicit: there’s bad language and a bit of nudity at the end. But, if you have reached the depths of despair along with me, it provides a little pick-me-up:
I just finished the second book in the series, and I find myself drawn to the series the way people are drawn to a train wreck. Unlike Cornwell’s novels, the good guys don’t always win. In fact, it seems like the really evil people are winning. Yet, there are glimmers of hope and that’s what keeps me going, along with Martin’s terrific writing. He captures the richness of the world he has created from the descriptions of the frozen North to the waterfront of Quarth to the beauty of the godswood. While many of the characters seem flat, those who headline the various chapters offer complex personalities, with even the most evil having occasional glimmers of empathy.
I’m not ready to start the third book yet, and I’m not sure I want to watch the television series. But, I have been enjoying the wiki that follows the television show but also describes how it differs from the book.
I have been reading a bit in this new year, but it seems to take me a long time to finish a book with just a few minutes here and there. Work has kept me busy, and we filled the last three Saturdays with beekeeping classes. And, truth be told, the books I have read were good but not the kind of page turners that seem to keep me glued to the chair, swearing that I would stop at the end of the chapter and go do something productive.
Until now, that is. I finally started Game of Thrones, a five-book series that came highly recommended by a reading friend. I bought all five books in a Kindle bundle but wasn't sure I would like them as they seemed more violent than I liked. Finally, last week, I decided to get started. And, I'm hooked. I finished the first one early this morning and am already part of the way through the second one. I keep saying I'm going upstairs to do some cleaning but then the next chapter pulls me in.
The books are reminiscent of Bernard Cornwell and JRR Tolkien, mixing fantasy with royal feuding to create a compelling story. I always think of Cornwell as a man's writer with great swashbuckling heroes who are never happier than on the battlefield with its clashing swords and swarming hosts. But, Martin also finds a place for the women: conniving mothers of young kings but also brave women who face their fears and take their places among the men in battles and castle halls.
I recommend them with the warning that you won't get much else done…now, really, I'm going upstairs to clean.
I’ve tried doing a photo a day for two years now and always start with good intentions but then seem to run out of things to photograph. But I’ve been intrigued by Fat Mum Slim’s Photo A Day as she gives interesting prompts. Here’s my photo from the first day of the New Year. The prompt was “today.”
I spent part of my first day of the New Year crocheting, one of my favorite things to do. I’ve been crocheting doilies nonstop! I even joined a Yahoo group devoted to doilies. They post two doily patterns each month. I’ve been lurking but am planning to post some pictures and get more involved this year.
2012 has been a year of change: we settled into the farm, and I took on new work that led to lots of travel. I read, but not as much as usual, and I clearly took a hiatus from this blog. One of my commitments for the new year is to make regular updates as this is a record of my personal journey from reading to cooking to creating.
I begin 2013 in the middle of two books: The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards and Winter of the World by Ken Follett. I almost never read two books at once but I think this may become the trend. The Lake of Dreams is a print book and it stays upstairs on the nightstand. I read a chapter before bed. Winter of the World is on the iPad and that stays downstairs. I bought a treadmill and I prefer reading on the iPad while I’m walking. Thus, two books. It should help me work through both piles of books, both the analog and digital.
The Lake of Dreams was a serendipitous discovery: I had just finished The Memory Keeper’s Daughter and loved it. I was looking for the next read and discovered this book tucked on the shelf, part of a buying spree at the Island Bookstore in Corolla, North Carolina. It is a much different book although there is a veiled reference to her other novel.
The digital pile has been getting bigger by the day. I bought the George Martin Game of Thrones five-book bundle and am waiting for a snow storm to settle in and read. It comes highly recommended from a reader I respect. I subscribe to several ebook lists that share discounted and free digital books. This week, it was Truman by David McCullough for $3.99. And two fluffy books that were free: The Tea-Olive Bird Watching Societyabout a group of Southern women and Mai Tai One On, a mystery set in Kauai whose main character runs the Tiki Goddess bar.
Interestingly enough, both deal with the complicated relationship between parents and children as the latter attempt to extricate themselves from the situations in which they have been put by their parents.
In The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern creates a magical world based on a deadly compettion. In The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson describes a family where the parents put their children at the center of their art in the hopes that they won’t kill it. And, at the end of each, it is love that saves the children and allows them to live beyond their parents’ machinations.