Recent Readings: and by Recent, I Mean…

First, I didn’t give up on having a new post every few days–I just realized it’s a stupid thing to hold myself too. Why force myself to come up with something that wouldn’t be very good and thus worth it? So I’ll just make a post when something comes up. Did I mention I got back to revising my next book? Anyway, I wrote all this… over a month ago, I think, and was just waiting to finish the last of the books I bought a month or two ago before I posted it.

So back in the days of my youth I didn’t read very much. Then I became a writer and realized “oh ,carp, I should start reading more!” So, I did. One summer I read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. I need to read them again, since I never read the one written after Douglas Adams’ death. So I won’t be saying anything on them. Instead, I’ll go back to last fall.

For a good portion of my final semester in college I read Lord of the Rings. My dad owned the books for longer than I’ve been alive but I never read it! I know I probably should have read The Hobbit first, but he doesn’t own that anymore. So I read the big thing first and read The Hobbit later. I mean, they’re doing that with the movies, right?

Anyway, what do I think of those stories? Well, as much as I appreciate long, epictimes storytimes times, I’m far more of a humor-comedy-funny reader along with epictimes storytimes times. And, while these books do have some humor to them, they’re not particularly at the forefront. So while I wouldn’t say I was Bored of the Rings (which I have yet to read, but really should sometime, although it’s not at my local library—time to suggest another book for them to get, then!), it’s not quite the type of  book I would buy.

Which is the exact opposite of what I started reading next because I have bought a couple books in the series and the humor-comedy funny is at the forefront of the Discworld novels. Like Lord of the Rings, they’re fantasy novels, but they’re more focused on the funny. LIKE MY WRITING! So after reading a couple Discworld novels, I’ve become a fan. My reading has stalled, though, because I really want to read Eric as it was originally made—fully illustrated. I’m having trouble finding that, though, and the problem with buying one online is how do I know it’s fully illustrated??

Anyway, so I’ve read the first eight Discworld novels so far. I think I like them in order of least to greatest (with the number noted the order they were released)…

Pyramids (7),  Equal Rites (3), The Colour of Magic (1), Sourcery (5), Wyrd Sisters (6), Guards! Guards! (8), The Light Fantastic (2), Mort (4)

The Colour of Magic, or, as the copy I bought says, The Color of Magic, is the first book in the Discworld series of novels. Of the first eight novels this one is actually in the bottom half, which is not to say it’s not good, but I do have a number of problems with it. I would really like to know if the four sections of this book were conceived roughly at the same time or if one was written and the others followed, because they seem really disjointed.

Aside from the three main characters, another character accompanies them between parts 2 and 3 and there is a slight connection between the setting of parts 1 and 2 and a larger connection of the same between acts 3 and 4, though clearly a lot of stuff happened between those. This disjointedness makes it kind of hard to get into it as a flowing novel; it reads more like several novellas.

(I will not say this much on the other seven, I swear.)

If I take each part on its own, I quite like the first part, the fourth and second parts are all right, and the third part I like the least. Just my opinion, of course, and clearly a lot of people like this novel if it came 93rd in the BBC’s Big Read. Funnily enough, the disjointment (that is a word now) continues in The Light Fantastic, but only in that it’s a continuation of the first novel that sort of throws out what happened in the first (which kind of makes sense given the 3-year gap between them, I guess).

The Light Fantastic I felt was a much more cohesive book, focusing on the same general plot, though that plot did travel quite a bit. This alone makes me like it more than the first book, but I also like the plot and characters more. Enough to put it #3 so far, indeed!

For Equal Rites, I’m afraid, it’s been too long since I’ve read it to say much about it, I just recall not being too keen on it—interesting, but a bit bland. Mort has Death in a prominent role. While Death was somewhat more stoic in the first couple books, in Mort it partakes in a conga line and gets a job as a frycook. What’s not to like?? But yeah, Mort was a fun book, despite its themes of death and reversing death.

Sourcery has a number of similarities to The Light Fantastic, now that I think about it. And not just because Rincewind is the main character of both. Didn’t stand out to me as well, though. It’s not that I don’t like Rincewind, but he and Twoflower worked well together, I think. I dunno, I still need to read Eric, which also has Rincewind.

Wyrd Sisters features the return of the witches from Equal Rites, more or less, and I found it to be a much more interesting tale. Like between the first two novels, I found I liked the characters in Wyrd Sisters more than Equal Rites, including those characters who appeared in both books.

Pyramids I just had trouble getting into. Didn’t feel it had much going for it. Finally, Guards! Guards! goes back to having great characters. It seems to take a bit long to build up, but I suppose it’s not a big problem. Also, every one of these books except the first two have been so long since I’ve read them that I can’t really think of what to say, so let’s MOVE ON.

After reading through the first eight Discworld novels (and then The Hobbit), I started reading a series of books that had a movie made a little less than a decade ago. Even though A Series of Unfortunate Events is marketed mostly to kids, it certainly doesn’t talk down to anyone, and it uses the fact it’s marketed as a children’s book for added humor. It’s a very clever series so far (I’ve read only the first four books as of now), and if you like humorous books I’d recommend it—even if the antagonist is a very dark character, the narration is very silly sometimes and kind of postmodern in that way. Once again, like my writing!

The next book I read was one I bought. I am SUPER-BIASED HERE because it is my good friend Phil Schipper’s book, The Third Face. While humor certainly isn’t at the forefront, it has enough of a presence for me to say you’ll laugh! You’ll cry! You’ll suddenly look at the clock and realize it’s past midnight and you’ve been reading for 12 hours!

But, yeah, like me, this is his first novel, but unlike me, it’s the second edition of it. So he’s learned! And it shows! He’s got a dynamic story and a neato world and it’s the first of a trilogy, so there’s more to come! This book really says things. Things like “I am not just another face.” Or something.

This last book I just finished reading earlier today [future note: as of my posting this that was like a month or two ago] so it’s still fresh in my mind, although seeing that this author has his third book coming out and a whole lotta Twitty (that is, about a thousand follows shy of ten thousand), he doesn’t need as much advertisement—not that enough people know me for it to really make much of an impact anyway!

Oh, right, the book and such. A.E. Marling’s Brood of Bones, another fantasy novel (funny how I first mentioned a series of science fiction books and now almost everything I’ve gone through has been fantasy). He’s self-published, and BOB (maybe I shouldn’t call it that) was… I think his debut novel? Anyway, if it was, it was pretty good, and if it wasn’t, well, it still was pretty good!

Once more I must touch on how humor isn’t the focus, but when there is humor, it is quite witty. However, story’s the name of the game, and there’s a mystery here—at times the book is like a detective novel, with a set of clues and red herrings leading to (or away from) the culprit. I can also tell that he really did his research for this novel—that or he already knew all this stuff about pregnancy. Finally, I’d like to add that the title is genius; it sounds so abstract until you read it and… You know, The Third Face is kind of like that too. My title is just “yeah, species. the story’s about slubes, k.”

Rereading this, I don’t think I quite have any idea what I’m talking about most of the time. I knew that already, though.
Anyway, I’ll try do this more than just bi-yearly now so I don’t have to talk about stuff from months and months ago that I don’t remember very well. Yep! Anyway, I should be getting a very, very, very special book delivered to me in the next week or two, presumably, so when that shows up I will talk all about it!

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