A spectacularly awesome angry rant from Steve Lawson, Librarian. Seriously, all librarians should introduce themselves as “Firstname Surname, Librarian”. Make sure you give it a “Bond, James Bond” inflection and a little head tilt. I love you guys.
Pirates, people. As in puffy sleeves and pieces of eight. Because? George Arrr Arrr Martin! I can’t help but call him that.
And, so, on to books. I have to confess before Game of Thrones got made into a popular TV series (though still not played on free-to-air here and PLEASE do NOT tell me it’s going to only play on that damn new Sky TV channel because I ain’t paying no way no how) I had not even heard of George Arr Arr. There’s a very good reason for this: I am not a fan of the fantasy genre in general, except for Terry Pratchett, however I’m not above jumping on a bandwagon, and the George Arr Arr bandwagon seemed particularly strong.
Where have I been all this time, I wondered?
So a visit to my local library garnered me a copy of Clash of Kings. This is the second in the series, being as Game of Thrones was on loan. Spoilers and reading out of order don’t bother me.
I read the whole thing – and within about 5 days, which is pretty good going for me, considering this paperback is very very thick and the printing is very very small.
And I did really enjoy it. The plot is overwhelmingly complex, with an unbelievable number of characters, so I had to really just let go of trying to keep track of anything in the first quarter of the book until I felt reasonably up to speed.
“Enthralling” is the word here – it is very hard to put this book down, if I didn’t have to sleep, eat and work I would have read it in a day.
Buuuuuut… and there are a lot of buts (*titter*). When I finished, that was it. Despite the complexity of the plot it doesn’t stay with you. There was nothing for me to ponder over, no larger questions, no enduring or endearing or even enticing characters. There was just a lot of stuff happening. Which is highly readable and all, but once it’s over, that’s it. It’s over and you don’t need to think about it anymore. And, seriously, the characters are ALL THE SAME. Except they’re not, they’re men and women and kings and little princesses and little princes, well you get my point, they’re all different and yet they all sound the same. There’s very little to distinguish between the voices of every character except their names.
What this all means is while I would read more Arr Arr when I can, I don’t feel an overwhelming urge to run to the library immediately and get every title in the series out.
This may be a somewhat confusing post – ambivalent enjoyment is a confusing opinion to have!
If you’d like a more detailed and thoughtful analysis of the problems with George R. R. Martin and modern fantasy then I seriously recommend reading this post (just a note that if you decide to look around the rest of the site you may find it a little NSFW. In between the cute kitty pics, that is):
It’s a great piece. The only thing I’d add is made up names. Seriously, I get SO sick of the made up names in fantasy. So I made a game out of it. As you do.
- Grab the first book on your shelf.
- Flip the pages, then randomly plunk your finger in. Make a note of the syllable your finger landed on.
- Do this three times.
- Voila. You have your name.
Here’s three names I came up with earlier:
Feel free to play this game, and/or adapt to some sort of drinking version. Just let me know how it works.
One of my favourite (other) blogs to read is Awful Library Books – a simple but delightful concept.
Today’s entry was standout – a tribute to the ’80s and my beloved ’80s toy – the Cabbage Patch Kids. I had four. My mum actually did make them clothes (though sadly none of these)! And I had matching outfits!
It was a simpler time.
So ZOMG you guys! This using the library again was such a bad idea. I love libraries – but it turns out I love them, like, way too much and now I owe my library 60c. Which, admittedly, is a heck of a lot less than I owe many other people but weirdly it annoys me the most.
I’m like a little monster in the corner holding all the library books, biting at any hands that try and snatch them back. “I haven’t read them yet, yarrrrgh. Ruh. Ruh.”
But see all those books down there ↓ ? There is too many and I do not have unlimited reading time. And, just between you and me, that is just a selection. I have more that need to be read.
My main problem is choice, as in, I need it. I can’t just line them up one by one and knock ‘em down. I have to spread them all out and lovingly smell them and gaze at the covers and pick them up and put them down and think “I’ll read that one, no, maybe that one” and…
…I’ve said too much.
So do you have a pile of books waiting to be read? Do you love it or resent it? Do you have just one at a time? Do you restrict yourself? Are libraries a danger to your personal well-being?*
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
*I’m just kidding, libraries, I love you, really. Just damn you and your deadlines.
Locas II : Maggie, Hopey & Ray by Jaime Hernandez
Blog reader recommendation for the win! Thanks Craig for recommending Jaime Hernandez – upon which I ran right out to the library and got this title (I’m so suggestible). I didn’t like this quite as much as Strangers in Paradise but to be fair that is more a matter of some personal taste around narrative and not a negative comment on this title.
Locas II is wild, a bit crazy, awesomely illustrated, sad and fun. I can’t comment a lot on the storyline because this is the first Jaime Hernandez I’ve read so these characters are all new to me. The story swings from female character centred to male character centred and, really, that just makes it so enjoyable to read, compared to the “action” graphic novel genre. Is that a genre? If not I just made it up – but do you know what I mean? Manly action hero stuff – a lot of which is good but a lot of which is crap.
Tamburlaine Must Die by Louise Welsh
I thoroughly enjoyed my first read of Louise Welsh earlier this year, so I was keen to get this out of the library when I spotted it purely by chance! And I’m glad I did as it is definitely a worthwhile read, a short novel speculating on the last days of Christopher Marlowe (a contemporary of Shakespeare) who was stabbed and died under circumstances that were mysterious at the time and have become increasingly mysterious over the centuries.
Welsh explores this mystery and gives us an entertaining story at the same time – which seems to be Welsh’s modus operandi and the reader is all the better for it!
A great short read – perfect for a little weekend quiet time.
Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosa
Duuhuuhuuhuude… *sobs uncontrollably*
So there’s this lovely little family with this cute little kid and then these shadows appear and then the mother freaks out and then the father freaks out and then he takes the cute little kid and flees and… and… and… *breaks down again*
It’s a great looking graphic novel and the story is sweet and poignant and devastating and really, if you have kids or are just really, really attached to them then make sure you read this with a box of tissues handy.
I have a problem. I’m going to the library again (as part of the plan to kindle a flame for the written word in Little Monster) and I’ve remembered why I didn’t go to the library.
Because I have a problem.
These are just my library books, these aren’t the books I own that I have to read or the books I’ve got that I have to review! Why did I go to the library and get MORE books out? I was just returning books! I don’t have time to read all the books in the world, or even just in the library!
I think we all know what needs to be done.
Someone needs to pay me to read.