Reading This Next

I’ve been talking and talking about rereading Game of Thrones, but I’ve had so many other things in front of it. I know the series is going to be a beast, but I’ve so been looking forward to it.

Finally, it is next on the list. I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to blog about it–whether I’m going to blog each day, each section, or just each book. I don’t normally blog my rereads, but I feel GOT is something that deserves to be written about. I think once I get into the nitty gritty, the writing will come. We’ll see. I look forward to the discussion, and there will be spoilers, so if you haven’t read or watched the shows, be warned.

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Thrones

Today’s theme is a pretty obvious one, and I’m sure everyone is going to post Game of Thrones. When I first read the series, I kept thinking, man, I really like this, but I feel like these characters almost NEED the screen. The books were SO complex that I was having a hard time picturing everything.

And I was right. I fell in love with the shows, because there were so many details that made sense once I saw the characters brought to life. And, I was surprised at how much I remembered from the books, details that matched or didn’t match, that made me go WHAT?! *cough cough Jojen cough cough*

After the Martell/Mountain battle, I gave in to my desperate need and bought the first 5 book set. I’m dying to reread the series, but I am not going to do it until after we move in August. To read the GOT is a full on commitment, and one I just don’t have time and brain power for right now. So, after we get settled, I will do a reread, and possibly an analysis of each book, maybe we will do a readathon/discussion group. What do you think? Would anyone be interested in something like that?

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Treesofreverie June Read-A-Thon: Questionnaire | Part 1

Home sick today, so I’m curled up with R on the couch while he watches the World Cup. Thought I’d take some time and answer these questions, since I can’t concentrate on much else.

  • 01. Where will you be sharing your bookish updates for the Treesofreverie June Read-A-Thon? Here! Some of my other challenges on Instagram have also been tagged with the Trees hashtag, if it’s a book I’m reading for this, but for the most part, all of my posts will be on this blog, which also feeds into Tumblr.
  • 02. How did you start book blogging? What got you interested in starting, were there particular blogs that influenced or encouraged your decision? (If you don’t have a book blog, are you interested in starting one?) I was just exploring Tumblr, when I read The Happiness Project. I was seeing book blogs, and I wanted an outlet for book discussion, so I started this. I can’t believe how much feedback I’ve gotten, it’s been so much fun.
  • 03. What’s your ultimate book-inspired holiday? What would you do and would you take anyone with you? Has a particular book or author inspired this? Most of my vacations are more food related than book related, but I do always imagine Italy in an Under the Tuscan Sun sort of way, and France as Julia Child describes it. My vision of countries are very much influenced by the memoirs I’ve read.
  • 04. Which five authors (dead or alive) would you invite to a dinner party and why? Who do you think would get along and what would you talk about? First and foremost, Ernest Hemingway. I would LOVE to have a drink with him. Julia Child is another, because, obviously, she would do the cooking, and I think she would be hilarious. I’d love to hear about her travels as well…and Hemingway and Child might be interesting together actually. They both had pretty “live life to the fullest” perspectives. Jane Austen, because…obviously. George RR Martin so I can get inside his head. I want to know what the heck makes that man tick. John Green, because he’s just SUCH a nerd, and I’d like to have someone to geek out with.
  • 05. What were the last three books you recommended to someone and why did you choose these particular books to recommend? If your last recommendations were a large list shared all at once, then pick three books. The only book I really remember recommending (other than here on the blog) is the Kingkiller Chronicles. I’ve been telling everyone I meet to read that. Most people in real life ask me for book recommendations, then don’t ever take me seriously, because I have such an extensive list. I’m sure I’ve told people to read TFIOS too.
  • 06. Describe your perfect reading experience. Paperback, Hardback or eBook? Genre? Where are you reading? Alone or in company? Indoors or outside? Season? Weather? What time of day? Snacks? Give me a sunny, just warm day, in the shade. Preferably alone, but maybe somewhere I can watch people. A bottle of wine opened on the table, with some good cheese to munch on. A fantastic old book, well worn with that musty old smell.
  • 07. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion. What are your thoughts on negative comments and reviews on books? Does it make a difference for you if they involve any constructive criticism or feedback? The interesting thing about the book blogging community is that we all get a different experience from the books we read. It’s like tasting wine. No one person is going to taste the same glass of wine the same. We all have a different perspective. It is ok to disagree. That said, I think sometimes, the disagreement turns into hate, and that’s not ok with me. There is a difference between conversation and persecution. We need to be careful in how we treat our fellow bloggers. I would much rather see this community as a place of friendship than a place of war.
  • 08. What would your ultimate dream book collection include? What would it look like and how would you arrange your books? I’ve always dreamed of having one of those really old school Victorian smoking jacket studies. You know what I’m talking about. Where the lord of the manor would retire in the evening to his brandy, amongst his wood paneled shelves with books rising to the ceiling. They were a thing of awe. At least in our imagination today. Ever since I saw the Beast’s library (which was white instead of brown), I have wanted a library like that. 
  • 09. What are your biggest book-related pet peeves? Why do these things bother you more than others? I am very contradictory when it comes to my books. I break my spines, because there is absolutely nothing wrong with a well loved book. It needs to feel good in my hands. But, I will absolutely NEVER NEVER NEVER ruin the pages with ink. That is an abominable sin in my eyes. And I will never buy a used book that has been inked. (Which was really sad because I found a copy of The Great Gatsby the other day for $1…only to find someone had underlined over half the book…for SHAME!) I also use bookmarks instead of dogears.
  • 10. What are some of your favourite things about people who read books? These may be generalisations or relate to a specific person. I love how we all just geek out over the smallest details. I always thought it was just me, until I discovered this wonderful community online. Hermoine’s dress was BLUE not PINK. Arya has LINES in this scene, you idiots. We memorize not just quotes, but “insignificant” characters’ names, eye color, birthdays. We know who dies when and how and why. We know what author is going to be in what city and how to get in to see them. And we are obsessive about collecting not just books, but the specific copies of books in a series so everything matches on our shelves. And even though many of us are introverts, get us talking about the books we love, and we will not shut up.

Favorite Antagonist

This topic has been staring at me from my yellow legal pad list all week. FAVORITE ANTAGONIST. UGH. I’ve probably gone through 20 different characters trying to figure out who to write about. Not even kidding.

You see, I am a villain sympathizer. I always have been. Maybe it’s the black sheep in me, but growing up, the villain songs were always my favorite in every Disney movie. I mean, come on. They are the most interesting people. You’ve got Ursula, Maleficent (I can’t WAIT for that movie, btw), Gaston, Governor Ratcliffe (weirdly, a personal favorite of mine, not sure why I love his fat ass so much), and, of course, the most villainous of all villains–SCAR.

They all just seem so broken and misunderstood. And I know people hate that. There are huge discussions on Tumblr from the Villain Haters of why we shouldn’t make up backstories for villains and make them loveable. But, for those who are equally broken and scarred, or the outcasts, or just the shy and misunderstood, we relate to those villains. They are–in their plotting and planning–strong where we can’t be. They are going to stand over the blonde and beautiful and be the king of everything. And then, when their plans don’t happen exactly how they expected…we understand that too.

So when it came time to pick a favorite antagonist…I couldn’t. I went through so many people and I just couldn’t make them bad enough. Snape…no…he’s good in the end, right? Draco…ugh…he’s not good enough to be called a villain, just a whiny little bitch (here comes the Slytherin hate). I even had this really deep monologue with myself about Dorian’s picture soul…but no, that’s just way too complicated and reaching.

I thought about Joffery. God do I hate Joffery. But I don’t think he really halts a pure mission. Which is the good and bad thing about Game of ThronesIt is so far from normal story archetypes. Oh George RR Martin…you are a cruel and marvelous master.

No no no, this is just not working. I could not find anyone who truly fit the profile of Antagonist. Surely I’m missing someone here. Someone who fully opposes the hero, and is a true obstacle to the end goal of the story.

And then it hit me. There is only one person who I know to be hated more than Joffery in recent literature. Only one person more cruel, creepier, and chill inducing.

Madam Undersecretary Profressor Dolores Jane Umbridge.

*Shudder* God that woman terrified me. She seemed to be everywhere at once, and blocked every mission Harry and his friends attempted. And the pink. And the CATS. I can’t even write about her without shivering.

JK Rowling used Umbridge as a vehicle to deliver a sociopath into Hogwarts. With a eerie smile planted on her pink facade, she sucked the life out of the school, while bringing on harsher and harsher punishments. And then, to make everything worse, she rose to power in the Ministry of Magic, doing the same thing there…on adults.

Even I, a diehard villain sympathizer, could never love Umbridge. Good lord, this woman terrifies the hell out of me. I may have nightmares tonight just from thinking about her so much today.

What villain truly scares you?

 

 

The Bear and the Maiden Fair

I’m a little later than usual on posting the poem of the day. I MAY have gotten caught up in all of the Game of Throne posts on Tumblr. Maybe. Ok….I did. There were so many! But that’s to expected since Season 4 started back up again last night. And if you go to my Tumblr blog, you’re going to see a LOT of posts from me. I can’t help it. I’m addicted. The books were great, and in my opinion, are even better as a show. The characters needed to be brought alive.

In honor of the season premier, I decided to post the song from last season. On a lyrical level, it’s nothing special, but it’s quite fun. For those of you who are fans of GOT, you’ll recognize it from Brienne’s fight with the bear, and also Sansa’s wedding. I’m pretty sure they played it at the Red Wedding too.

The Bear and the Maiden Fair

A bear there was, a bear, a bear!
All black and brown, and covered with hair!
Oh, come, they said, oh come to the fair!
The fair? Said he, but I’m a bear!
All black, and brown, and covered with hair!

And down the road from here to there.
From here! To there!
Three boys, a goat, and a dancing bear!
They danced and spun, all the way to the fair!

Oh, sweet she was, and pure, and fair!
The maid with honey,
In her hair! Her hair!
The maid with honey in her hair!

He smelled the scent on the summer air!
The bear! The bear!
All black and brown and covered with hair!
He smelled the scent on the summer air!
He sniffed and roared and smelled it there!
Honey on the summer air!

Oh, I’m a maid, and I’m pure and fair!
I’ll never dance with a hairy bear!
A bear! A bear!
I’ll never dance with a hairy bear!
He lifted her high into the air!
The bear! The bear!

I called for a knight, but you’re a bear!
A bear! A bear!
All black and brown and covered with hair!
She kicked and wailed, the maid so fair,
But he licked the honey from her hair!
Her hair! Her hair!

Then she sighed and squealed and kicked the air!
My bear! She sang. My bear so fair!
And off they went, from here to there,
The bear, the bear, and the maiden fair.

 

–George RR Martin

Also, if you want to hear what it sounds like, Hold Steady did a rock version.

Kingkiller Chronicle

When I was growing up, I lived in the land of reality when it came to my reading. I had no interest in Sci-Fi or Fantasy, as their worlds did not exist anywhere in my mind. I didn’t even read The Chronicles of Narnia until I was in college! The only exception to the rule was the occasional talking animal, such as in Charlotte’s Web. Wilbur is totally plausible.

All that changed when I ran out of things to read a few years back, and borrowed a roommate’s copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. My life was completely changed after that. Once my toes touched that sweet, cold pool that is the wonderful water of the gateway fandom, there was no turning back.

Bookworms everywhere will tell you that falling in love with HP is like taking a first hit from a really strong drug. You’ll never be able to find that same high every again, but you’ll never stop looking for it.

I’m going to anger a lot of nerds with this next statement. I think I’ve come as close as I ever will get with Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicle. Not that I think the trilogy is the “next” Harry Potter, though I’ve seen it called that. Oh no, I am not THAT blasphemous. Not quite. However, I do think that it’s the series that the HP generation needs now that we are all grown up.

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The story is about a young trouper, Kvothe, who loses his family early. He finds himself at the best magic school in the land, and after that it’s just a roller coaster of emotion and trouble.

I usually describe the trilogy as having all the wonderful wizardry from Harry Potter, the legend and travel lore from Lord of the Rings, and the society and scandal from Game of Thrones…without quite so much of George Martin’s need for death and destruction. And of course, you can’t have a great fantasy fiction without a few dragons.

The language in this Chronicle  is beautiful, and there’s even a made up written cipher that the Chronicler uses to record Kvothe’s story. A fan has recreated this on Tumblr, and, man, is it gorgeous. Click here to see it, I won’t copy it here for copyright reasons. There are some seriously talented and creative people. See what I mean about wanting to delve deeper into what I’m reading?

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The first two books are called The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear and both are fantastic. Both took me a few days to get through, but I couldn’t put either down for long. The last book isn’t due out until 2015 and I can’t wait!

Have any of you read the first or both? What did you think?