Sunday, December 7, 2008

Wow, I haven't posted in awhile....

...but I've been reading.

Time has become the second most precious commodity in my life. There is just never enough to accomplish everything that simply must be done, much less those things that simply need to be done. I am afraid that this blog is way down my list of things that I can spend time on. And its going to get worse. I work retail, so an econmoc downturn means that staff is cut, but expectations are raised. In January, I will become a step-grandfather to a grandson that will live in my house with his mother. I am still married to my most understanding wife and I have two other step-children who must get to school. sporting events, private trumpet and dance lessons, work, etc.

All that just to say my posts may become even more sporadic. I will try to make up for like of quantity with quality. And the next two posts are actually about books! Enjoy and I'll post when I can.

Finished at Last!

Ok, it took me the better part of a year, off and on, to read this. Its not particularly easy to read unless you have an interest in etymology. I have a newly expanded vocabulary and now know what words like clinquant mean.. (Look it up! I had to...) But after adding to my favorites (my collegiate dictionary didn't have the words I was looking for), I have fished the book.

And it was superb!!

This guy Donaldson, he can spin a grand and sweeping epic of a story. The Land is still wonderful with larger than life vistas and characters. Every emotion in the world is evoked in the reader. Revelstone, Andelain, The Staff of Law....they are still able to provoke visions of splendor and majesty. And the characters we love to hate and hate to love. This is a study in conflict and it involves the reader deeply.

The First and Second Chronicles were great, but the conflicts, while evident, were mostly expressed externally to Thomas Covenant. In the Last Chronicle, Linden's conflicts are expressed internally and evidenced externally. We see what she's feeling and how her decisions or lack thereof effect the other characters instead of how the characters decisions effect her. It is masterful story-telling by a master. It is, basically, a re-telling of the best anti-hero story ever told from an internal perspective, from the mind and priorities of the anti-hero.

At the end of the last book, Thomas Covenant had returned with Linden's adopted son and needed her help. In this book, we learn the true condition of her son, we find out who her friends are and who is not. There are the same old antagonists and some new ones. We meet the maker of the first Staff of Law, Beren One-Hand, in person. We are shown the limits of Law and why there is a need for wild magic.

Read This! Start now so you can finish by next Christmas!

Twilight - Ok, I Admit It...Its Good

*sigh* Once again my kids have dragged me into reading a book, and once again, its not bad. Make no mistake, Stephanie Meyer is not going to be compared with Hermann Melville or Issaac Asimov, but then again, she's probably made more money than both of them combined. This is perfect for its target market: teenage girls.

The hero is a major, major hottie, he's the most dangerous thing on the planet, and he's willing to change for the girl he loves. O-M-G! He's perfect! He drives a great car, even! And he rescues her from the bad just keeps getting better and better for our heroine.

I can see how this caught on. And, on top of that, its a truly original story told pretty dad-gummed well. Will I sit on the edge of my seat for the next one? No. But I'm over 40 and male. I wouldn't have done it for Elvis, either. Will I read the next books? Probably. Its, to me, (pardon the phrase) bubble-gum. Its entertaining, it doesn't take a lot of talent or effort to consume, and it tastes pretty good. I like a good easy read now and then.

Do I recommend it? Tough call. Are you a die-hard SF fan? This is NOT for you. Are you 13-20 and female? You will sigh a lot. Are you open to a good story with original characters that aren't too deep and have very uncomplicated emotional histories? You could read this. Do you like comic books? This is for you. I liked it. I did not love it, but then I wasn't supposed to.