It’s Monday! is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.
On this Monday, I’m reading Storm of Swords, the third book in the George R.R. Martin A Song of Ice and Fire series. I didn’t love Book 2, and this book throws you right back into the action. Since it’s been a year or more since I read Book 2, I was more than a little confused. And if you’ve read any of these books, you know that Martin doesn’t go easy on his reader with the number of characters — all of whom are related to each other in strategically important ways. After I looked up a summary of Book 2 on Wikipedia it’s falling back into place and I love it. You have to be pretty impressed with the amount of world-detail, action, betrayal and intrigue that Martin ties together in these books.
I was reading Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon, but I stopped about a third of the way into the book. I was telling myself “just get to at least 50% before putting it down” and then I decided that if you have to keep telling yourself that, you’re NOT enjoying the book. I feel like Chabon is putting word-smithery ahead of telling a good story. I don’t mind complexity – I appreciate it in fact. But it does help if the author lets you know what decade you’re in, who’s talking, and what the hell is going on. Advice from readers? If you’ve read it, please let me know if I should keep reading. I like Archy and Gwen and Julie and some of the other characters. But it just feels like WORK.
My choice of Storm of Swords may have been influenced by the fact that my husband is teaching me to play Dragon Age, a computer fantasy game. I’ve never played one of these games before, except for Zelda on the Wii, and this is really, really fun. I started playing and had no idea what I was doing, so the husband’s tutoring has made a big difference. You have to know how to arm yourself, target the bad guys, go on quests, pick up treasure, make potions, etc. Plus you actually have to make moral (or immoral) decisions and you have to make friends with your companions. You get a choice of different kinds of dialogue so you can be snarky, kind, deceptive or helpful. And with the gorgeous graphics it’s like being in a George RR Martin book only I’m the main character. Anyone else play these things? The husband’s been playing computer games for years, so what I know comes from him and from The Guild. I’m not playing with real people, but that’s okay because I barely have time to play and I still don’t know what I’m doing. But it’s been a lot of fun.
And speaking of time, I started my grad school class and I’m super excited about it. I got my textbook (ridiculously expensive), my university parking pass, and my student email account, and I’m ready to be a student again. The class is Intro to Education Research, and even though I’ve worked with ed research for years, it doesn’t mean I can tell you what an independent variable is. The instructor seems great and I had a good time talking to some of the other “mid-career” students in the class (there are just a few of us and we all sat in the back of the room).
Books I finished recently: just The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle, which was thought-provoking even if it wasn’t the best Boyle I’ve read.
Next up? Storm of Swords will have me wrapped up for a while, I think.
Lastly, a Challenge update. I’m 2 books into the TBR Pile Challenge, 1 book into the Classics Club and 1 book into the Historical Fiction Challenge. Not bad for the first month of the year! I didn’t complete the Around the World Challenge in January, and February’s locale is Sudan. Suggestions?
How is your Monday going? What are you reading?