Fantasy, Reader's Rights, Reviews

A Game of Groans

Reading, in my opinion, is a very personal activity.  Sure you can form book clubs to discuss the books you read, write blogs about books and reading, write reviews of those books on social media, and share your love with family, friends, and strangers, telling them about books that they absolutely must read because you just loved it.  As Edmund Wilson is quoted as saying, “No two persons ever read the same book”.  So even though your book club is discussing the same book as they sip their wine, each person has taken from the book what they need or what they saw between the lines based on the experiences of their own life.  And more simply, everyone likes what they like and more often than not, that cannot be changed.  There are always books that somehow transcend our usual prejudices about genre and subject matter but even the most generally well-received book just cannot appeal to everyone.

game of thronesEven though I gave A Game of Thrones, the first book in George R. R. Martin’s phenomenally popular A Song of Ice and Fire series just two stars on Goodreads.com, I’m not saying it isn’t good.  On the contrary, I admit that is well-written and often quite captivating.  But personally, I’m not a fan of political drama, which A Game of Thrones often is in the guise of a gritty fantasy.  More than that, though, I found that the graphic violence and, at times, the rough language made me rather uncomfortable.  (Does that sound strange coming from someone who counts Lonesome Dove among her favorite novels?  [Now there’s a book that really took me by surprise when I fell in love with it])  A Game of Thrones is far more graphic and harsh than anything I’ve ever read.

It is difficult to admit that I decided long before I finished reading this first book in the series that I would not be continuing with the series.  I just don’t think I could endure more of the extremely violent imagery, and pointless, political undercutting (it is too much like watching the nightly news during this election year!) for however long the series lasts.  Unfortunately, Martin wrote some very intriguing endings to the storylines that left me just a little curious about what happens next.  I’m ashamed to say, though, that if my curiosity gets the best of me, I’ll probably watch the TV show.  That way I can fast forward through the violence or read something I enjoy more while it plays.

There was one aspect of A Game of Thrones I really enjoyed.  Well, there were a few things such as the strong female characters, and the biting wit of Tyrion Lannister.  But my favorite thing was how, in this word that he’s created, Martin included living creatures that we can recognize, fantastic creatures, and extinct creatures.

      “Such animals as you have never seen, striped horses, great spotted things with necks as long as stilts, hairy mouse-pigs as big as cows, stinging manticores, tigers that carry their cubs in a pouch, terrible walking lizards with scythes for claws. Syrio Forel has seen these things.”

Zebras and giraffes, manticores, Tasmanian tigers, Komodo dragons?

Ur-painting
Aurochs

And I mean, who other than a natural historian or a natural history enthusiast like myself even knows that an animal called an aurochs even existed?  So yeah, in a way, A Game of Thrones appealed to the nerd in me.

Reader's Rights

Reading Resolutions

It’s that time again.  Time to make promises to yourself that you probably won’t even keep through January.  I’ve made the usual resolution to get in better shape because while round is a shape, squishy isn’t.  I’ve also vowed to be more organized with my finances.  And because I know I will likely fail at those resolutions, I’ve made a few reading resolutions that will be a little easier to keep.

My first reading resolution of 2016 will be to finish A Game of Thrones, the first installment in George R. R. Martin’s phenomenally popular A Song of Ice and Fire series.  I won’t resolve to read the rest of the series but that’s a subject for another post.  Secondly, I’ve set my 2016 Reading Challenge on Goodreads.com at 30 books despite the fact that I’ve read more than that in each of the last four years.  This year I want to read books I really enjoy and I want to feel like I can take the time to savor them.  On top of which I would like to focus on my own writing this year and unfortunately you can’t read and write at the same time.  At least I can’t.

Lastly, for the past couple of years, I’ve toyed with the idea of taking one of those reading challenges you see online but I always lose track by the summer.  However, I found a very doable, twelve-book challenge on ModernMrsDarcy.com (gotta love the name!).  I like it because, with only 12 challenges (one for each month), it leaves room for plenty of just-for-fun reading.  Which is my favorite kind.

2016 Reading Challenge from modernmrsdarcy.com  Visit this great site for readers for challenges, lists and more
2016 Reading Challenge from modernmrsdarcy.com Visit this great site for readers for challenges, lists and more

Devoted readers and aspiring readers: this list is for you if you love to read (or want to read more) but don’t believe reading is a competitive sport. If you need structure in choosing your books but don’t want to be pinned down. If you want to stretch a bit instead of forever reading the

Source: The 2016 Reading Challenge. – Modern Mrs. Darcy