So, I am awfully behind on my long reads this year. I was done with my long reads last year by the springtime with The Time Seekers. I have one beautiful week left of July and I have only made it to three long books.
Last year’s 5 over 500:
The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic, Emily Croy Barker
Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
The Time Seekers, DA Squires
This year’s 5 over 500 so far:
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
A Winter’s Tale, Mark Helprin
The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
A lot of reading what I have is shorter things, which should mean I am ahead on my book count as last year, but I don’t have a hope of reading more books this year, with 43 so far. I would have to read 60 books between today and the end of the year to match that, over 162 days in which to do it. I would have to get through about a third of a book a day to make it. Not entirely out of range, especially if I stick to shorter things.
But my goals are different this year. It’s more about reading what I have, and I am doing that, but I am getting pulled back to reading challenges. Inevitable. They are seriously like a black hole or a succubus or crack to me. A black hole made of crack full of succubi if you will.
So number 3 was in the title and anyone reading for a review of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss must be getting impatient and scroll happy.
This is your quintessential fantasy book, in my opinion. Granted I have only read The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring if I am going to model fantasy after Tolkien, but I feel this is similar. A powerful wizard has to scrape his way up from devastation and nothing to realize his power in school, as well as trying to find out why his parents and actor troupe were murdered. I am going to warn the reader straight out, though, that you plow through almost 700 pages and 25 listening hours to get like a fingernail of the story. The last few pages involve a twist that leaves you hanging, and picks up interest. Typical of fantasy, it is not a standalone novel, and if you are okay with that, this could be for you. It looks like this is a trilogy. I have to be more hooked on a trilogy to do the other two, and I looked at the second one, The Wise Man’s Fear, is over a thousand pages.
I mostly liked the worldbuilding and the main character, who is smart but bold and impatient. He has had enough time with loving parents and in childhood to have healthy attachments and empathy for others, but his time scraping to get by hardens him and he is much more bold and brash where this book leaves off than he was in the beginning. He lives by his wits on the fringe to keep stringing along tension. He is not completely alone, he has friends, but he is certainly on the edges of society. Further reviews suggest that he moves from being a wizard and a hero to even more powerful as the books go on, and who does not like a good quest to power?
Some parts felt slow, like when he was on the streets surviving, or when he takes an impromptu two day trip to find out more about the Chandrian and why they murder. I know that the part with the dragon and the opiate resin he finds will be important elsewhere in the story, but where the book leaves off, I am wondering what that part was for. His issues with a rich noble are not resolved, nor is his access to the Archives.
What I realized about fantasy while I was reading this and A Wizard of Earthsea is just how much philosophy this genre can incorporate when it wants to. Both of these dealt a lot with names and the meaning and power of knowing names. Naming something usually means a degree of power over it. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rothfuss has read and developed some of his own work from LeGuin. And I am planning on reading more LeGuin and seeing how much more philosophy/theology that she pulls in.
Even trolling some of the reviews I see, some people loved this and some people thought it was mediocre or even crap. I posted on another blogger’s Facebook page that I was reading it and I got some loves, but Facebook does not have a dislike button yet so I only got one side of the reviews. Why doesn’t Facebook have a dislike button, after all? Is it trying to deny one of it’s predominant purposes of starting crap between people?
While I know reading outside my genre is good for me, I just don’t know if in my heart I am a fantasy reader. I don’t want to do A Song of Ice and Fire, especially after having a boyfriend who wanted the next book to come out so badly he would have a fit when Martin did not report on his blog that he was writing, but watching football instead. I don’t want to depend on someone to stop watching football to let me know how a thousand plot lines and random deaths will make sense in the end. I understand why Martin was more interested in the Jets. At some point I should buck up and read the other two Lord of the Rings, but honestly I read Fellowship in like 2001 and I only saw that one movie so I am not holding out hope.
Probably I can relate better to YA fantasy, sad as that is for me to admit.
But I did get through a Read Harder challenge category. I am finding I care less for Popsugar this year. And also Read Harder gives credit to the authors who I admire who selected these categories. I like it. I am cool if Roxane Gay and Celeste Ng pick out something for me to consider.
And briefly in other news, I listened to an old episode of Literary Disco to get through some of my back podcasts (because I will die beside a mountain of unrealized hobbies) and I think I need to listen to it more to sharpen my book critiquing skills. Yeah. Awesome yet funny book discussions galore.
Comments/shares/likes for please!!