Monday, February 1, 2010

Robert Jordan; He loves Dresses!

"The lions sing and the hills take flight. The moon by day, and the sun by night. Blind woman, deaf man, jackdaw fool. Let the Lord of Chaos rule."

So we have another week and another book to review. And surprise, another Robert Jordan book. Since he's written about 15,000 books, you should see at least 26 blog posts about his exhaustive line of work. Well, maybe not that many. He's an excellent author and I would highly recommend.

This week's book was Lord of Chaos. That's book 6 of 4,000. Written back in '94/95, Jordan attempted to bring forth very little conclusion to the entire series. He ended up adding about fifteen plot line's and concluding none from the previous five books. That's not to say that it isn't an excellent book, but it does add a little tedium to the series. Somewhere in book five, Jordan decided that the reader really wanted to know every character's, great or small, clothing down to the smallest thread. It takes some imagination out of it. And I'm not sure that I really want to know.... well, maybe I do since I continue to indulge in Jordan every couple years. Mind you, in 1995 I went back and read the first five books to catch up to this one.

I won't give anything away for those that might be interested in picking up the series - and find themselves interested, b/c if you aren't interested then you won't get past book one - but you'll find that the culmination of the book(with Dumai's Wells) made it worth the dress details. You'll enjoy Jordan's ability to structure debate, war, romance(this isn't a steamy novel and thankfully so), conversation, and suspense. I know I've said it before, but Jordan is a master at his craft. Tolkien defined a genre, but Jordan refined it and raised the bar. I'm itching to get to the newest book and see how well the new author has done with what Jordan gave him.

Rating: 7 of 10 caffeinated beverages! And it literally took them. I was a little behind this week and had to read a little over 200 pages last night to finish. I didn't cheat even though 6 reads probably would have allowed it!

"First things first; take care of what can be done now before worrying too long over what might never be."


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Heart of Darkness

This week, at the recommendation of an English major, I decided to read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.  When I was in high school, I am pretty sure I was supposed to read it.  I am pretty sure I didn't.  There is something about age and maturity that illuminates the things your English teachers were trying to teach you while you were too busy with the important things of life like passing notes to the cute boy three rows over and when the bell was going to ring.  Apparently, I am have not yet gained enough of this age and maturity because I had a difficult time getting through this 70 page novel this week.  I was interested in almost everything else but Conrad's characters and plot development.  Don't get me wrong, I made it through (somehow); but the problem was I didn't find it fascinating.  I saw the things my English teacher wanted me to see back then: tone, character development, social commentary, structure, etc.  But what I didn't see was a page-turner.   I think that is what I am looking for.  I need something to get me through the week, that makes me push through my day so that I can finish with a great story.  What I do not need is the middle section of Heart of Darkness.  I would have preferred to read the beginning and end and have the middle summarized for me.  There were some great early quotes forshadowing what was to come and there was the key repeated phrase of heart of darkness (in case I forgot what I was reading), but those were in the bookends of the novel.  Is there a way to get Cliff's Notes for just the middle section?
There is one good thring to be said for reading this book.  There is a book called 1001 Books You Must Read Before you Die and at the beginning of this week, I had read exactly 1 percent of the books included in it.  At the close of this week I have read 1.2 percent of the books - what an accomplishment!! 
Rating: 3