Archive for January, 2012

As stated in my last post, I had a busy month at work due to doing not only my job but my co-workers, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t reading. In fact I’ve read quite a few books, and have some reviews backlogged that I need to get written up and posted. I’ll be starting with the first book I mentioned, The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

The Magicians is a book I wanted to love. It’s about a kid who shows an exceptional gift for magic and gets to go to a special magical school. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t go in expecting Harry Potter which is what this book sounds like when I describe it as that. In fact, some other reviews I read of this before picking it up warned me that this was not a ‘children’s book’ and was written for a mature audience. Never mind the fact that the Harry Potter series stopped being a ‘children’s book’ after Prisoner of Azkaban… I went in with an open mind. What I got was a world that was underdeveloped and characters that I didn’t like much less love. It was an amalgamation of other author’s ideas that were not executed well. Putting all that aside, I was just bored by the book… because I tried my hardest not to draw comparisons to these other worlds as I read.

The initial chapters drew me in… our protagonist Quentin gets invited to a magical school, we spend a third of the book covering his many years there, and I still didn’t develop a proper understanding of the different specialties the characters could learn and how the magic worked (No wand waving, just funny hand gestures and speaking gibberish). We get glimpses of the dark side of this magic and then our protagonist graduates. This whole portion of the story was rushed. If it had been me, I would have flushed this out in more detail THEN moved on to the other two parts of the story… probably as other books. I wanted more and didn’t get it, I got two more parts to a story that I didn’t want, didn’t like and found to be ridiculous… and not just because they borrow heavily from other ‘fantasy’ stories. I didn’t develop a relationship with the protagonist where I WANTED to know what happened to him, in fact I didn’t really care one way or another. Apathy is NOT what you should feel when reading a story.

Part two of the story was like a bad drama on the CW. (GOSSIP GIRL I’M LOOKING AT YOU). The kids all graduate and go to live out their lives in NYC. They use drugs and party and don’t really study or use their magic. They are adrift. Is this the best way to show that they are adrift? By glamourizing drug use and partying and making the characters so irritating you can’t find any redeeming qualities in them? CHUCKBASSANYONE?

Segue to part 3.  A different magician that Quentin and crew never got along with in school appears and reveals that he’s found a magical portal that lets him go to other lands. He wants everyone to go with him to explore so we go jumping through puddles a la The Chronicles of Narina. Are you confused yet? That would make two of us. Why is this necessary, what is the point? Big, dark and nasty magic happens in Narnia, the book ends, is anticlimactic and YET there is a sequel being written to pick up where the story left off… they’re going back to Narnia (okay, they call it Fillory but the Narnia movies were on TV today).

The protagonist is time and again given everything he wants and still he’s unhappy with his lot in life. In my opinion he has no one to blame but himself. That being said, I don’t think I would recommend this book to you all. I did read the excerpt from the new book, and it ALMOST makes me want to pick up the sequel when it’s released (it actually could be released by now, I’m not sure). I doubt I will though, this book was a chore to finish and I don’t want to be sucked into yet another book that was painful to get through. I love fantasy, I love fiction, I love magic and I love coming of age stories but I can’t understand why this book got such rave reviews. I didn’t love or loathe Quentin, I didn’t care about him at all, and that is probably the worst thing about this story.

Page Count: 416/100,000

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A response to DUMPTHEBLOG

Posted: January 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

My dear friend @dumptheblog wrote a post on why he dislikes eBooks… I wrote a response (and since it was so lenghty) thought I’d actually post it on my blog for everyone to read.  Why did I post it here?  Because I am still doing my 100,000 page challenge and most of my reading to date has been done on an eReader.

Yes, I’m aware I haven’t actually updated the blog since I started the challenge… I suppose I should make my excuses for the lack of updates but at least this time it wasn’t because I didn’t ‘feel’ like it, which had been the case leading up to the 100,000 challenge.  (A co-worker had a personal issue and was out of work for several weeks leaving me doing her work and my own over the holiday season… oh and I work another part time job at church… I tend to over extend myself and it all caught up with me… that being said I am back and going strong… my first review will be The Magician, followed by a review of an old Nora Roberts Triology and then finally The Hunger Games Series and the final book of the Inheritance Cycle… I TOLD YOU I READ LOST OF BOOKS).

ANYWAYS… THE ORIGINAL DUMP:  http://dumptheblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/why-i-hate-ebooks.html

MY RESPONSE:

I really don’t agree with your take on this… that there is a great divide between team paper book and team eBook.  (SERIOUSLY I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’VE REFERRED TO THEM AS “TEAM WHATEVER” A LA TWILIGHT *disappointed frown*). 

I have a Nook and love it for all the reasons you mention (portability mostly as I read every day at work and read more than one book at any given time) but I’m not a pusher… I don’t go around saying that paper books or dead so everyone should convert, nor do I assume those who cling to their paper are dinosaurs, so I’m offended by the broad generalizations of each group.  That being said, the rest of my comments are going to come off as very PRO eBook… mostly in response to all the faults you list with them. 

I think that a lot of people are similar to me actually… that they LOVE their paper books but they simply can’t keep all their books because of the lack of space.  Case in point, I have 5 boxes in storage that haven’t been touched in years because it’s too difficult to move the boxes around and dig through them… what good are they doing anyone sitting there?  At least with my massive archive of eBooks I can go back and read them anytime I want… and I do re-read my eBooks!  How many books do you have that you re-read on a regular basis?  How many sit collecting dust that haven’t been cracked in years?  Would you be more apt to read them if it only took a few minutes to pull it from an archive?  What about if your house caught fire… all those books of yours would be gone, all of the dog eared pages and memories attached to them? 

What you describe in your post is your emotional attachment to an object and not necessarily the story it contains… and that I think is my biggest problem with why you hate them.  You can make notes and highlights and dog ear pages in an eBook… the same as you can in a paper book.  (Yes, not being able to read without power is problematic… so I won’t argue with you there).  Holding the tangible book in your hands CAN make a difference in how you read a story but it isn’t the only factor that should matter… A good book is a good book regardless of what format it is in.  I also think you are not taking into account the sheer number of people who are now able to self-publish and get their stories out there… this would have never been possible without eReaders as the publishing industry is notoriously hard to break into… unless you’re Snooki *shudder*.  (Some people SHOULDN’T be self-publishing… I’ve read some real trash… but I’ve also read some great AND FREE self-published stories). 

I do worry that eBooks will kill an already floundering industry, but I really doing think print will ever actually die.  For me, it’s about the story not the method of delivery so I’m happy with the eBook format.  I was once like you and thought I’d never like eBooks but I gave them a chance and I don’t regret it.  Do I still like reading a paper book, and do I still buy paper books… of course I do but I can’t find fault with how the format has expanded the scope of what I read and how I read it. 

Now the real travesty is that eBooks can’t be lent… yes, I can lend them on my Nook, but only once and only for 14 days.  Don’t get me started on how the lack of ‘open’ content and sharing of eBooks infuriates me.