Tag Archives: George R. R. Martin

Love This? Try This! – “The World of Ice & Fire”

pixshark.com; click here for Amazon.com

I’ve decided to review this book by creating a new “If you like this, you might also like this” segment. A lot of my reading choices are based on comparisons to other things I’ve liked (thank you, Goodreads; find me at lindsayjohnna!), so I’m hoping to find a few similarities along my reading road that might offer some helpful insight! Let me know what you think.

Photo from bgr.com

The first one is a little obvious, but this past Christmas, Brice got me The World of Ice & Fire by George R. R. Martin, Elio M. Garcia, Jr., and Linda Antonsson since he’s aware of my love for Martin’s magnificent series and also for tracing literary lineages. Martin worked closely with the other authors to ensure that the book read as a history, much like J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion (another reason I simply adore it). He also worked with the artists to ensure that the book’s illustrations captured his mind’s image of his imaginary world, and thank God for that because these pictures are above and beyond the reach of TV.

Photo from inspirationhut.com

I’m the kind of reader who loves to know back story; throughout the series, we come to understand how the realm came to be a unified kingdom, but The World of Ice & Fire elaborates on the migration of the Targaryens to Westeros, the conquering of the kingdoms, the reigns of many Targaryen kings, Robert’s Rebellion, the many houses and realms in Westeros and Essos, etc. I loved reading this and I go back frequently to check my facts & review the mesmerizing illustrations on every page. Truly, I cannot praise the artwork enough. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves the series of novels and wants to know more than can be contained in the already very long books.

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H: Book Challenge – Day 11-13

So, back to the Book Challenge.

Day 11 – I can confidently say I hated The Devil in the White City, which I reviewed here. Just as a reminder, there is a lot about the White City and barely anything about our serial killer friend, HH Holmes. Here at Shrews, we have a demand for serial killer books to be bloody, in case you haven’t noticed.

Day 12 – I have been pondering this, book I have a love/hate relationship with and can not come up with anything. I don’t halfway love any novel, it’s all or nothing with me. However, in defense of Lindsay’s hatred for A Feast for Crows, I will say the book vastly improved upon my second reading. Instead of waiting for plot twists, I knew what was coming and could instead focus on the slow demise of my least favorite character.

Day 13 – As for my favorite writer, I am inclined to pick JK Rowling, of course; however, I am simply terrified to read any of her non-HP novels. What if they aren’t as good?! What if they tarnish my opinion of her?! One day I will get over this fear, until then, I will keep her as the ever creative master, JK.

This blog post was not very interesting or thought provoking, but I felt as though I needed to catch up with Lindsay. So be it.
Happy Reading!
-H

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To Re-Read, or Not to Re-Read?

This is it, people. The time is nigh. Winter is coming and we readers know this to be prime time for our chosen… “sport.” I’m an active individual and I love all things recreational, so in the spring, summer, and fall, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll find me out and about frolicking through the meadows, paddling down a river, or hiking up that mountain right over there. Those seasons are far too pleasant to sit inside and hunker down with a book and a hot drink. But this is why God gave us winter. Winter, generally speaking, is misery. Let’s be real. My car door was frozen shut this morning, which I should’ve taken as sign that my day would be better spent in bed with my book and my main man, Mr. Hot-Toddy (I found the best recipe for these, by the way). But no, I soldiered-on through the frost using the ever-faithful windshield scraper that Mom got for me, grumbling and yelling “HEATER, HOT, HIGH” at my non-responsive dashboard, just the way my dad taught me. Clearly, in most ways, winter is not my friend. But I have learned that the random holidays peppered throughout the season are not nature’s only way of making winter tolerable. Cold weather encourages you to stay inside and find something else, anything else to do with your day besides stepping outside. Therein lies the majesty of being a book person; we have a whole 5-ish months to devour all the books we carried with us to lay unopened beside the pool while we splashed and played. It was 23 degrees outside this morning, so I’d say the reading season is in full-swing.

My challenge this winter is the ever-troublesome issue of “to re-read or not to re-read”.  A couple of years ago I read the first five volumes of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and I have been craving a good, old-fashioned re-read of those lately. However, I have a really difficult time motivating myself to RE-read something when there are so many things I have not read yet. With few exceptions (i.e. anything by Tolkien), I shy away from re-reading things and try to consume as many new-to-me works as I can. I know Hannah has no problem re-reading things; in fact, she just recently read Martin’s series for probably the third time. Many people have no issue with re-reading, but I feel like I’m not giving enough of a chance to the books I’ve been avoiding for so long. I can’t read A Game of Thrones a second time when I haven’t made it all the way through Lolita yet. I know my avoidance of the re-read is irrational, so I’m breaking myself of it, slowly but surely. In order to do this, I couldn’t start with all five of Martin’s 800-ish page books, so I started smaller with Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk.

I read this in high school and I remember thinking it was so strange and interesting, but I didn’t remember much about the story line. Perfect re-read potential, if you ask me. All over again, I loved it. Palahniuk knows exactly how to make the repulsive and offensive character appeal to readers. Last time I talked about Palahniuk, I stated that I would not suggest him to anyone, and I stand by that because it takes a very particular type of person to not be offended by Chuck. However, Invisible Monsters is one of Palahniuk’s milder works and, although I still don’t think the common reader would like it, I also don’t think they would toss the book aside in horror. The characters are pretty bad people; “pretty” being the degree of “badness” (in terms of Palahniuk, they could be so much worse) but they are in fact very pretty people who deal with the 1st world struggles of the beautiful people. Reading about them is like slowing down to look at a horrifying wreck on the interstate; we all want to pass by slowly, take in each and every fascinating detail so that you, in your secure little world, can fully appreciate NOT being that guy on the gurney. His characters are the casualties and their horribly unappealing lives are the wreckage. Like I said, I loved it and I’m glad I re-read it. The verdict is in; re-reads are worth-while. Spread the word far and wide and let us know how you feel about re-reads! We want to hear from you so keep us posted and take time this winter to sit down and get aqainted with an old friend.

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WHEW

Yes, Lindsay has spoken the truth – I am terrible at keeping up with blogging. However, I have been reading!! In preparation of the newest season of Game of Thrones, I am re-reading (and very much enjoying) the 3rd book in the Song of Ice and Fire Series, Storm of Swords. It’s my favorite book in the series so expect an exciting and raving review coming your way soon!

In the meantime, check out my other blog because I just updated it as well!

Thanks for your patience & happy reading!
H

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The Ultimate Face-Off: Classics vs. Contemps

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: classic literature is soooo much better than contemporary literature! I spent my college years absorbing as many classics as I possibly could, and avoiding contemporary works as much as possible. Hannah has made great strides towards bringing my reading into the 21st century, but we were talking last night about how most of these books we hoped would be so interesting keep falling short of our simple expectations of entertainment. It makes me wonder. I know Hannah likes classics but I don’t think she is as avidly partial as myself, so if even she is disappointed, are we picking the wrong books or is it something else?

My favorite college professor (thank God for Dr. Byron Brown) once taught me that every book in some way reverts back to one of three classics: The Bible, The Odyssey, and The Aeneid. Now, whether you buy into that or not, it makes sense. Those works contain characters, plot lines, dramatic arches, dialogues, symbolism, and intended moral lessons that have stood the test of time and carry through all other literary works written since. Because these works are so well-known throughout the world, I’ve always been under the impression that it is borderline impossible to write anything “original” anymore since it’s the 21st century and, in some way or other, everything has already been said. So is that the problem with 21st century literature? Nothing is good enough because all the best things have already been written? Or is it possibly more personal? I think most of it is crap because I place the classics on such a lofty pedestal?

I think, for me and my opinion of contemporary works, it may be a somewhat “perfect storm” type combo of both of these possibilities. I don’t like most contemporary works because they can’t hold a candle to most classics. I must give credit, though, to a few of the works and authors that have come along and rocked my world! My deep adoration of the Harry Potter series has been harped upon in past posts so I’ll spare you any reiteration. I feel that same level of excited obsession for George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, probably also surprising no one. And now and then, an author like Chuck Palahniuk or Jeff Lindsay comes along and proves that original and captivating works can still be written, and written exceptionally well.

So the moral of this particular story is that my opinion remains unchanged. Classics trump contemporaries, hands down. I doubt whether anything could change said opinion at this point, but I will press on, forge my way through a sea of mediocrity in order to find a few diamonds in the rough. And you can bet your bottom dollar that when I do find them, you’ll be the first to know!

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