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RIP

::sniffle:: More than a little upset by the death of a man I never met, but who filled many quiet (and laughter-filled) corners of my life from late childhood reading Truckers before graduating to Discworld.

The following quotes seem to sum things up more eloquently than I can.

“AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.”

“Death isn’t cruel – merely terribly, terribly good at his job.”

“DON’T THINK OF IT AS DYING, said Death. JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH.”

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Umm, yeah, it’s been a while. Ah well, forgive me?

I’ve just discovered Goodreads, something I’m sure many of my avid readers have known about for a long time. I’d heard of it a while ago, but never gotten round to trying it. So I’ve rated a few things, added a few things and generally messed around with it a little, but not all that much yet. You can follow/friend/see what I’m reading here.

One of the bits of functionality that’s rather nice is you can become a fan of an author – and receive updates/news/blog posts. Which means as well as confirming, depressingly, that neither Rothfuss nor Weeks even have an expected publishing date for Book Three of their trilogies, (but Rothfuss wins, cos people have been reviewing his unwritten book for him, and he’s added a nice post asking for them to let him have a copy as he’d like to know how it turns out in the end….)

Anyway, I stumbled across the unexpected news that Hobb is back at it, and plans to release the first on a new trilogy about Fitz and the Fool this summer. I’m unsure of this is good news or not. If you read the last post on here (yes I know, it was a while ago – go remind yourself what it was about, but be sure to come back) you’ll know of the view shared with Waxy, that sometimes an author really should stop trying to write new stories and just live off the royalties of the existing books.

I love both Fitz and the Fool, and have shed many a tear over Nighteyes, Burrich’s sacrifice, the Fool’s torture and so on. And I hope (wildly and possibly foolishly) that she can write at her former level once more now she’s dealing with characters she’s very familar with again. Maybe the monotonous and lifeless Dragon books are a blip best consigned to the second-hand book shop.

As to what she will do with the characters, its hard to guess. Molly and Fitz appeared to be, finally, living”happily ever after”. It almost seems cruel to tear them apart again (but equally not much of a story if they stay tucked up in their home together!). Will she take us back to the Fool’s motherland, where I vaguely recall (correct me if im wrong) he was planning on heading with the Black man.

I don’t know. We’ll have wait till August to find out. In the meantime I have a gradually increasing “Want to Read” virtual shelf on goodreads (have a look and make a recommendation if you like)

My to-read shelf:
SorceressPol's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (to-read shelf)

along with 2 new books for Christmas, Making Steam (the new Pratchett) and the first Wheel of Time book – a series that’s somehow passed me by in the last 20 years.

Happy new year and happy reading.

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The writing in the book was odd, blocky, legible but unnaturally cramped. And unnaturally even. Every letter looked like every other letter, whether it was at the beginning of the word, the middle, or the end.

There was no personality to it. No human hand had inscribed these lines. It was lifeless, everything the same. No extra space after a difficult sentence to give a reader time to grapple with the implications. No space in the margins for notes or illuminations. No particular care taken on  a memorable line or passage to highlight it for a tired reader. Only naked ink and the unfeeling stamp of some mechanical roller.

The quote above, from The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks, is the point where Kip is first shown a book which has been printed by a machine rather than hand written by scribes. It struck a chord with me and my love of real, paper books compared to e-reader/kindle thingies. It made me think about invention and how stories have evolved from scrolls to books to ebooks. And reminded me of the funny sketch on YouTube of medieval helpdesk support explaining how a book works compared to a scrol. Watch it, it’s in Norwegian but there’s English subtitles.

I love browsing through a bookshop, picking up books, reading the blurb on the back and the first page or so, looking at the cover art, deciding what to buy. You can’t do all that with an electronic version. If it’s online, all virtual, you can’t fill your shelves with a loved series – all with matching covers (more on some people’s slightly obsessive need for that in a different blog). Buying is as good as browsing too – getting the new books out of the bag and looking at them again, choosing which to read first and tucking the others away for later – there’s a pleasure in the anticipation of opening it, of being drawn into a story.

Not for me the “Click”. Buy it.

“Click”. Open it.

“Click”. Turn a page.

And what about a book you read again and again – those ones that were pristine and have gradually over many years of being shared, and read and reread, now have a few loose pages, a sun-bleached spine, and probably rather tatty covers. There’s something lovely about that too – a book you can pick up and it drops open at a favourite point in a story. An ebook won’t do that. Nor can you share an ebook easily.

Books are more durable. Yes, you might get the corners wet in the bath, but they’ll dry quick enough. Even if you drop the whole thing in, there’s a chance of drying it off with a hairdryer and some patience. A Kindle dunked in the bath is broken. Dead.  And that’s all your books gone. Not just one.

Ok, so an ebook reader is probably easier to carry around than a hefty hardbook (I’m thinking of Rothfuss’ epic tomes in particular here) but I’m still a paper and ink girl at the end of the day.

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I’m re-reading Trudi Canavan’s Magician’s Guild series at the moment. Have you read it? It’s a simple, easy to read story (her first books I believe – published in 2001, and inspired by a dream) about a young girl from the slums who accidentally learns she has magical skill and how that develops in the very political world of the Guild of Magicians when previously all other novices were from the higher classes only. (As well as having to handle a bullying colleague and a scary adversary, who if my vague memory recalls correctly – isn’t actually as bad as first made out.)

But I’m hooked.

And I’ve read it before. But just devoured the first and second books and am a good way into the third already. The main characters are likeable and interesting. It’s surprising that her second trilogy (The Age of Five – set in a different world) wasn’t as strong a story).  I really must borrow the other Guild Magician books soon.

 

 

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