A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

The saga continues even as our dear beloved characters suffer.  Arya and Sansa prisoners, Jon Snow in the wilds, Bran restless at Winterfell, Rickon under the spell of the Freys, and dear Robb wrestling with becoming King and commander at 15.

The Lannisters are split and conniving, and it remains to be seen if they desire the same goals.

Our mother of dragons has found a momentary reprieve.

Still no sign of Benjen.

 

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

The quote that keeps coming back to me was from a self-help type book that I didn’t agree with most of the other ideas that were presented, but it’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow some good…and the good was this: when a girl interviewed me (the author) and asked for pointers on becoming a successful writer, I told her to take a business class.  It was not what she wanted to hear, but I pointed to the front of my book and told her, “It says ‘best selling’ author NOT ‘best writing’ author”.  That struck a chord with me as a bookseller and then a librarian, I have seen books that have been great and books that have been popular and there is no discernible relationality between the two.  I’m not saying I have not seen good books become popular, nor am I saying all popular books are good, rather that popularity simply indicates that many people are spending time and money on the book.

With that lengthy introduction I offer my opinion on the first book of this amazingly popular series.  The Game of Thrones was tightly woven and as readers saw the threads begin to unravel under each character, and the bravado of the author to allow our beloveds to die or be betrayed as the story unwinds, is breathtakingly spectacular!  His language, storytelling, and metaphor craftsmanship is astounding!

I am moving swiftly into the next book of the series, Clash of Kings, and I am intrigued by the Red Woman already!

We are not our illness

I am trying to sort out my feelings about an advanced copy of a book I received today.  I am a strong advocate for destigmatizing mental illness.  The Weight of Zero looked like an interesting book because the main character suffers with bipolar disorder.  However, as I was reading the publishers summary of the book on the back, it says, “Being bipolar is forever.” It should say, “Having bipolar is forever.” because it is a disease not a defining characteristic of a person.

I am still interested in the book, however, if they want to add a positive perspective to those with mental illness, I hope the author is more thoughtful with the language she uses.

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Ugly by Robert Hoge

This autobiography is written from a distance that helps the author create a more story feel to his childhood experiences as a disabled person.

Here are some of my favorite quotes.

“If our house was a dog it would be a rough little mongrel of a thing- not big, not fancy, not pretty. Luckily it was a happy mutt most of the time.” (p. 16)

“The kid with the squishy nose and strange legs isn’t all that surprising when you’re three years old and you hear stories about talking bears sitting at a table eating porridge.” (p. 87)

“There were no disabled role models for a young boy trying to work out what sort of man he could become.” (p. 89)

“Some of the best talks I have ever had started with someone asking, ‘This might seem rude, but can I ask about your face/nose/scars/bumps?’ Wherever those conversations ended up, they started as honest exchanges.” (p.113)

“Michelle declined my offer of boyfriendship.
‘It’s just, you’re a boy,’ she said.” (p. 122)

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No Men Beyond This Point

Time for one of my rare film reviews!  The good news is that this docu-comedy got me thinking and inspired a review.  The bad news is that I was inspired to write about the gap between my hopes for the movie and my subsequent disappointment in it.

I was looking forward to seeing this movie after reading a review about it and watching the trailer.  I felt betrayed after sitting through it and coming to the ‘happy end’ wherein the Hetrosexual Norm was championed as an underdog cause.

There were reactionary jokes like the name used for women who were attracted to men, “crooked”, and dismissive statements like it was just PMS.  With women in the government positions, a unified world government was created, thereby making military forces obviate.  I was glad that the  film didn’t make the matricentric world a utopian, but I do take umbrage with the film’s portrayal of women dismissing the NASA program (mostly because rockets are phallic).  I can think of many women who are interested in space and space travel.

I also would have been interested if they had explored more about gender and the lack thereof when the species became completely female.  They touched on it a bit, but I also wonder if people (women) would continue to “pair off” as they “naturally” did in the film.

The scope of the movie may have been too much, but I liked some of the ideas.  This would be a breakout film for very conservative, heterosexual people.

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The Bronze Key (Magisterium book 3) by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

I am enjoying this story, because although there are some familiar tropes; dynamic between three friends (2 male and 1 female), malicious outsider who turns out to be helpful (although not friendly even by book 3), our main character being the incarnation of the past evil mage as well as the only survivor of that group (there must have been others hiding in different parts of the world otherwise there wouldn’t be anyone else in the school…).  It is breaking out of some expectations.  The characters are likeable and relatable.

I’m not sure how many books these authors are aiming to create, but I’m not committed to finishing the series.  I would hand these to junior readers who are interested in Harry Potter but are intimidated by the girth of the books.

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And I Darken by Kiersten White

The female protagonist of this story is bold, fearless and hard to love.  She is easy to respect and has  great integrity as well as fierce loyalty.  Lada creates her own standard for what it is to be a woman.  She first allies herself with her father and other men, however she grows to find other women with strength, power and a will of their own even as they outwardly fit the customs of female fashion.

My favorite thing about this book is that Lada, even in love, commands respect and makes her own choices.  I will look forward to the next instalment of this series.