A Game of Thrones

Thanks to John.

Yesterday, I received two books from him that we had spoken of about a week ago. The first is George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones. I must confess that I am very particular about the books that I read. Recommendation has mostly been banned from my life after having read two of the stupidest books ever written (which I refuse to comment on any farther) recommended by individuals I adore and trust. When someone says, “you should read…” I typically have half a second of debate as to whether I like this person enough to bluntly refuse or if I need to change my identity. I just don’t do well with recommendations.

But John is to me like a favorite, witty uncle. He is not only one of the most brilliant thinkers I’ve seen in our culture, but he is also one of the most complex persons I’ve ever known. I’ve been telling him for several years that he should write a book. And in spite of my automatic fight-or-flight kind of  response to book recommendations, I had to detach myself for a moment and consider the source. John does not seem an easy man to please. I don’t mean that he is difficult, but that he has high expectations. I know this, because I’ve spoken with him about my own music and writing, and have felt like a squashed toad afterward. He commands excellence. And in spite of my fear of being disappointed by another dud of a book, I had to admit to myself that most of the things he has shared with me (music, stories, photography, et cet.) have thrilled me and challenged me. So I set aside my book recommendation face and I listened as John told me about these two books. I didn’t think either one sounded particularly spectacular, but I thought John sounded particularly fascinated by them. For that reason alone, when I told him I would check at the library for them, I meant it.

But he sent me the books instead. The old softy. John has such a great heart. He is so generous. So loving.

But I digress! I began yesterday with A Game of Thrones. It was a great day for reading, since it was stormy and cold. The first chapter did not overly impress me. There were a couple of sentences that jumped out at me, and I thought, Yeah; he’s got some stuff! But as I read on, I realized quickly that Martin’s writing skills were only a piece of his brilliance. The plot of this book is so thick and complex, I’m not even sure who the “good guy” and “bad guy” are supposed to be. I don’t mind. I find myself looking at the characters much more critically–not to criticize them, but to understand their choices. It is closer to reality in that regard than anything I’ve ever read: the idea that people aren’t totally evil or totally good; but that they make choices for personal, emotional, political, familial reasons, and they face the consequences (whether good or ill) of those choices. Honestly, these are some of the most complicated characters I’ve ever met in fiction. I love them.

So I am about 200 pages into the book. I admit it’s a little heavier than I typically like my fiction. It is definitely R-rated material in some places, but never overly so. The masterful writing, the complexity of the characters (and thus, the complexity of their relationships to one another and to the world around them [aka: the plot]), the development of cultures, and the incredible storytelling (which, yes–is different than “the masterful writing”) greatly overshadows anything that could be counted “offensive.”

Ironically, it is the other book that John was really pushing for me to read.

Pax Christi.

Semmie.

the day as it is today

good afternoon, random blog viewers. i haven’t a particular subject or matter to bloviate about today. i have only a few random things worth mentioning. i may even use bullets, since i heart them so.

  • i finally landed me a copy of Glenn Beck’s Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government. i haven’t started reading it yet, but since the sky whispers rain, i will most likely light a candle and dive into it this evening.
  • did i mention it’s going to rain? yeah. i heart rain!
  • i’ve been battling a migraine for the better part of a week now. i woke up with no migraine today! thank you, jesus!
  • i am making risotto tonight. i know, i’m obsessed with risotto. i do heart it so!
  • i received a letter from jenny yesterday, and a letter from kristin today. i am so blessed to have such cool women in my life who will engage me in the art of writing.
  • speaking of writing, i have once again decided to set my story on hold. it seems that my inspiration for this tale flares up and dies down of its own volition. i am merely a frantic clerk, trying to record the entire thing in ink. i will keep you all posted on whether or not i’m spending any energy on it. in the meantime, i am sensing a deep thrust toward something i’m yet unsure of. if anything becomes of it, you’ll be the first to know.
  • i am on the last two chapters of Perelandra, by C.S. Lewis, book 2 of his Space Trilogy. i confess the same bewilderment as when i read the first book. the first two chapters bored me to tears, but once we were on Venus, i was addicted. i will finish this up before i start Beck’s book tonight. i admit, i am far less imaginative than Lewis! even in his very christian approach to fantasy, he is creative and whimsical. i heart Lewis.
  • i really do heart Lewis, even in a way that i don’t necessarily heart Tolkien or Chesterton, or even MacKintosh. each of these men were brilliant in their own right, obviously. Lewis’s place in my heart, though, is not for being a brilliant writer, but for being brilliantly prolific. the man wrote more on any given day than many people will pen in a lifetime. think of it: his day began with writing personal responses to the children who had written Narnia fan mail to him. his day ended with writing in a diary. and in between, he managed to write countless other works (apologia, fantasy, letters, poetry, et cetera). the man was a writing machine.
  • i actually got side-tracked. and i have to go now.

thanks for reading. :)

pax christi.

semmie