Saturday, September 7, 2013

Reading Habits and On to Narnia

I'm not overly fond of the classics.  This is what led me to drop the English majoring.

I'd never read Narnia or Lord of the Rings (or past the first book, anyway), and yet I wanted to be a fantasy writer.

It always struck me as a little...well, not exactly hypocritical, but perhaps a little, well, as unpreparedness.  I always had the intention of reading them.  I always knew that someday, I would have to.  Because really, you can't be a fantasy writer unless LOTR or Narnia captured you so hard that you wanted to write fantasy for the rest of your life.

It's required reading, like Austen is for romance writers--or at least Regency romance writers, anyway.  Like H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King are for horror writers.  And Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley.

I got into the Dresden Files.  If you've never heard of it, it's like Harry Potter for adults.  I've never read Harry Potter (I wasn't allowed, although they ARE on my to-read list once I'm out from under my parents' roof), so I don't know the accuracy of the statement, but there you are.  I always said it was like Sookie Stackhouse for men--and women with better taste.  O.o.

Like everything else, I'm late to the game reading them.  There's 14 books out now, and 15, while I haven't seen cover art, has a title.  I started them earlier this year, and I'm pretty in love with them.  They're great stories.  I just finished book 8 yesterday.  I've been running around all week with school and work, and I had yesterday off.  I napped.  You work part time and go to school part time, and still manage your K a day and maintain reading habits....  It sucks being an adult.  I can't imagine what it must be like for people with kids.

...then I had a dream about people summoning up demons.  This happens fairly often in the Dresden Files, and I've been mainlining them, really.  And when I woke up, I was a little shaken.

Time to take a break.  So, I took a step back.  Okay, time to find something else to read for now.

I read The Magician's Nephew in June.  I picked up an omnibus edition of Narnia earlier this year, so I'm reading them in the order they're placed in the book.

I don't want to go back to reading romance, and I need a fantasy, and none of the fantasy books I have bookmarks in right now probably aren't going to help me...

So I pulled Narnia off my shelf.  I read about half of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe yesterday, and the other half this morning.

I've seen the movies, so I already had an idea of what was going to happen.  And, I think I felt this way when I finished The Magician's Nephew, I'm kind of glad I didn't read it as a child.

I didn't read much as a child anyway.  My childhood was pretty normal up until middle school.  I was an outside kid.  I ran and played and stank of the outside a lot.  I think it's the glasses.  Once you're dependent upon them completely (which I've been since 6th grade and still am to this day) the physical side really takes a lower spot on the priority list.  It's a little limiting. I began reading The Fellowship of the Ring in 6th grade and finished it sometime the following the summer.  I've been in The Two Towers ever since.

All that being said, I don't think I was ready to read Narnia as a child anyway.  I mean, I read Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde my freshman year of high school, and I barely remember it.  I remember liking it, but nothing really stuck with me about it.  One day, I'll re-read it.

Which is what I tell myself about most the books I read. 

So, yeah, like everything, I'm late to the Narnia reading game, but I'd rather read it late, and really appreciate it and remember it, than have read it years ago--like back in elementary school--and then not remember it as an adult.

And since I'm not certain I'm ready to go back to the Dresden Files just yet, I may take another Narnia book.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

And Still No...

I turned 21 yesterday.

I'm proud to say I did get a job before I turned 21.  I also am back in college.  (Yay for staying on my parents' health insurance!)  I'm double majoring in Criminal Justice and Psychology.

I know.  I'm just as shocked as you are.

We always make jokes about what we'll do when we hit a milestone year.

Guess what?  I didn't buy a pack of cigarettes till I was 19--almost 20.  And even then, they weren't for me.  My sister sent me buy her cigarettes.

I've drank before--please don't tell my mom--but not in the last 24 hours.  I didn't go to a casino.  Matter of fact, I did the same thing this year as I did last year, sort of.

I passed some bookstores, got some books, went out to eat and called it a day.  I got SRL's new one...and read it in something like 5 hours.  And now I get to wait a whole year before the next one in the series comes out.

I found a What People Accomplished When They Were Your Age Generator.  So I typed in 21.

And here it is.  My remarks are in italics.

At age 21:

Italian violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini had a dream in which he sold his soul to the Devil. The piece he wrote upon waking, the "Devil's Sonata," was the best he ever wrote, though far inferior to the one he heard in his dream.   Does that mean he really did?  I mean, dreams are important, man.  I had a dream once when I got a text message from the devil.  Different times we live in.

American novelist Herman Melville jumped ship and spent a month as the captive of a cannibal tribe. This became the source of his novel Typee.  Awesome.  Just awesome.  And he survived.  Glad I'm not him, though.

Jack London went to the Klondike with the first rush of gold-seekers, returning home a year later as poor as when he had left.  That sucks.

English chemist Humphry Davy discovered nitrous oxide ("laughing gas"), and suggested that it may have use as an anaesthetic.  Now I'm just intimidated.

Thomas Alva Edison created his first invention, an electric vote recorder. After it failed to sell, he decided to devote his energy to inventions for which there was a market.  Wow.  Holy crap, don't think too long on this one.

John Dillinger robbed a grocery store, was caught and spent 9 years in prison. He later became "public enemy number one," before being gunned down by the FBI.  Sppt.

Luther Burbank purchased 17 acres of land near Lunenburg, Massachusetts and began a plant-breeding career that would span 55 years.  Impressive.

Pablo Casals made significant modifications in cello playing technique and was acclaimed as a master.  Impressive.  Child genius, I guess.  Never heard of him, though.

Pittsburgh songwriter Stephen Foster wrote "Oh! Susanna!" which quickly gained great popularity.  That's cool.

Future robber baron Jay Gould began investing in the leather business and speculating in railroad stocks.  Wow.

Robert Browning publishes his first poetry; it is poorly received.  No duh.  Of course.

Alfred Tennyson publishes his first poetry; it is poorly received.  No duh.  Of course.

College dropout Steven Jobs co-founded Apple Computer.  Look, something I'm famliar with.

French mathematician Evariste Galois developed group theory (and many other theorems) before his death at the age of 21.  Depressing.

Jesse Ball of New York stayed awake for 129 hours. At this same age, he had a dream that seemed to last 13 years.  THAT is impressive.

And what have I accomplished?

I survived to adult, legal age, and I self-pubbed a book last year.

According to Goodreads I've read 665 books & short stories (all hail Kindle shorts).  My personal print library consists of 922 books.  I've written a few stories and novels.  I've kept an inconsistent blog.  Blogs.  Plural.

And I can still use Spreadsheet and can make a pie chart of my book stats:

"N/A" comprises books that are either regferences, or story collections.  Books you don't exactly read cover-to-cover.

Eh, not bad.