November Booklogging
By Dwip November 30, 2013, 6:57 pm Comments (0) RSS Feed for this post

Another month, another post. I honestly thought I was going to get a whole lot more read this month, but really, where does the time go? Maybe in December when we hit the year mark on this little venture.

Also, boy did I not mean for this to be my only post in November. Seriously, where does the time go?

YTD stats:

January: 3 total; 3 fiction (1,712 pages)
February: 3 total; 3 non-fiction (1,098 pages)
March: 13 total; 10 graphic (2,432 pages); 2 fiction (1,462 pages); 1 non-fiction (290 pages)
April: 7 total; 2 graphic (1,200 pages); 2 fiction (1,776 pages); 3 non-fiction (1,244 pages)
May: 1 total; 1 fiction (1,040 pages)
June: 5 total; 5 fiction (2,480 pages)
July: 5 total; 5 fiction (1,934 pages)
August: 4 total; 1 fiction (608 pages); 3 non-fiction (776 pages)
September: 8 total; 2 graphic (1,408 pages); 1 fiction (320 pages); 5 non-fiction (1,416 pages)
October: 8 total; 8 fiction (3,088 pages)
November: 6 total; 5 fiction (2,993 pages); 1 non-fiction (70 pages)

Year to Date: 63 total; 14 graphic (5,040 pages); 33 fiction (17,413 pages); 16 non-fiction (4,894 pages)

Details for November after the jump.

11/01/2013 Jim Butcher, Academ’s Fury (2006 Ace mass market paperback, 534 pages – Personal collection, 2013)

On the one hand, this second Codex Alera book was still pretty predictable, and I pretty much saw the whole thing coming down the pike from page one, which is astonishingly strange considering how unlike this the Dresden books are.

On the other hand, right here is where I started having fun with things – the cast of characters opens up in this book, and I rather like all of them. Moving out of the frontier to the cities of Alera brings out some interesting political intrigue, and in a lot of ways this is where the series seems to really begin.

11/04/2013 Jim Butcher, Cursor’s Fury (2007 Ace mass market paperback, 536 pages – Personal collection, 2013)

Hey, look, a book where I didn’t immediately figure out what was going on. And it’s got Roman legions with magic fighting werewolves.

In case you didn’t get that the first time, did I mention the Roman legions with magic fighting werewolves? Because while other things happen in this book, and it’s all pretty gripping stuff that made me stay up past my bedtime, the real takeaway is that there are Roman legions in this book, they have magic, and they are fighting werewolves.

Just so we’re clear on that.

11/05/2013 Jim Butcher, Captain’s Fury (2008 Ace mass market paperback, 512 pages – Personal collection, 2013)

This is kind of the big revelation book of the series, which because unlike some other Robin Hoods I am genre savvy I already figured out more or less way back. Kind of par for the course here, I guess.

In other news, more Legion v. Werewolf, only with a couple twists and the interjection of the way less interesting Amara and Bernard plotline to get me saying “Yes that’s nice and all but seriously get back to Tavi already.”

The contradiction of this series is that I basically know all the major plot points before they happen, yet I still blaze through each one in a day or so.

11/10/2013 Jim Butcher, Princeps’ Fury (2009 Ace mass market paperback, 627 pages – Personal collection, 2013)

11/15/2013 Jim Butcher, First Lord’s Fury (2010 Ace mass market paperback, 784 pages – Personal collection, 2013)

So, here’s the thing. For the majority of this series, the action has focused around a world filled with politics, intrigue, and shadowy plots by various people, factions, you name it. And while I’m going to confess that there wasn’t a whole lot of tension there because man are these books predictable, it was still a pretty fun ride.

And then all of a sudden 90% of that gets thrown out the window for a completely generic good versus evil showdown with all the complexity of a block of wood. There’s still a hint of it in book 5, but I hope you like battle scenes, because the last book? It has some, and the plot is pretty much generic. Yup, there’s a nick of time rescue. Oh look, and the dead guy wasn’t dead. And the evil jackass? Dies in a really convenient fashion.

I could go on, but what’s the point? As good as the Dresden Files books are, the Codex Alera books are just completely their opposite in any way, devoid of any and all tension and mystery, focused on none of the really interesting stuff but rather on the literary equivilent of a Michael Bay movie. I’m frankly astounded the two series were even written by the same person, the difference is so stark.

I mean, you give a book where it turns out the main people are all descended from Romans who travelled to another world. That’s friggin’ epic! I want to know more about that!

Well, they build an onager, I guess. So there’s that.

Or, maybe you’d like a series where the central conflict is about several groups of people, all with different ideas on how to lead a nation in its many and varied conflicts. That sounds pretty cool, and I could stand to hear about betrayal and political assassinations.

Which is clearly why the central villain turns out to be the Borg made out of praying mantises whose entire motivation is KILL EVERYTHING AND EAT IT.

I was going to put a big essay in here about the right and wrong ways to write evil antagonists, and contrast the vord queen with Ishamael from the Wheel of Time, but man, I just can’t be bothered. Nothing here was worth my time.

Hopefully my dissapointment is shining through a little here.

11/16/2013 Ken Wood, The Vietnam Vignettes (2002 Self-published paperback, 70 pages – Personal collection, 2002)

These are a collection of stories about the year Ken, who ultimately retired as an Army master sergeant, spent in Vietnam during 1965 as part of this outfit flying OV-1 Mohawks. By and large they were written in 1990 or 1997 as a way to impart to his family a little bit of what he saw and did and went through long ago and far away.

The obvious question, I suppose, is what am I doing with them? Well, see, late in life, Ken, under the name tonto_real, decided to start up a little thing called Tonto Clan. You might say we also played Age of Kings. Mostly we were a sort of big happy family, and Ken was sort of surrogate father and mentor to all us teens and twentysomethings, and so I guess you could say he wrote these stories for his other family, too. It’s how he was.

I say “was” because Ken died in 2006. I’ve had these vignettes on my computer for many years now, of course, but I don’t think I’ve read them since he died and so when I happened across them by chance the other day, I decided it was probably time. So I printed them all out, bound them up, and gave them a read.

That was hard. Some people have a completely unique and distinctive writing voice, and Ken was one of those people. Lots of random quotes around words, a few questionable uses of capitalization, and he wasn’t much for spell check, but he brough a warmth and a vividness and a humor to everything he wrote that was unmatched. He managed to bring out the funny bits, and the surreal bits, and the scary bits in his own unique brand of vivid color.

He was like that with us, too. And for 70 pages it was like being with my friend again for the first time in a long time, living it back like it was the old Tonto days. And it was good.

Been a crazy road for us Tontos since the old days. Made a lot of friends there, most of whom are gone. Made a couple of enemies, too, thankfully gone. For a long time thought I was going to marry a Tonto, too, and wouldn’t that have been the damndest thing. Not much of it worked out in the end, I guess, but _real’s creation left something with all of us, I think, and I think he’d be mostly happy and proud of us. He usually was.

It was a hell of a thing we all did.

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