Randomosity on Fridays: Alz Edition

Krispy had to go to sleep before drafting a post because I kept her up late, so this is Alz posting instead. My first Friday Five! I was all excited until I realized nothing exciting happened to me recently. So maybe I'll talk about books that I haven't finished, since I realize I've got quite a few of them on my literary plate. In no particular order—

1. I'm reading Nightshade by Andrea Cremer. I stole the book from Krispy and started it back in December but tapered off reading because it's got a potentially terminal case of WTF-is-going-on-itis. I'm over 100 pages into the book and still have no real idea what's happening or what things mean or why things are important. I stopped reading around the point where it's revealed that some characters are gay; it was so artificially done and inserted into the story as a plot device that it felt like the author made them gay to make the book cool and hip and trendy. I want to finish it if only to find out what the hell is going on, but I have difficulty reading for more than 5 pages at a time because something usually happens to make me wonder if this is worth wasting my time. (The fact that I'm constantly wondering this while reading tells me the answer is probably no.)

2. Dragon's Heart by Jane Yolen is the fourth book of the Pit Dragon series, written over a decade after the last book. I read the original trilogy when I was pretty young and love love loved them. I nearly had a heart attack from sheer joy when I found out there was to be a fourth book, though I have to admit that due to things like academics and Real Life and just plain forgetfulness, I didn't get around to reading it until, uh, at least a year later. I started it last month-ish but haven't read anymore because—well, the tone is odd. Different. Granted that it's been over ten years and all, but I found the tone, diction and syntax to be fundamentally different from the original trilogy, and it was just too jarring to my expectations for me to keep on reading—especially since this book quite literally picks up right where the last one left off. I had to put the book down so I could mentally adjust. I'm still adjusting.

3. Armageddon Summer by Jane Yolen & Bruce Coville: I found this book for sale at our local library for 25 cents and practically peed my pants because I love Jane Yolen (as noted above) and also love Bruce Coville (Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher is a favorite), and I had no idea they'd written a book together. It's a fascinating and well-written story about two young teens whose parents become members of a religious cult and drag their kids off to camp on a mountain because they believe the world is going to end on July 27th. If you heard an unholy scream of rage last week in the middle of the night, that was probably me when I discovered that due to a printing error, the book jumps from page 202 to page 235, straight from an intermission chapter of an police transcript to the heroine suddenly wielding a rifle with blood flying all over the place. The saddest thing is the book is only 266 pages long—so I'm right at the end, where everything's happening, and there's 30 missing pages and no local bookstores have it in stock so I had to order it off Amazon and it's not here yet and RAAAAAAAGE.

4. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is book I've been reading for probably about two years now—or to be more precise, I got about a third through it and haven't managed to pick it up since. One of my friends who always gives me books absolutely loved this one and I've seen it very highly recommended everywhere, and I just could not read through because I didn't like the narrator and sometimes weird things happened that were way too unexplained. The POV shifts from third-person current-time to first-person in-the-past (not present- and past-tense; it's all past tense), and I liked the third-person chapters, and in general the world-building, mood, and imagery were wonderfully detailed and fully realized. But the hero, Kvothe—asldkfad;fjadf. I stopped having sympathy/empathy for him because he's a young arrogant hotshot prodigy and I felt like he deserved it when he got punished or mistreated. I still want to read the book since I liked everything else, but I first have to master the urge to punch Kvothe in the face or go LOL SUCKER YOU HAD IT COMING when bad things happen to him.

5. I kinda-sorta-semi-started Matched by Ally Condie—or more accurately, I skimmed through about 80 pages while Krispy was reading it, and since she finished and passed it on to me, I have to sit down and seriously re-read those 80 pages and then get on to reading the rest. I'm looking forward to it since Krispy says it's good and I've also read good things about it, though I have tempered my expectations since I've heard it's more of a character-driven slow-paced book as opposed to loaded with action and mystery. While I do love me some good hack'n'slash guns-blazin' lightsabers-buzzin' magic-fireballin' action, I also appreciate good character development and exploration.

That's my five! And at the end, we have a couple of shout-outs from Krispy, who begs advice of you all:

"I will be going on a business trip to Chicago soon. So people who live in COLD places, any tips on how not to freeze?"

Additionally, we have a treat for you in the works that requires your participation. Expect a respectable* and serious** advice column from the Legendary Loquacious Luce in the eventual future!

Says Krispy, "Ask questions, any questions! Just keep it PG-13, people."

If you have any burning questions you want answered in a helpful*** and humorous**** way, feel free to leave them in the comments and/or email us. We make no guarantees on when this guest column will appear or whether Luce will answer, but we will do our best.

* Disrespectable, actually.
** As serious as a popsicle-eating penguin on a pogo stick.
*** We reserve the right to redefine the word "helpful."
hu•mor•ous –adjective 1. Archaic . moist; wet. 2. pertaining or due to the bodily humors.


Angela said...

Yes, Name of the Wind is insanely long, and I agree the writing is good but it does take patience to get through it. And even then, the story doesn't really wrap up. Ooooh, should I even have told you that? And I had no desire to punch the MC in the face either.

Connie Keller said...

Dressing for cold weather from a former New Englander:

1. Lots of layers
2. Wool sweaters, silk thermals
3. A good jacket
4. Gloves
5. Wool scarf

Hope that helps.

Ariana Ferrone said...

Woohoo! I'm going to Chicago soon as well. I have snow for approximately 6 out of the 8 months I'm at school, so I know how to dress warmly.

1) Normal socks, woolen socks pulled over your pants, and then high boots. Sounds dorky but actually isn't.

2) Insulated jacket.

3) Gloves or mittens.

4) Scarf that you can pull over your nose if needed.

5) A hat or headband to cover your ears!

6) Or, carry coffee everywhere. Handwarmer!

I'm interested in Matched, but haven't had a chance to get a copy yet. I've heard mixed reviews, but I'd love to hear both of your opinions!

Tere Kirkland said...

Brrr, I'm getting cold jut thinking about Chicago. Tell Krispy to come down to NO to see me instead. ;)

Alz, I love reading your book reviews, and I felt a pang of horror for your missing pages. Coville was one of the first authors who introduced me to sci-fi.

Can't wait to hear what you think of Matched and Nightshade. I love your reviews.

Danyelle L. said...

I love your take on books! Yeah, I'm having a hard time with Nightshade too, and will probably end up donating it to the library.

As someone who is terminally cold--even in the summer--layers are good. Really good. Cotton is bad--it breathes too much which means it's going to breathe in the cold air. Glove mittens. Technically, because they don't separate your fingers, mittens are supposed to be warmer. Drink warm stuff. My husband is like a moving space heater, so I usually end up shoving my frigid hands and toes up his back. Since he has back problems, I make an excellent ice pack. :p

ali cross said...

LOL, I've read Matched, but none of those others! Nice to read your random, Alz!

Lydia Kang said...

You are so funny!
Let me know what you think of Matched when your done. I have plenty of comments.

As for cold, a great scarf and a coat that's puffy. Very important. Hat, if you don't mind hat head.

And the most important accessory--hot chocolate.

Lydia Kang said...

Erg. That's "you're" not "your." I do know how to spell, I sware.


Miriam Forster said...

I second the layers advice. I usually wear a long sleeved t-shirt with another t-shirt over it. Then you can either do a coat, or a hooded sweatshirt and coat if your really cold, plus gloves and scarf.

I loved Matched, btw. It reminds me of The Giver by Lois Lowry. Also, I'm sorry you missed the last part of Armageddon Summer. If it helps, it's definitely worth the wait. :)

WritingNut said...

Ahhh.. I hate the cold weather.. bundle up, lots of layers! :)

I've read Matched so far, but the others look great!

Sophia Chang said...

When I go home to NYC during the winter (why? WHY?) I always bring leggings and thermals to wear under my jeans. If you want cute ones, American Apparel - they're even low-rise so they won't go over the tops of your hip huggers. I can't believe I just advocated that horrible brand.

Alz said...

Angela – I knew that the book was part of a series and expected it wouldn't wrap up, but then a friend told me how despite the epic summary of all of Kvothe's adventures, this book doesn't really cover any of them. That discouraged me a tad, but overall I just felt impatient with Kvothe's character. I just wanted him to hurry up already and do stuff!

Connie – I crocheted a hat for Krispy, so at least her head will be warm. Sadly the hat is white, so if there's a snowstorm she'll blend right in.

Ariana – I need to get crackin' on Matched while it's still fresh on Krispy's mind! Maybe I'll re-start it again tonight.

Tere – Thanks! Now that I think about it, Bruce Coville's books were probably my first venture into book-scifi—if My Teacher is an Alien counts as scifi.

Danyelle – Yeah, Nightshade is…it's pretty much…well…it's hard for me to maintain interest for a lot of reasons. I think I need to just take a deep breath and plow through it in one sitting, because this piecemeal page-by-page thing really ain't working out for me.

Ali – I hardly realized I had so many unfinished books until I really thought about it, and that's sort of motivated me to actually finish some of them. Or at least made me FEEL motivated—I haven't made good on that motivation yet though. I should do that before I lose motivation!

Lydia – Once I finish Matched and have had time to get through my Post-Book Critical Phase, I'll write up a review with Krispy and we can discuss!

Miriam – I've heard Matched compared to The Giver, which I haven't read. I've added The Giver to my To-Read list since I've heard some negative comparisons (i.e. The Giver is better/Matched is copying it) and would like to judge for myself. And I'm STILL waiting on my copy of Armageddon Summer! As;lkfjas;kdfjs;a!!!

WritingNut – I recommend Armageddon Summer as a good thought-provoking read, and Jane Yolen's Pit Dragon books if you like fantasy/dragons—that was what really drew me to them when I first read them. I never had a horse phase, you see—I was all about dragons.

Sophia – Warmth is good, no matter the brand. I'm not going to Chicago but I may well use your advice around the house for leggings under jeans—sounds warm and might cut down on the heating bill!