Reading Wednesday

Wed, Sep. 11th, 2013 12:29 pm
oyceter: Stack of books with text "mmm... books!" (mmm books)
[personal profile] oyceter
Whoo, I have stuff to post on!

(I have been greatly enjoying everyone's resolve to post every day for a month, and then I feel like I should as well to hopefully clear up book backlog, but the daily happiness posts (opt in here) are already kind of hard and I feel so spammy despite knowing people actually signed up for the filter and knowing that I enjoy seeing other people's posts!)

What I've read: I did more reading for the awards jury I am on, yay.

Aside from that, I went on a completely unexpected detour into the land of reading nostalgia: Terry Brooks. His Shannara books (back then only the original trilogy and Heritage of Shannara) were my introduction to fantasy as a genre; I had read a lot of middle grade stuff of course, but I wanted something just like Tolkien after my headlong fall into Middle Earth, and Shannara was right there. Anyway, I reread The Elfstones of Shannara and The Elf Queen of Shannara, and then did a mostly-skipping-Par's-POV reread of The Scions of Shannara.

They held up better than expected? But I also wasn't expecting much. There's the argh of the Rovers, which fit all the Roma stereotypes, way too many bland young men wandering about, and the world building is pretty sparse in terms of cultures and extremely high fantasy derivative. On the other hand, I remember so much more of them than I had expected, even specific chapters and lines I had liked. I am amused that even back in sixth or seventh grade, I was completely bored by the typical young white male savior figure (Par, Shea, Wil, Jair) and very much into the women or the older, more cynical men who weren't such blank slates. Alas for the lack of older, cynical women. And that the Frodo-and-Sam journey parts of the narrative never interested me nearly as much as the epic battle and war strategy bits. The women aren't the best—too many love interests inexplicably interested in the boring main characters, too many "too good for this world" women—but I remember liking things like Eretria helping out Amberle and especially Wren's relationship with her grandmother in Elf Queen. (Also, Eowen Cerise/Ellenroh, slashy like whoa.)

Anyway, definitely not something I'd rec, but it was an enjoyable dalliance! (Also, I totally wanted to be a Druid.)

What I'm reading: I tried starting a novel for awards reading (mostly I have been doing short stories, since they are so fast); hopefully I will stick with it. I also started Anuja Chauhan's The Zoya Factor per [personal profile] deepad's impromptu Anuja Chauhan book club. Not very far into it yet, but the voice is very breezy and enjoyable. Also, Shah Rukh Khan's abs have already made an appearance, which is never a bad thing imo.

What I'm reading next: More of The Zoya Factor and more awards reading, hopefully! Though I will probably end up doing the no-Par-POV reread of Heritage of Shannara....

(no subject)

Wed, Sep. 11th, 2013 08:52 pm (UTC)
skygiants: the aunts from Pushing Daisies reading and sipping wine on a couch (wine and books)
Posted by [personal profile] skygiants
Ha! I did a big Scions of Shannara reread a couple years ago (here's the tag, if curious) and was sort of astounded by how much I enjoyed it. It is in no way good! But my id is way more tapped into it than I remembered it being. (Though someone just needs to, like, dump a bucket of water on Terry Brooks' head every time he ends a book with "YOUR FEMALE LEAD HAS BECOME A TRANSCENDENT NATURE THING THAT WILL NOURISH THE LAND, GO CRY ABOUT IT")

(no subject)

Wed, Sep. 11th, 2013 09:20 pm (UTC)
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (field of victory)
Posted by [personal profile] skygiants
(MATTY ROH WAS THE GREATEST IN THE ENTIRE SCIONS SERIES AND POSSIBLY THE ENTIRETY OF SHANNARA. Matty Roh does not CARE about your problems. Matty Roh just cares about beating up everyone.

I also kind of had a crush on Walker as a kid; I am still weirded out by how I switched over to weirdly identifying with Walker as an adult. Walker Boh is, like, the jaded grad student of Shannara-verse. Ugh, all these bright-eyed young questing freshmen need to GET OFF HIS LAWN.)

I actually started with Sword -- I found a battered copy of my dad's in our bookshelf one time when I was forbidden from using the library due to fines -- which makes it kind of amazing in retrospect that I ever got to the rest! Wishsong was my favorite of the first three, because I identified with the brother-sister dynamic, but I LOVED AMBERLE AND ERETRIA A LOT. Elf Queen was my favorite of all of them, though, because at that point I still identified with her the most.

. . . HAHAHA YOU ARE 100% CORRECT. Though even Wil Ohmsford is not QUITE as boring as Jon Snow. (Though he is pretty boring.)

(no subject)

Thu, Sep. 12th, 2013 02:43 am (UTC)
skygiants: Sheska from Fullmetal Alchemist with her head on a pile of books (ded from book)
Posted by [personal profile] skygiants
I have just gone to reread what I said then, and I am now convinced that the whole plot of Druid of Shannara is just an extended metaphor for Walker Boh's struggles to get his Ph.D. NO WONDER IT BROKE HIM.

Haha, I cannot imagine having a crush on Allanon! But I imprinted more on Scions as a child, so Scary Undead Worst Professor Ever Allanon sort of overwrote Hot Druid Allanon in my head, I think. BUT BRIN WAS SO AWESOME. And the first full POV heroine who did not turn into a magic tree at the end of the book!

CREEPIEST FORESTS. CREEPY COUSIN. EOWEN/ELLENROH.

. . . wow, now I kind of want to nominate Elf Queen for Yuletide.

It is extra hilarious how much everyone very earnestly cares about Par and runs around trying to rescue him because as a reader I do not care about Par AT ALL. Time better spent elsewhere, y'all!

(no subject)

Wed, Sep. 11th, 2013 10:24 pm (UTC)
meganbmoore: (eklavya)
Posted by [personal profile] meganbmoore
Elf-Queen of Shannara was my first "adult" fantasy book, and as such, I did not know that adult books in a series didn't always have numbers stamped on the spine. (20 years ago, at least. Now they often do.) But it made Wren may favorite forever and ever. I read him faithfully for years even after I noticed how derivative he was, until her decided to turn another woman into a tree to "redeem" her in some series or another. (Because 20~ years as the most powerful force for good around didn't make up for being raised by a bad guy and siding with him until she learned who she was. Nope, gotta be redeemed by being turned into a tree.)

The Zoya Factor may need to be investigated, if there is gushing about SRK's abs involved.

(And I apparently deleted my icon that had SRK in it? Oh well.)

(no subject)

Wed, Sep. 11th, 2013 11:41 pm (UTC)
meganbmoore: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] meganbmoore
Yeah, it was Grianne/the witch in that book (She was an Ohmsford, natch) who gets turned into a tree.

(no subject)

Thu, Sep. 12th, 2013 02:45 am (UTC)
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (olivier says lol)
Posted by [personal profile] skygiants
HAHAHAHA WAIT SERIOUSLY ANOTHER ONE?!

it's terrible, but now I almost want to read it just to get the trifecta! (Okay, I guess Quickening didn't actually turn into a tree full stop, but she turned into magic sparkly tree dust which is BASICALLY the same thing.)

(no subject)

Thu, Sep. 12th, 2013 02:51 am (UTC)
meganbmoore: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] meganbmoore
As far as narrative obsessions go, it's an odd one.

(I want to say something asbout the Romeo x Juliet anime here, but am not sure if either of you have seen it.)

(no subject)

Thu, Sep. 12th, 2013 08:55 pm (UTC)
meganbmoore: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] meganbmoore
I agree! It started so awesome and then became...not. Pretty much when they moved past "Juliet is a crossdressing defender of the innocent who keeps bumping into The Enemy's cute son." Alas.

Not sure this will make you want to continue, but:

gur pbhagel vf xrcg nsybng ol n jbeyqgerr gung vf qlvat. Whyvrg orpbzrf gur jbeyqgerr. Jura gur jbeyqgerr jnf svefg vagebqhprq, zl ernpgvba jnf "V ubcr gurfr jevgref arire ernq Greel Oebbxf!" Nccneragyl gurl qvq.

(no subject)

Thu, Sep. 12th, 2013 12:47 am (UTC)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] kate_nepveu
I fondly remember the second Shannara book as being surprisingly good, though that's all I remember about it. Glad your nostalgia trip was better than you expected!

(no subject)

Thu, Sep. 12th, 2013 12:58 am (UTC)
jinian: (clow reads)
Posted by [personal profile] jinian
I never managed to read any Shannara -- I did try in HS when everyone insisted I should, but bounced off. However, I am highly amused by the Bland Young Men. They are such a plague on high fantasy in general!

(no subject)

Thu, Sep. 12th, 2013 04:54 am (UTC)
roadrunnertwice: Young Marcie Grosvenor from Finder, asleep in a ward drawn from Finder trails. (Finder.Marcie - Wardings)
Posted by [personal profile] roadrunnertwice
OH MAN, I haven't thought about those books in so long! They are embedded in a very low layer on the psychic substrate; I have no idea what would happen if I were to re-read them. (Dad found Sword in the usual ’70s/’80s way, where it was the only thing ready to hand after one ran out of Tolkein; he read us the trilogy aloud when we were tiny sprouts, and we followed Heritage as it came out.)

Also, I am laughing a lot at this women-into-trees discussion above. (This was a recurring thing??! Way to pick a weird one, dude!!)
Edited Thu, Sep. 12th, 2013 04:54 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Fri, Sep. 13th, 2013 02:07 am (UTC)
Posted by (Anonymous)
Maybe for some reason Brooks imprinted on the story of Daphne being turned into a laurel tree to escape Apollo while reading Greek mythology as a child or something? It sounds as if the intended meaning of all these woman-into-tree transformations in the Shannara books is quite different from that in the Daphne incident, but that *is* pretty much the only other literary instance of woman-turns-into-vegetation I can think of. (With the possible exception of the 1970's or '80's Marvel Comics Celestial Madonna storyline in "The Avengers"--although in that case I think the woman in question wound up somehow marrying some kind of cosmic tree, not becoming one herself.)

Marfisa

(no subject)

Fri, Sep. 13th, 2013 05:42 am (UTC)
torachan: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] torachan
Sword of Shannara was the first non-Tolkien, not-specifically-for-kids fantasy book I ever read. I really loved it at the time and since I was a. 12 years old, and b. not well read in fantasy, it didn't seem derivative at all to me. I read the first and second series, but by the time later series came out, I wasn't really into fantasy anymore. I remember enjoying his Magic Kingdom For Sale - Sold series, too.

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