Lisa Reads: A Dance with Dragons

Lisa Reads: A Dance with Dragons
(A Song of Ice and Fire #5)
by George R.R. Martin

Oh my goodness! My head hurts! I didn’t see that coming!

Okay, that is pretty much what I’ve been saying for this entire series. Planning and writing ASoIaF has GOT to be a challenge. I honor anyone who can do so much with so many for so long… And still make it worth reading.

When I grow up, I want to be GRRM. Luckily for him, there is very little danger of me growing up.

Some of the people in previous books that I thought were dead, aren’t. Sometimes I’m glad, sometimes I wish I could place the “kill shot” myself. In one case, I was sorry that he was still alive until he did something semi-decent.

It looks like some of my favorites got killed in this book, but if the series on HBO is anything related to the books… I’m going to get fooled again.

I will read this series numerous times. I still prefer J.R.R. Tolkien and CS Lewis. Yes, I am a fuddy-duddy. I can live with that!

OH! No, I’m not watching the series. I don’t do HBO or Netflix. I probably will watch it eventually, but I’m not in a rush. Until then, I joined the ranks of people waiting for George RR Martin to finish the series. There are many other books on my list that I’m going to read.


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Lisa Reads: A Feast for Crows

Lisa Reads: A Feast for Crows
(A Song of Ice and Fire #4)
by George R.R. Martin
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13497.A_Feast_for_Crows

I have to admit it: of the books in this series, this one is my least favorite. I don’t know why, though.

The plotting is still intricate and interesting. The cast of characters is still downright intimidating, and sometimes I need to use the wiki to remember who somebody is. Granted, some of my favorite POV characters weren’t in this book much… It’s hard for the dead to have much of a point of view. Some of the others are showing up in Book 5, which runs concurrently with Book 4, so I’m not cheated.

This is a beautifully written series. I just didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as the others. I suspect it is quite necessary for the rest of the series…


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Lisa Reads: The Count of Monte Christo

The Count of Monte Cristo
By: Alexandre Dumas
Narrated by: Bill Homewood
Length: 52 hrs and 41 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 08-04-11
Language: English
Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks
https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Count-of-Monte-Cristo-Audiobook/B005GFQ5WQ

I have seen several movie versions of “The Count of Montecristo,” and enjoyed most of them. I seem to remember having read it (probably an abridged version) when I was about 12. The sense of adventure and the satisfaction of seeing the “bad guys get their just desserts” was just plain FUN. I will always enjoy these simplistic versions of Alexander Dumas’ book, but they don’t begin to hold a candle to the unabridged version!

Granted, there are some downsides. This book is REALLY *L*O*N*G*, 117 chapters… But who is counting? Some of the science and medical techniques are, well… 19th century. I had to work hard to set aside the knowledge I have as a 21st-century woman.

Speaking of which… I’m not entirely comfortable with Alexander Dumas’ portrayals of women. Again, they are SO 19th century!

And yet, this story just WORKS!

It sort of feels like a Gothic novel at times, but there is no supernatural activity. It also feels a bit like a travel journal at times, details of streets and actual buildings abound.

The menagerie of characters is quite impressive. Alexander Dumas keeps his people straight as well as George RR Martin does, but he isn’t QUITE as bloody. Most of his cast survives…

Alexander Dumas was writing at a time when people thoroughly enjoyed words. Sometimes, the writing is a bit tedious for our ears, but it really is a treat to savor. It just takes a while to develop a more sophisticated “palate.” Listening to this audiobook version may have helped. You can just feel the 19th century dripping through your fingers as you listen to the tale.

I was most astonished when I saw the rich themes of “repentance” and “forgiveness” running through this novel of REVENGE! I definitely will have to think about this more in the context of this book. It is a wonder!


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Lisa Reads: Storm of Swords

Lisa Reads: Storm of Swords
Book III: Game of Thrones
by George RR Martin

Man… These books are WEARING me OUT!

That doesn’t mean I don’t like them. They are complicated and intense and well-written. He foreshadows so skillfully that you don’t realize what he’s doing until the thing he foreshadows happens. And THEN, you are sure he is pointing to something that is certainly going to occur, but it’s only logical misdirection!

When I grow up, I want to write as well as GRRM!

Anyhow, back to the book! Lots of people that I care about are now dead. Occasionally, I am celebrating at their death. Some of the people that I expected to be dead are still hanging around… But there are still two more books to read so far.


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Happy “Margarita Day” and Happy “Walk Your Dog” Day!

Yep, today we get Two fun things to celebrate. Pour yourself a margarita and take your four-legged buddy on an extra nice walk.

A picture of Snoopy
Snoopy

My old buddy, Snoopy, would have agreed! Currently, I am not a pet-Guardian on my own.

Before I take on the responsibility again, I need to do some learning and figure out how to do things better. Meanwhile, I get to share the home with Cooper, a gentle follow who is a great delight.

Meanwhile, until I’m ready to take on the responsibility, here are Dog-related Books I Want to Read:

(Yes, I understand that some of the training methods in this book have received critique. Things DO change. I still want to look at the history of dog training methods.)

a picture of a dog
Cooper

 


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Lisa Reads: A Clash of Kings

I don’t know what to say about this book.

Yes, I enjoyed it. I am utterly impressed by the various writing skills that GRRM mastered. He has added even more characters to the saga. His world is complicated. There’s another conflict at just about every third word. AND HE KEEPS IT ALL STRAIGHT!

I was going to say that it was slightly less bloody than “Game of Thrones,” but that’s not true. There’s splattering gore all over the place. TONS of familiar characters are dead, and… I’m glad some of them are. Others, I’m heartbroken.

Perhaps I’m just reacting to the fact that so many of the ones that I expected to be dead, simply aren’t.

Nothing is what it seems in these books.

 

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LISA READS a couple of books on writing

Today, I finished reading two similar books:

  • 30 Day Novel Workbook: Write a Novel in a Month with the Plot-As-You-Write System by Lynn Johnston
  • 30 Day Novel (How to Write a Book in a Month) by Tara Maya

They didn’t make it to my personal “top 10 list” of favorite books that I can’t wait to read it again. They probably aren’t bad. In fact, I think these books may be better than I think they are. I’ve just been coming to the conclusion that, instead of talking about writing and reading about writing I NEED TO SHUT UP AND WRITE! I am done, Done, DONE with this kind of book.

 

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I have been intending to review this audiobook for a week now. Guilt from not working on my NANOWRIMO novel Getting in the way, so I did absolutely nothing. For now, I’m declaring a moratorium on that guilt. I’m declaring December to be LISAnowrimo! I put it on my Google calendar, and everything! For now, I’m forbidding myself to work on that thing until December.

Of course, if I decide to treat it like I treat most “forbidden fruit,” I’ll be hard at work before then.

Instead, I’m doing a few other things… Like reviewing books.

I’ve been told that most people prefer video commentary to written commentary. That seems weird to me. Still, I’m curious… Which way do you prefer getting book reviews?

Not that I will listen. I will do what I want to do anyhow, maybe. I think. Maybe not.

 

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I should have been working on NaNoWriMo, so I read a book instead. Maybe, since it’s an audiobook, I claim it was research… YEAH! That’s the ticket!

 

Lisa Reads… A Game of Thrones
A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1
By: George R. R. Martin
Narrated by: Roy Dotrice

This story is Complex, Rich, Flawed, and WONDERFUL!

I didn’t necessarily want to start this series, it is so popular. My taste often runs contrary to popular taste.

In addition, I received innumerable versions of the same bit of advice: Don’t become attached to any of the characters. Odds are, they will die.

It’s true. George RR Martin is more than willing to sacrifice characters when the story needs this to happen. It doesn’t occur randomly, though. He is a master of foreshadowing and he does it subtly. Some of the texture of the story comes from this deft hand. When certain events happen in the last 100 pages, I remember imagery from the first 30 pages that I thought was lovely but unnecessary. He told us PRECISELY what he was going to do, but hid it well in plain sight.

This is a complex story. I still don’t know if I know who all the characters are in just this book. I know some of them fairly well, but like real people in real life… Most of who and what they are lies hidden.

Some of the cultures remind me of peoples from history. Similar flaws and strengths show up in unexpected ways. Characters that you think are completely evil, sometimes show deep humanity. Others that you respect and love, betray those they come into contact with. And yet, sometimes others get their just desserts.

Many people should NOT read this book. It is sometimes quite bleak in its understanding of humans. It is sometimes brutal. It is sometimes almost unendurable. I don’t like it.

And yet, this is an excellent book. I am in awe of the skill that George RR Martin shows in storytelling.

Will I read the next book? Yes. I need to read a couple of others, first. I need to decompress.

A word about the reader, Roy Dotrice… I enjoyed his performance. People seem to either love or hate the way he handles characterization and voices. I thought it worked well.

 

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Lisa Reads…

The Samurai

The SamuraiThe Samurai by Shūsaku Endō
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and/but think that what you get out of it is what you bring to it. Granted, I will have to read this one again to test the theory. My tastes and suppositions seem to been strengthened while reading THE SAMURAI.

Things that I particularly noted and appreciated:
-While I am used to books that paint Jesus into something that looks good on a Hallmark greeting card, this one reminded me of how truly strange it may seem to worship a dying man on the cross. It’s even weirder that this is God-made-flesh, coming with the purpose of bringing those who are offended by Him back into relationship with the Trinitarian God of the Bible.
-Baptism works. Sometimes it works in spite of the person being baptized.

Is it a perfect book? No. Is the theology always great? No. This is a work of historical fiction. It works well on multiple levels. It leaves me wishing for more. Sometimes, it left me cold. Sometimes I was offended. (That’s okay. Sometimes it is necessary to be offended to grow.)

View all my reviews