George R.R. Martin’s The Ice Dragon

Before I got the lovely George R.R. Martin surprise, I’d actually begun preparing to read Game of Thrones by reading another work of his, the children’s novel, The Ice Dragon. Over the years, I’ve picked up the habit from a book club friend (hello, Marie!) — reading a shorter, lesser known work of an author before plunging into his/her definitive work. Sort of an appetizer to the main course, and I find it works for me; I get eased into the author’s writing style and tone, and it’s easier to adjust to a more complex work.

Another Flipper friend (thanks Iya!) found this book for me while she was coasting through bargain bins. She highly recommended it, and knowing I was going to read Game of Thrones sooner or later, I asked her to get the book for me.

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The Left Hand of Darkness (FFP June Book Discussion)

I don’t normally read science fiction, but I always take FFP’s monthly book discussions as a challenge when I’m not comfortable with the assigned genre or author. Because our book club grants the moderator the power over the monthly assignment, I’ve been challenged a fair deal in past discussions, as some of the book assignments are far from my comfort zone.

I think, though, that Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness is one of the book assignments I’ve dreaded the most — I’m just not into unpronounceable names and anything that needs a map! Le Guin’s introductory section, where she explains what science fiction is about (not merely “extrapolation,” but a “metaphor”), is actually helpful. I also like her statement (cautionary warning, perhaps?) on novels:

“In reading a novel, any novel, we have to know perfectly well that the whole thing is nonsense, and then, while reading, believe every word of it. Finally, when we’re done with it, we may find—if it’s a good novel—that we’re a bit different from what we were before we read it, that we have been changed a little, as if by having met a new face, crossed a street we never crossed before. But it’s very hard to say just what we learned, how we were changed.”

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A few more Christmas reads


Because my plan to catch up with my blogging backlog over the holidays was an epic fail (so little time, so much to do!) , I will spend part of January in an attempt to mow it down to zero, so I can start fresh for 2010.

I am posting a list of the backlog in a subsequent entry (still working through the stacks), but I’m posting a few more of the Christmas reads, otherwise it’ll take me another year before I can post them again.

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