Monday, November 30, 2009

Not done, but funny!

No, I'm not finished yet.  Lame, I know.  I am at around page 100 at this point.  Don't worry, no more piecemeal commentary on this book; I'll post a review on the whole thing in 2-3 days. 

My reason for this post is to tell you that my roommate just came downstairs and saw me with my book. His eyes were wide with shock.  "You're reading a book?!?"  His tone was... incredulous.  I think I'm a little offended. :)

Anyway, yuck it up all you want.  It's back to reading up on Nicholas Flamel for me.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Progress Report: The Alchemyst (page 50)

Chapter 6 ends conveniently on page 50, so I figured this would be a good time to post a quick update. I've been in and out of town for the last five weeks for both work and vacation, so today has been a bit of a "catch up" day on housework and friends, so I haven't has nearly as much time to delve into this book as I had hoped. Ah well, c'est la vie...

So far, Michael Scott's book is compelling. The plot is fast-paced, and you are almost instantly thrust into the action, with the necessary explanations interwoven with progressions of the main story. I promise to not post spoilers without ample warning on this blog, and I'll avoid doing so tonight. I'll just say that I'm very much enjoying the story and its cast of characters, thus far.

Three things that stick out most in my mind, from what I've read:

1.) I'm in love with Scott's writing style. It's easy to read, yet eloquent in its execution. Simple, straightforward sentences with elegant embellishment. Younger readers shouldn't have much trouble getting through the pages, while adults can read on with the confidence that this is not just kid stuff.

2.) Scott plays with history, putting his own mystical spin on some of the great catastrophes that have occurred in the last half-millenium. I'm not meticulous enough to wiki all of the events I've read about so far in The Alchemyst, but it's kind of fun to see this playful stretch of the term "historical fiction."

3.) The nods to modern customs and references to pop culture have made me smile. Scott mentions well-known books, movies, music, video games, and tech gadgets of our time. This book was originally published in 2007, so for now, the references are contemporary. I'll be interested to see how readers will view those same references a generation or two from now.

Well, 50 out of 370+ pages in less than an hour. I should be through this by week's end, hopefully much sooner. Sadly, being gone a week from work and having some deadlines tomorrow means I may have to break a couple days from The Alchemyst after tonight. I'm going to try to revisit my book again tonight, after finishing up the last couple loads of laundry. Don't you wish clothes would clean and fold themselves sometimes?

New Book: The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

I went through painstaking, scientific measures to decide on my first book: I drove to Barnes & Noble and picked something off the shelf. Granted, it was not quite that haphazard. I did read the back and inside covers, leafed through the first few pages, etc. Still, my choice is based largely off of intuition and hope, rather than research and recommendation. We'll see if this gets me into trouble.

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott. I am intrigued by the storyline overview I read on the backcover. A mystical parallel world that co-exists with our own? Secret legends and prophecies and magics that modern-day protagonists have to discover? As a huge fan of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series, I eat this stuff up. (Stop laughing! It was a very well-written show, full of irony and adolescent/coming-of-age parallels that I deeply appreciated. And it was funny as hell, too.)

Anyway, I just got back from the bookstore and haven't read more than the two pages I skimmed while I was there. I promise to write more about the book soon!

New Beginnings

I haven't curled up with a good fantasy book in years. I tested out of college freshman English while I was in high school, and I got my degree in business, so my reading at the time, while extensive and oftentimes exhausting, was limited to the likes of textbooks, case studies, and news magazine.

It was a "practical" time for me. Doing well in school and attempting to secure some sort of a financially stable future was at the top of my priority list at the time, and amidst my juggling of school and work, I found little motivation to find books or authors to warm up to during what little spare time I had. Now that school is done and I am feeling more settled into my post-university life, I find myself wanting to once again dance in and out of the imaginary tales and worlds found in our bookstores and libraries.

This blog and its very first post represent a new start for me. In this personal little corner of the Internet, I plan to chronicle my rediscovery of the magic of the written word and the enrapturing, didactic, and occasionally transcendent, nature of a good story. I will describe the books I read, and provide my own commentary, insights, and inspirations. Who knows? Maybe I'll share a bit of my own storytelling, once I feel like I have something worth sharing.

I hope you who visit this place will not only enjoy the journey, but help steer its course. I'm always on the lookout for recommendations of good books to read. My preference is for fantasy literature, so bear in mind that that genre (vast as it is) will be my focus.

Let's begin, shall we?