Books Read in September

Dragons of a Fallen Sun, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, 619 pages long. Egad. Dragons, mages, knights, minotaurs, elves, humans, dwarves, missing moons, missing magic, and dying elves and a strange shield maiden and girl warrior, a Joan of Arc character called Mina.  IT took me about 200 pages to get into this one, and it was sheer force of will and stubborn-ness, and the fact that one of the teachers at the school who I have found a tough nut to crack really likes the series that made me continue.  It’s a trilogy within a trilogy within a series from what I can tell.  And I’m irritated that it’s one of those trilogies that just kind of ends without really resolving much of anything at all so I’ll have to read the next two books if I want to know what happens.  I mostly don’t really care much about any of the characters except the kender.  Kenders are a sort of Puck-like species, mischief makers, lighthearted and light fingered.  I am sure that my lukewarm appreciation for the book has as much to do with my age and the length of the book as anything else.  I mean, it’s not Tolkien, but who is?

 

How To Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster My favourite chapter was the chapter on how every journey is a quest (except for when it isn’t).  I liked the general ideas, but individual chapters weren’t uniformly successful. The general idea is that writers are readers, and they put a lot of time into their writing, and when you incorporate elements like a disability or type of death (or illness, or, or, or….) you have to keep that going through the rest of your story, so there is usually a reason for it.  He also talks about the need for the reader to also be familiar with fairy tales, myths,legends, Bible stories, and so on and be able to read widely and start to spot patterns and think about them.  I particularly liked his point that while Freud and his whole Oedipus complex and similar theories are probably wrong and no longer widely accepted, he was so influential on our culture that you have to remember even if you think it’s all hogwash, almost every writer from Freud up until the last ten years or so was familiar with Freud and didn’t think he was full of hogwash.  Therefore, they often are incorporating Freudian ideas into their works.  It’s probably not legitimate to read them into works before Freud, however (odd that everybody since Freud sees Hamlet and his mother having inappropriate feelings for one another, but nobody thought so before Freud).   I think it’s a useful book for parents and for college students, but a lot of the illustrations are from books you may never have read.

 

Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton, (399 pages)  I never saw the movie, and I thought I was going to have to supervise a class where the students were watching this movie for science while their regular teacher is off-island.  I don’t have to supervise that class, which makes me happy.  It was an interesting read.  I see why he was a popular author.  He’s a bit heavy handed on the moralizing and Malcolm the exposition fairy was obviously only there to preach Crichton’s warning to the readers.  I agreed with most of the warning, it was just contrived.  Also, has anybody else read this and gotten the feeling that somewhere, somebody in Crichton’s sphere had a really bratty and obnoxious spoiled brat of a little girl that Crichton wished to torture a bit so he wrote her into the story?  I personally would not have minded if that child had been eaten by the raptors early on, but I guess we needed her to keep causing disasters.

I started a lot more books and didn’t finish them, and I kind of regret forcing myself to finish the 600 page monster about the dragon world.  I wish I’d read something more worthy of my time.

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