Happy World Book Day

I’m disappointed that people have chosen to support Trump.  What gets me the most, is that Trump is equally astonished.  He has stated that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue, and his supporters would still support him.  That’s his way of saying he’s surprised by their behavior too.  I don’t hate Trump as a human being.  He’s not someone I admire by any stretch, either.  More like someone who is thin skinned, and vulnerable to criticism.  Insecure, and in denial of his own failures and flaws.  He discovered that many other Americans are just as afraid as he is, and he’s capitalizing on it.  It’s sad.  Whatever comes of the next election, I hope we as a nation grow, and decide to reject fear.  It’s been a strategy for much longer than I’ve existed.  “Only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – FDR.  So yeah.  It’s nothing new.  Sigh.

I’m nearing the end of my current book, Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson.  This is my second time reading it.  I’m not certain, but I think this time around, I’m finding it more absorbing.  I think about it several times during the day, and it comes up in my dreams.  It’s a fascinating world.  The next installment of this series is due in 2017.  Oathbringer will be the third book title, and it will center on Dalinar Kholin.  Oathbringer is the name of Dalinar’s shard blade, before it’s given to Sadeas in exchange for his bridgemen.  Dalinar is also known as, The Blackthorn.  The reason for this title is alluded to often in the first 2 books.  The characters in this epic fantasy are complex, yet still relatable.

I’ll probably read both books again before book 3 is released.  I’m obsessed with this world.  It speaks to my inner warrior, and reflects some of my strongest values.  They are long reads, but knowing me, I’ll purchase and complete reading Oathbringer within 2 days of its release.  When I’m reading an epic fantasy book, I’m also living in that world to some degree.  Reading them again is like revisiting an alternate world in which I spent lots of time being intrigued.  While I do enjoy movies, they don’t have anywhere near the power of epic novels.  Movies draw me in, but they also overwhelm me, and force me to maintain a separation for self preservation.  I wish I could make that separation larger in most cases.  With books, I invite them in without hesitation.

Authors are my rock stars

When I finish reading a book or book series, I have a cathartic moment where I reflect on the story, the author, and what I imagine would happen next if the story continued.  The better the book, the longer this process lingers in the background of my thoughts.  Some authors evoke a strong feeling of gratitude for their work.  It’s intense.  I don’t think it’s hero worship.  More like admiration for what they have accomplished and shared, and my assumption that I’ve only seen a glimpse of their spirit.  I have no idea what struggles they are facing now, and have already conquered on their journey through life.  I don’t data mine personal information about people I admire.  It too often has no relevance to what the person has shared consensually.

I think it’s cathartic because when you consider what an author gives you, there isn’t really any way to return an equally enthralling gift.  You’re now permanently in their debt, but you don’t mind because the gift lasts a lifetime.  That’s pretty big.  I guess I think of all exchanges as optimally equal.  I think we readers got the best deal in life.  We can purchase an entire world for less than $200.  We can also purchase a tailored soundtrack to our own lives for about the same amount of money.  Free if you’re a pirate, matey!  But I think stealing from an artist is a karmic taboo of fantastical proportions.  For me, books and music are the art forms I favor the most.  I read a lot of books.  Some of them are entertaining while reading, and then quickly forgotten.  Some are exciting, interesting, and informative.  But a few are so powerful that they reach deep within us, and become part of our life story and soundtrack.  Movies don’t reach me in this way.  Too much of my attention is tied up in anxiety management to allow the story to sink in.

When reading a book, I let go of my own world almost immediately after entering the new world.  I’m still aware after a bit of prodding, but completely absorbed.  I think this is me doing my part as a reader in the reader/writer relationship.  It’s a fascinating relationship.  It’s imaginary, for one thing.  It’s the imaginary friendships for people of all ages.  The author shares some of their imaginings.  You add your own imaginings and mental imagery automatically as you read.  It’s a flat world that builds up gradually, and reveals itself across a journey.  You, as the reader, get to come along and experience it too.  We got the best deal ever.  I have gone through the, “I want to be a writer” stage of my life a few times.  Each time, I begin to imagine the world I’m about to create.  But I never get very far into this process before I’m off on a tangent based on something I read in someone else’s book.  I quickly come to the conclusion that I would have to cut back on reading in order to be a writer.  I’m not willing to make that sacrifice.  Therefore, I’m a reader. Not a writer.

I think J. K. Rowling is my favorite author of all time for now.  She bumped Charles Dickens.  No easy feat, that.  I laugh to myself when people claim the Harry Potter books are for children.  So close.  The Harry Potter books will make anyone who reads them become a child, regardless of their age.  And as you take the journey through the Potter world, you feel that part of you that will always be a child giggle with glee.  When you hear that sound, you’re instantly transported back in time to that happy period in your childhood when you last remember feeling completely care free.  It’s amazing how some books can trigger this.  For me, the Harry Potter books are among a few others that have reached me so intensely they’ve become part of my own story.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things

I set aside my evening for one purpose.  To read a new book I ordered by Patrick Rothfuss titled, The Slow Regard of Silent Things.  I’ve read both of his Kingkiller Chronicle books, and was completely impressed by his storytelling abilities.  He writes like nobody else I’ve read.  I assumed he was British for some reason, but now I think he’s American.  Normally, I don’t decide how I feel about an author until I’ve read at least two or three of their novels.  In this case, I knew before I even finished his first book that I was a fan.

I was right, and the second book in the series was equally excellent.  I tend to read my favorite books more than once, as I did with the Kingkiller Chronicles.  I went searching to find out if he’s released another book in the series.  I came across The Slow Regard of Silent Things.  The reviews were all over the place, and some were by people who were clearly pissed off over this book.  That was different. Usually you only see that sort of variety in book reviews of novels that tear apart a religion.  I know because I sometimes read that sort of book review for entertainment purposes.  Richard Dawson reviews are a personal favorite, despite my being an agnostic.  He’s an idiot, but attracts the type of morons that believe their atheism is based solely on superior intellect. That’s just so funny.

So I curled up in my reading chair, cat in my lap, and read my new book.  It’s not very long, and is intended to be informative of a particular character in the series that’s mysterious and intriguing.  I liked her just in the bits that were included prior to this book.  But now, I love her.  She’s fascinating.  He never goes into detail about why she’s a strange bird, but he drops subtle hints.  I think when she was a student, she was raped.  The hint was tiny, but as a rape survivor, it shouted at me.  It made perfect sense.  Her world was suddenly, violently shattered.  And she figured out how to put it back together in a very quiet, hidden way.

She makes her world small enough for her to process and live in without losing herself, (again).  She hasn’t forgotten what happened.  She’s pushed the horror out of her small new world and contained it in small, hidden places.  At one point, her anxiety spins out of control, and you see the fear hidden in plain sight. You see the desperate need for any semblance of control, but on her terms.  In a very polite, proper, selfless, and always perfect way.  Reading how she’s rebuilt her world and reality is cathartic, sweet, endearing, and healing.  I’m so glad I read this book.  It’s as if it was written specifically for me.  Logic says this is not possible, but my heart doesn’t care, and has embraced it like a 2-year-old screaming, “Mine!”.