Posted by Jarsto in Reading
August 4th, 2008 | 4 Comments »

I finished reading a trilogy last night. To be precise the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson. I read the First Chronicles (technically just called the Chronicles) quite a few years ago, and started looking around for the Second Chronicles shortly after. Unfortunately my local bookstore only ever had parts of the First Chronicles in stock. And for some reason this never made it onto my online purchase lists.

Fast forward now to 2005, suddenly the First Chronicles were no longer the only thing in stock at the bookstore. Now The Runes Of The Earth, part one of the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, had appeared. Still nothing from the Second Chronicles, and without reading those I wasn’t too interested in the Last Chronicles. Fast forward another 30 months or so to June of this year (or there abouts). Suddenly the Second Chronicles were there. Not piece by piece, but as a complete trilogy in a one volume omnibus.

After hesitating for a few moments (pondering my budget) I decided to go for it. For three books it actually wasn’t expensive, and I’d been looking for it for so long it would felt churlish if I didn’t buy it. Of course I didn’t have time to read it when I bought it, so I put it on the shelf along with the other books waiting for me to get around to them.

Fast forward again, to last Wednesday. I wasn’t feeling too well, and because it was quiet had the chance to come home early from work. On impulse I got the Second Chronicles down from the shelf they were on and started reading. Before the end of Thursday morning I’d finished Book One: The Wounded Land. I was home, not feeling well, again for most of Friday and managed to get through some 75% of Book Two: The One Tree.

Saturday I finished Book Two and started on Book Three: White Gold Wielder. That left me plenty of time on Sunday to finish Book Three. Though I held back for quite a while because the Chronicles, while well written, aren’t what I’d call light reading. Donaldson’s style sucks you along into a world where Despair is the main enemy, and pulls you in so deep it’s almost painful at times.

All of which brings me to my present dilemma: The Runes Of The Earth came out in 2004, and the second book of the Last Chronicles – Fatal Revenant – appeared in 2007. But, if Wikipedia is to be believed, the Last Chronicles are actually going to be a four part series (at least) with the final book not expected before 2013.1

So the old dilemma of any series, particularly series not meant to be read as standalones (which the Chronicles have never been so far) raises it’s head again. On the one hand I’m tempted to jump in, to see where things will go after the end of the Second Chronicles. But at the same time, do I want to start something now I won’t be able to finish until 2013 at the earliest. There’s no way to say for certain what I’ll do over the next few years, but right now chances are I’ll wait, there already too many books I’m waiting for, some from series that are much better standalone reads than I’m expecting here.
1 Here to be exact

Posted by Jarsto in Category 42, Reading
August 3rd, 2008 | 7 Comments »

I intend to order some books today. There’s just one problem. I ended up taking a rather dangerous approach to shopping online. When I found out that my favourite online bookstore had added a “bargain basement” section of books between €2.99 and €5.99 I started clicking through them like a kid clicking through a candy store.

As a result I now have close to twenty books sitting in my checkout list. Amazingly even at that the bill would still be just under €100 but that’s rather more than I’m looking to spend right now. So I’m having to do something I rarely do, I’m taking books I like the look of and kicking them out of the list. I’m not sure yet what the total order will be, but it’s going to be less than it is now.

Posted by Jarsto in Reading
July 17th, 2008 | 6 Comments »

I’m a reading freak, and I’m proud of it. At least that’s the way I feel after a couple of discussions the last few days. Granted this was probably clear after I read 36 Discworld novels in 45 days.1 But another interesting contrast came up today.

I was talking about reading with a friend at work. He mentioned yesterday that he’d started on A Short History Of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (great book by the way). So of course today I asked whether he’d made any progress. He had, some twenty pages to be precise.

That’s more than most people read, especially on a busy work day. But I still couldn’t resist replying (truthfully) that I read twenty chapters this morning in order to finish the book I was reading. Sure I was up early and needed to relax, but it was another reminder I go through books rather faster than most people, and to be honest, that’s the way I like it.

Of course the fact that I prefer reading to at least 90% of what’s on TV these days definitely doesn’t hurt the amount of reading I do. But I’ll leave the whole “TV is crap” rant for another time.
1 Blogged here

Posted by Jarsto in Category 42, Reading
May 26th, 2008 | 1 Comment »

To be honest the title of this post is just two words mashed together pretty randomly, but it looks good. And it does sort of make sense, provided this post is about the weekend. This makes sense because:

  1. I finished reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld (that is to say all Discworld novel’s published until now)
  2. I had a slight fever, courtesy of the legal firm of Headachy, Tired and Warm (who probably aren’t a legal firm, but sound like one)

Fortunately the legal firm seems to have left me this morning – although I think one of mister Tired’s assistants is still hanging around – but the fact remains that I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to read next. Of course I only started reading Discworld about a month and a half ago (as far as I can trace April 10th seems about right).

For some reason I feel compelled to go all mathematical about that, so which has led me to calculate that 36 novels in 45 days equals 0.8 novels per day, or 1.25 days per novel. That translates as an average of just 30 hours between finishing two novels.

That’s just averages of course, it was usually slower than that on week days and faster in the weekends – I went through novels 33 through 36 this weekend plus some short stories. Of course this weekend part of it was down to the fever, which meant I didn’t feel up to anything much other than reading, but still I was averaging more than 2 books each weekend even before this little unintended sprint to the finish.

Of course there are plent of other things waiting to be read, but right now I’m at a loss as to what to pick. Still no doubt something will leap to my eye, who knows I may even blog about it.

Posted by Jarsto in Category 42, Reading
August 6th, 2007 | No Comments »

I have a confession to make in this post. I’m blogging right now just to kill time. Time I should probably be spending on something far more useful. Unfortunately I have a monster of a headache right now, and just found myself watching for several minutes, as the time on a big download slowly ticked down.

So I decided to blog instead. It’s probably better for my sanity than watching the time tick down on a download, and accomplishes at least as much.  More, at least in the sense that I can take updating this blog off my to do list for a while.

And since I’m updating the blog anyway I might as well do a quick reading update. Because I have been getting some nice reading time in recently. For my most recent reading Harry Potter 7 is probably a good place to start. I read that within six and a half hours of receiving it, exactly two weeks ago today.

After that I re-read Watership Down – one of those books I read probably once a year – and David Weber’s Windrider’s Oath. Then I moved into new (for me) material again with Dan Simmons’s Hyperion, followed by S.L. Viehl’s Plague Of Memory. I was quite happy to finally get around to those two,  because they’ve both been by my bedside ready to be read for quite a while.

Unfortunately while the above means I did clear a couple of things from the to-be-read list I also bought four more books during that same period. So the motto “so many books, so little time” still holds true. But I guess that as long as I enjoy reading I can live with that.

Posted by Jarsto in Reading
February 28th, 2007 | No Comments »

Seriously, some authors are so good at keeping people up at night – unable to put their books down – that it’s a wonder they’re not sued because of productivity lost due to lack of sleep. Which author prompted this observation? David Brin.

I’ve been rereading Brightness Reef (part one of the second Uplift Trilogy) and, even though I’ve been very tired much of the time lately, it was still a struggle to put the book down nearly an hour after I’d meant to go to sleep. And this was, as I say, rereading the book, so I knew damn well what was going to happen!

So while I definitely recommend reading David Brin’s works, especially those set in the Uplift universe, I advice you not to read them late at night. Unless of course you can sleep in the next morning and don’t mind being up very, very late.

Posted by Jarsto in Reading
December 6th, 2006 | 1 Comment »

I’ve been able to do one really useful thing the last few days. Hopefully it will be more today since for the time being I’m feeling a bit better (knock on wood). But I figured I’d write a quick note about what I have been doing.

And what I have been doing is actually rather obvious, from the title of this post. I’ve been clearing some of the books that were on my “to be read” list in the light reading category. Because I haven’t really been up to anything more than light reading. I’ve read maybe four Agatha Christie detective novels, and two of David Weber’s Honor Harrington books.

The Honor Harrington novels are actually part of a re-reading process, since I’ve read the entire series before. But the Christies were new reads. They also get me down to roughly half a dozen Agatha Christie novels currently in my possession and unread. At the start of November that was still at something close to 15. Of course I’m still missing 9 of the books, but that’s a story for another time.