Fat Books & Thin Women

Reading Journal: Holy hell, George R.R. Martin

Have you noticed that every couple weeks I put up a post berating myself for not posting more often? I sure have! But, you know, it’s getting hot and humid here in Tirana, which takes away my desire to do much of anything, especially write reviews of The Help or Salvage the Bones or even the books I’m reading for work and have to write about…

Excuses, excuses! I’m back today because I’m on the third book of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Storm of Swords, and…holy crap, guys! One of the things I like about Martin’s writing is that he doesn’t show his characters an unrealistic level of mercy – in moments in which a real person would die or have a hand lopped off or be forced to marry someone they hate, Martin just GOES FOR IT. But I’ve been reading this book most of the day, mouth hanging down to nearly my belly button, because Martin is killing off SO. MANY. of my favorite characters. I won’t name any names, so as not to be that asshole, but there are times when I think, “Right on. Go ahead and flay that character, inch by inch, and deliver scraps of his skin to people around the kingdom” but there are many more moments lately when I am just sitting here, knowing that it’s been way too long since he’s killed one of my favorite characters, and terrified of who will be next to go.

So, there’s another reason for no reviews lately: I have been way too busy reading to bother writing about my reading. And there have been some great longreads lately, which I’ve been too lazy to write up – namely, “S/He”, a piece about how parents deal with transgender children at New York Magazine, and a New Yorker piece on facial transplants, “Transfiguration.”

Very New York-centric, publication-wise, but hey: what a great segue into this next topic! (Would it have been better if I didn’t point it out?) I’ve given up on twitter because everyone is talking about Book Expo America, which leads me down a scary rabbit hole of thinking: (a) holy crap, in eight weeks I’ll be back in America; (b) and then I will find a job and an apartment; (c) and as a Philly-area book blogger, I will pretty much have to go to BEA, right?; (d) and then be awkward around other book bloggers. But more seriously, I am kind of jealous that I can’t go and drink beers with other book bloggers, or whatever it is you guys do while you’re up there.

I think I’ve gathered enough strength to return to A Storm of Swords now, but before I go, a couple questions:

(a) It’s hot and gross and I don’t want to cook dinner. What should I do? Eat a popsicle? Ugh.

(b) What are your audiobook recommendations for someone (me) who tends to daydream and forget that she’s listening to an audiobook?


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I enjoy listening to audio books like Patricia Highsmith (Talented Mr. Ripley, etc.) because they are more event based than detail, and even if I check out, it is like, oh okay is Tom still evil? Okay, all good.

I also like YA adventurey books with amazing narrators, like Jim Dale reading Harry Potter.

Comment by jenny

Oh, those are great ideas. I was thinking a mystery book might be good, but wasn’t sure I wanted to blow the time on a sue grafton-type book (I read them obsessively, but also as fast as I can). Thanks for the suggestions!

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

If it’s too hot to cook then just make sandwiches. That was my solution when the air conditioner quit working until they came and fixed it.

I need to get back into the Song of Ice and Fire series. I’ve got book three on my shelf, but I’m waiting till after BEA to start it because I won’t be able to put it down. GRRM will do that thing where he kills/maims/hurts/fakes out a main character and then doesn’t come back to that storyline for another two hundred pages, and I’ll be forced to keep reading until I get to see if that character is okay, at which point I’ll realize that I have to wake up for work in two hours and what was I thinking. That’s my biggest problem with his writing.

Comment by Grace

How did I forget about sandwiches? That’s what I’ll be eating all summer – and maybe pasta with uncooked sauces (another world of food I’d forgotten about), and ice cream.

I have the same problem with GRRM’s books. I think I let 8 or 9 months go between reading the first and second books because I knew that once I started reading, I’d let everything else go. At this point, I’m just going for it and hoping I finish them soon so I can get back to my reading for work. And this morning, I found that two characters I had been SURE died were still alive. I think any other writer doing this would drive me nuts, but with GRRM I am happy to let these cliffhangers keep coming.

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

Now I’m wondering which characters… :)

I think one of the best parts about being an adult is that nobody will stop you from having ice cream for dinner on occasion.

Comment by Grace

There are so many great Fantasy authors who pen huge novels! Unfortunately I never got around to GRRM (although I love his book Fevre Dream).
Is it cheating to watch the TV series (so little time) ;)

Comment by Lily Wight

I keep hearing that book 3 is one of the best; book 2 sort of turned me off so I haven’t gone back to it. But I mean to one of these days.

I vote for cereal for dinner!

Comment by curlygeek04

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