Five lessons I learned from what I read in 2011

January 10, 2012 § 4 Comments

I read oodles (the technical term for it) when I was in elementary and middle school, a lot in high school, and not terribly much in college (aside from what I was reading for classes, which took the majority of my reading energy). Fortunately I’m rectifying that error, by reading more than ever these days. The ‘real’ world, with mortgages and bills and full-time jobs isn’t all glamor and glitz, but it’s one major redeeming quality is a total lack of homework. I’ve taken advantage of the extra time in my life (and the fact that my wife who is in grad school still does have homework in the evenings) by reading more this year than in the previous eight years combined.

Since I began writing seriously, the way I read books has changed significantly, for better or worse. I’m more discerning of everything from adverb overuse and cliches to strong and original characters. Most of the books I read « Read the rest of this entry »

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If you’re supposed to write what you know…

September 18, 2011 § 3 Comments

This weekend I went on a hike through the Enchantment Lakes wilderness in Washington State. There were a half-dozen sky-blue glacial lakes, streams with water so clear you could almost mistake the beds for being empty, and mountains so steep I couldn’t conceive of the geological process that had formed them.  They looked like enormous man-made walls and towers.

On the flip side, it was 21 miles (including a detour), 5,000 feet of elevation up, and 7,000 down.  I felt like Frodo Baggins.  I’d describe my hiking companion as Sam, but height-wise he’s more like Treebeard.  I’d describe the hike as grueling, but that doesn’t do it justice, which brings me to my point… « Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

September 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

If you haven’t already read the book, you’re probably either sick of hearing about A Game of Thrones, or planning to skip the book and watch it on HBO.  All I have to say is read the book.

I have to admit that it took me two tries to get into it because there were so many characters up front (and the only reason I gave it a second shot was because the HBO trailers looked so awesome) but I would have been so disappointed to have missed it.  Martin proves time and again that he’s not afraid to send his characters through the fire (and worse), and the result is the most intense, on-the-edge-of-my-seat reading experience that I can remember.  If you’ve already watched the first season, I’d still encourage you to get on board with the books.  As good as the series is, the books are better and the sequels are just as big a roller-coaster ride (except for A Feast for Crows, which was like a long stroll through the countryside).

It’s a story of politics, friendship, love, war, betrayal, and just about everything else.  Martin creates some amazing, intricate characters and a fascinating world, and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the series is headed.

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