Before I get to a discussion of what I am reading I’d like to mark a momentous achievement: I have just posted my 10,000th tweet. It’s sappy but I’m excessively proud of it. Twitter has been such a force for good for me that I really like to mark the big moments like this.
Anyway, now that that’s out of the way onto the important matters: What I have read so far this week, because being unemployed does wonders for your reading (warning, some of what I read is Jane Austen, my lingo may get all Regency on you, I apologize in advance).
First off, I scored the last copy of Alcatraz vs. the Shattered Lens (the fourth book in Brandon Sanderson’s epically charming Alcatraz series) from my local Barnes and Noble. I know that I am a bad fan for doing this, that I should have pre-ordered it so there would still be a copy on the shelves to enchant some serendipitous child, but I’m lazy and it was sitting right there. Alcatraz vs. the Shattered Lens was everything you expect from the series, laugh out loud humor, lots of action, a good heart, and crazy awesome magic. This book has giant robots dressed as librarians, 13 year old girls with silver hair and giant swords, and bad math, magically bad math. However, since the last book both the main character and the writer have grown and matured. Shattered Lens starts opening Alcatraz’s eyes to the fact that “the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters” and Sanderson handles it beautifully. The first person narration also got a bit more believable, not that it was ever bad, but it felt much more in character and also gave away a couple of secrets about the future. It’s stuff that future Alcatraz probably wouldn’t think twice about writing, but that I as a reader was glad to hear.
Of course, that’s not the only thing I read since I last wrote briefly, I slammed my way through a gem from the most recent Audible $4.95 sale, Pride and Prejudice. I’ve read it several times, watched the BBC/A&E/Colin Firth mini-series even more times, but somehow I had never listened to it before and in all the previous Audible sales the Pride and Prejudice was read by the narrator of my favorite edition of Jane Eyre and I couldn’t take hearing Elizabeth in what I hear as Jane’s voice.
As so often happens when I reread something in Audio the book was a completely new experience to me. I found myself identifying with Elizabeth less than usual. I noticed her flaws more clearly than I had before, mainly her overreactions to events in the world around her. That sounds much harsher than I mean it to be, she develops decided (one might say, prejudiced) opinions about everything on the spot and holds to them doggedly until their incorrectness is flaunted in her face. It’s something we all do. I know I react the same way to bad news, because I did so this evening and got it thrown in my face directly. I hope that by noticing it in Lizzie and myself, I’m growing past that way of thinking, like I have grown past her in age.
It didn’t bother me as much the last time I read Pride and Prejudice, but on this reread I was very conscious of being older than Elizabeth. It’s strange, because I feel like the same person I’ve always been, but I have gone beyond the Elizabeth stage. I graduated from College, got a job, moved out of my parents’ house and, shudder, grew up a bit (obviously not all the way, the first book I reviewed in this post is meant for 8-12 year olds). I still adore the book, but now the reflection I see of myself in the characters looks like a past me rather than the present me.
All of that introspection made me really want to reread Persuasion, which I have now started after downloading it from the ever-wonderful Hennepin County Library, but at first I tried to read something that’s been sitting in my Audible library for a few months now, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn: The Final Empire. I’ve already read the Mistborn trilogy once, but I like to reread Sanderson’s books with his annotations, which are like a mix of writing master class and DVD commentary and The Final Empire has elements of Regency romance, so it felt thematically right.
I mentioned that regency element on twitter and had a bit of a chat with Laura Fitzgerald (she works for Tor, so you know she’s awesome) about other fantasy books in that vein. She brought up Shades of Milk and Honey, which I’ve been hesitant to pick up, probably because Pride and Prejudice and Zombies left a pretty awful taste in my mouth in some respects then I get home last night and the Hugo Award winning author of Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal, had tweeted at me about my concerns about the book, eventually using etymology to prove that she knew her stuff from a historical accuracy point of view. 1) This is just so cool. I totally appreciated her taking the time to tweet at me. 2) Of course I immediately reserved a copy of the book from the library (what? I’m still wary/chary about the book, and if I like it I’ll buy a copy to keep). 3) This is more or less my favorite thing about twitter, how the things you say resonate across the cacophony and reach people who want to hear them.
That’s enough from me for now, I have a bunch more to say about Austen, but I’ll save that for tomorrow because it’s long and, I think, far more self contained than this mess of a post could ever hope to be.