August 30th, 2011

Relax!  Grab a Book!

Book 18

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  1. Bemelmans, Ludwig — Madeline's Rescue (50 pages)
  2. Rennison, Nick — Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide, Eighth Edition (508 pages)
  3. Rucka, Greg & Steve Lieber — Whiteout (120 pages)
  4. Rucka, Greg & Steve Lieber — Whiteout: Melt (106 pages)
  5. Orwell, George — Homage to Catalonia (267 pages)
  6. Moore, Brian — Catholics (87 pages)
  7. Chatwin, Bruce — The Songlines (296 pages)
  8. Funke, Cornelia — Inkheart (555 pages)

Page count: 4367.

My eighteenth completed book of the year again, as with the previous book, combines several interests, this time fantasy, books about books, and, because a movie was recently made of the book, movies. I remember seeing Inkheart in a charity bookshop and buying it only because the cover looked intriguing, the author has a funky name, and I had downloaded the movie.

I enjoyed Inkheart very much (the book — the movie not so much). I think I far prefer young adult fantasy literature to fantasy written for adults; it just tends to seem more magical. One of the things I enjoyed most about Inkheart was the meta aspect of the story, how it was about people who treasured books and about characters from books, and all the constant references to classic stories.

I have already bought the sequel, Inkspell, and look forward to revisiting these characters with the tables turned on them.

Relax!  Grab a Book!

Book 19

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  1. Bemelmans, Ludwig — Madeline's Rescue (50 pages)
  2. Rennison, Nick — Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide, Eighth Edition (508 pages)
  3. Rucka, Greg & Steve Lieber — Whiteout (120 pages)
  4. Rucka, Greg & Steve Lieber — Whiteout: Melt (106 pages)
  5. Orwell, George — Homage to Catalonia (267 pages)
  6. Moore, Brian — Catholics (87 pages)
  7. Chatwin, Bruce — The Songlines (296 pages)
  8. Funke, Cornelia — Inkheart (555 pages)
  9. Eddison, E.R. — The Worm Ouroboros (521 pages)

Page count: 4888.

I so thoroughly enjoyed reading Inkheart that I was not yet ready to leave the fantasy genre. I browsed through my shelves looking for possible candidates. After scanning the back cover and the first few pages and seeing that one of my favourite authors, C.S. Lewis, and another author I have enjoyed, Robert Silverberg, raved about this novel, and noting the comparisons to my favourite fantasy story, The Lord of the Rings, I decided it was time to discover what The Worm Ouroboros was all about.

Oy, what a letdown!

Clearly, this book was just an excuse for the author to jot down his cliched male adolescent fantasies. There were times I had to put the book down and shake my head in disbelief. What's worse, it's over 500 pages of male adolescent fantasy! I am shocked that this made it past an editor without some serious trimming down. I mean, really, do we need that many pages dedicated to describing how each brother was dressed in the most exotic and sumptuous fabrics and was seated in a throne made of a single, uncut gemstone? And what's with this business at the beginning with the human observer from earth, this Lessingham? I kept expecting he'd make an appearance at the end of the book, that he'd somehow have some relevance. Can anyone explain this to me? Anyone? Please? And was the Jacobean English really necessary? What a chore! Modern English wouldn't have detracted from the story, such as it is.

The Worm Ouroboros isn't devoid of interest. Some of the action is very vividly and engagingly described, only to get bogged down again in endless scene setting. I actually think it would make for a very entertaining movie along the lines of some huge B-quality blockbuster like Prince of Persia, after distilling The Worm Ouroboros to its core essentials. To my knowledge, though, no such movie has been attempted.