Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Watcha Readin'?

If there is one thing in my life I would like to do more, its reading.  I read plenty of websites, magazines, and bed-time stories to my kids.  But finding quiet time to just sit down and be swept away to imagination land while reading a book hasn't been easy.  I read one book in 2009, and another in 2010.  Its sad really.  One book a year?  My wife can polish off a book in a couple days.  I'd bet she reads nearly 100 books a year.  Many of them multiple times.  I bet she has some books that she reads annually.  Much like I would with a favorite movie (IE LOTR, Star Wars, Fifth Element).

I'm not really sure what it is.  I think I look at a book like a daunting task.  like.  Wow... 300+ pages?  How am I ever going to get through that.  With books in the past, I've kind of had to force myself into reading them.  "Just get through a chapter a day" I'd tell myself. Then I'd only wind up sitting down once a week to read, if I'm lucky.  I read the first 'Twilight' book and 'The Rise and Fall of WCW'.  Also a few years ago I read 'Go Ask Alice'.  That was a really easy read.  I thought for certain after getting through those books I would get right into a groove and spend more time reading.  But I didn't.

Then something happened-

I rediscovered The world of Xanth.  Piers Anthony's Book series that stretched my imagination with historical rifts connecting SciFi and Fantasy when I was younger.  I could only remember reading 'Spell for Chameleon' when I was about 12 years old.  I didn't remember much about it.  Somehow luckily we've ran across several of Anthony's books either from Thrift shops, Garage sales, or Library bag fairs.  I put 'Spell for Chameleon' on my book shelf saying "I'll read this next".  That was in the summer of 2010.

New Years came along, of course this would be my chance.  A Resolution!  I've had many in the past; Quit soda, start running, eating healthier foods, go back to school, change my life.  I've actually been on quite a roll with New Years resolutions come to think of it!  This could be my answer.  Its like something in my brain turns me into someone that can accomplish anything!  Next year, I run for governor.. lol

So in January I didn't get to read any books. LOL- crap.  Not the start I was hoping for.  In my defense I was working towards a return to independent wrestling, and spent most of the month being too worried/ excited for that that I pretty much didn't do anything else.  I also screwed up my left ankle while a school field trip cross country skiing.  It was a pretty miserable month for staying on target with alot of things.  I have been running.  well, more like Jogging.  In January I only ran 18 miles the entire month.  That was after nearly hitting 60 miles in Octover, over 40 in November and nearly 40 in December.  I was pretty disappointed.

Then came February.  I found a book we had acquired recently called 'Arcade Explorers'.  It was pretty much a short book (112 pages) that seemed like it was geared towards early teens.  I started reading it mostly as a joke to see how cheesy it was.  After about two chapters into it I could tell that it was nothing more than a computer game supplement (Really it was) rip off of Reboot/ Star Wars/ Tron complete with Cyber Cycles, Lightning Swords and a community of people living inside your very own Apple ][c/ Tandy CoCo.  So I put the book down.

Then I finally put 'Spell for Chameleon' into my work case and brought it with me to work.  During my lunch breaks I promised myself I would at least read a chapter.  This is where I got hooked.  After I read the first couple chapters I found I was hooked.  My one hour lunch breaks at work went by like lightning.  I would polish off 40 or more pages in the hour, in what seemed like a blink of an eye!  I would also spend around 30 minutes or more in bed at night trying to read more.  It took me 10 days to read it in its entirety which for me is a record.  The book is around 330 pages.

The Story follows Bink as he becomes exiled from Florid.... I mean Xanth...lol when the King believes he has no magical ability and forces him to leave the land.  (For some reason in Xanth, if you do not have magical powers you are to leave the land when you come of age/MANhood)  On his way he runs into many mythical/ magical creatures and befriends many allies and even enemies.  Dragons, Nymphs, Wizards, and Warriors, and Harpy's  their all here.  I really got sucked into the story.  I can see how some people would look down on some of the characters and perspectives as being sexist or a little old world.  Bink generally judges every female characters appearance in many non flattering ways, to this I say "Hey, he's a dude"  Piers wanted him to think like that for a reason, some people do I suppose.  You come to find other characters towards the end that really do border on some pretty sexist frames of thinking, but I know there are dozens more books in the series, so I will put in some more time before I weigh in my opinions on them.

After 'Spell for Chameleon' I read a pretty damn interesting short story called 'The Sandkings', that felt more like an episode of the Twilight Zone than anything else.  A Twilight ZONE in the distant future, on a distant planet!  Good Stuff.  The moral of the story here is do onto others as you would like done to you, and the main character is an asshole!

Right now I've begun reading a book that I've always wanted to read: 'The Pool of Radiance'.  I've played the old DOS games (To death) and spent many hours on the NES version.  Great games!!  I found this book a long time ago, and again' its 400 pages!!'  How am I ever going to get through that??  But what the hell?  I've been on a roll, its my new years resolution right?  For one reason or another I've slowed down a bit with the reading.  I haven't stopped!  But definitely slowed a bit.  I've been reading this one for about two weeks now.  I just hit the 100 pages plateau.  It took me a bit to get into it.  The first chapter was 30 pages and didn't really interest me too much, luckily for the the 2nd chapter was EXCELLENT!  I really grew attached to the character surrounding each chapter, and got even more excited to read on when I found the first few chapters were basically separate backstories leading up to the main characters meeting.  Shal, Tarl, and Ren have a GIANT quest ahead of them, and all of the Forgotten Realms D&D rules/ stories apply.  I actually get chills when the characters speak of towns and cities that I remember actually playing in D&D table top campaigns and Computer/Video Games!!

So thus far, the tale lives on.  I'm on my technically 3rd book of the year.  on pace for a possible one book a month schedule.  Which would be another record ;)  I have a Book Queue on my side table next to my bed of about 5 more books that I'm looking forward to reading once I'm through 'Pool of Radiance'.  Up next is 'Another fine Myth' by Robert Aspirin and then continuing the Xanth Series with 'Source of Magic'!

I might even jump back into 'Arcade Explorer's if I keep forgetting to bring Pool of Radiance with me to work!  I've got find out if I can finally beat the Raster Gang, save Vidi and free all of Venturia!


You read it. You cannot un-read it.

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