How Many Pages Do You Read Before Giving Up On a Book?

Image: Bored Reader on Subway

Photo by Julian Ortiz via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Anyone who reads regularly will be familiar with that feeling of struggling through the first pages or chapters of a book, pushing on because you’re waiting to see if it will get interesting. At some point the book either gets better and grabs your interest, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, you have two options:

1) force yourself to read a whole book you’re not enjoying, or
2) give up and start a different book.

Believe it or not, when I was younger I always selected option 1. Continue reading

Growing up with Harry: What It Was like to Be a Teen During the Potter Craze

Image: Close up of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone 1998 Adult Edition Cover

When I was 12 years old, my godfather gifted me a book. It looked terribly uninteresting. The title – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – evoked memories of Oliver Twist, a story I had never much liked. The cover – a black and white photo of a steam train – looked even drearier. I imagined it would be an autobiography of a poor English boy living near train tracks, or on a train. Boring.

Despite my godfather’s assurances it was “becoming quite popular in Europe” and that his children had liked it, I resolved not to read it. Continue reading

Are The Most Popular Fantasy Books The Best Fantasy Books?

Image: Popular Fantasy Novels

A month or so ago while trawling through Facebook I came across a Buzzfeed article titled The 51 Best Fantasy Series Ever Written. The image, for maximum click-enticing effect, was additionally headlined “The 51 Fantasy Series You Need to Read Before You Die”.

And yes, like the lemming I am, I clicked on it. Continue reading

How Much Plausibility Would You Like With That?

Image: NASA Astronaut Space Walk

Photo by NASA via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

I recently saw The Martian at the cinema, after having thoroughly enjoyed the book. For me, the film didn’t disappoint, and afterwards I was eager to discuss it with friends. And of course, amidst the discussions of what was and wasn’t the same as in the book, and what we liked and didn’t like, came a topic that always arises when discussing a science fiction book or film these days: plausibility.  Continue reading

5 Ways Weddings Are Used in Fantasy Novels

Image: Bride in a Forest

Photo by Joel Bedford via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

So I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front for a few months, namely because I got married and moved countries. Needless to say, both endeavours took up a decent amount of my time, so I’m going to shamelessly use them as my excuse!

All that wedding planning, however, inspired me to start up again with a wedding-themed post: how are nuptials usually handled in fantasy novels? Continue reading

A Workshop with Garth Nix

This weekend I got a rare opportunity to attend an ASA workshop run by one of my favourite fantasy authors – Garth Nix. For anyone who doesn’t know, Garth is the author of the world famous Old Kingdom fantasy series (consisting of Sabriel, Lireal, Abhorsen and most recently, Clariel) and many other books (A Confusion of Princes is another favourite of mine). He has also worked as a literary agent, editor, publicist and bookseller and is just generally a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the book industry, and particularly the fantasy and science fiction genres. Needless to say, I was a little star struck! Continue reading

Reading Classic Fantasy and Science Fiction Novels

As a teenager, hearing the word “classic” coupled with the word “book” was enough to make me suspicious. “Classics” were the books I got forced to read in school. They were the books everyone told me I simply must read, the books I thought would surely be great… until I found myself struggling through an archaic tome that was neither interesting nor inspiring. Even more daunting was the fact that this canon of old, famous and important books was seemingly endless. I felt like I might be in the grave before I finished them all. Continue reading

One Year Blogiversary

It’s officially been one year since I started this blog! Doesn’t feel like that long but hey, time flies. In truth it started out as a bit of an experiment, turned into more of a habit, and then became a regular part of my life.

I’m not sure what one typically does on one’s blogiversary, but I thought this might be a good opportunity to pick a selection of posts from the past year that have been particularly popular (or that were simply personal favourites). Continue reading

Epic Fantasy Novels and Long Beginnings

Image: Wizard Figurine

Photo by Anvica via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It’s been a while since I’ve read a typical epic fantasy novel. I’ve been caught up in the realm of fantasy romance and science fiction, and only recently found myself returning to a more old-school breed of fantasy when I picked up Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind.

I’m about halfway through it and am really enjoying it so far, but reading it reminds me of the love-hate relationship I have with epic fantasy. This relationship is largely caused by one thing: beginnings. Continue reading