This is my first post in months! Well, not because he is my ultimate favorite author or because he influenced me or anything like that. I can’t say that because I have not read enough of his work, which is a damn shame.
But I do admire him and loved the handful of works of his that I have read. His stories are always thought-provoking and profound and oh so quotable. They are entertaining in so many ways, on so many levels.
It’s a good thing I’ve managed to refrain from getting a highlighter and marking my favorite passages in the Discworld books I have and in “Good Omens” because I would have probably messed up the poor pages.
The literary world lost another great talent. But as the man himself said:
No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.
And so he has now become The Immortal Sir Terry Pratchett.
Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it – that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.
— Stephen Fry
I’ve toyed with the idea of putting up another blog where I could write about non-book-related things and occasional personal stuff, but then I remembered that I put up a disclaimer that there will be non-book stuff in this blog because it’s The Girl Who Read and Other Stories after all, and stories are everywhere, not just in books. Besides, it’s just a pain to maintain too many blogs.
So, lest I protest too much, I will just go ahead and write, and…yeah, I’ll probably do this every weekend.
“A Memory of Light,” the final book in Robert Jordan’s “The Wheel of Time” saga, was released in the U.S. today. And while starting the series is part of my Reading Goal this year so I don’t have much of a clue about the story, I nevertheless got kinda emo over Brandon Sanderson’s blog post about reading the final scene in the Saga. In truth, I even got emo back when I was reading a fan’s account of attending RJ’s funeral. I guess it’s the thought of RJ not being able to finish his magnum opus after years and years of effort. It’s a good thing he was organized enough to leave lots of notes and that he had enough time to leave instructions.
Or maybe I’m just plain emo at heart.
Also, it’s now a bit less intimidating for me to start “The Eye of the World” now that there’s an end in sight.
✿ ✿ ✿
Sanderson’s next book up after AMoL is a dystopian YA (EDIT: Apparently this wasn’t the YA, it’s The Rithmatist) called “Steelheart”.
There are no heroes.
Every single person who manifested powers—we call them Epics—turned out to be evil.
Here, in the city once known as Chicago, an extraordinarily powerful Epic declared himself Emperor. Steelheart has the strength of ten men and can control the elements. It is said no bullet can harm him, no sword can split his skin, no explosion can burn him. He is invincible.
It has been ten years. We live our lives as best we can. Nobody fights back . . . nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans who spend their lives studying powerful Epics, finding their weaknesses, then assassinating them.
My name is David Charleston. I’m not one of the Reckoners, but I intend to join them. I have something they need. Something precious, something incredible. Not an object, but an experience. I know his secret.
I’ve seen Steelheart bleed.
It sounds epic! (And look, “epic” is now a pun in this context, so it’s very much intended.)
This is Sanderson, so I expect good humor and yet another fascinating magic system. It’s going to be interesting to see him do this kind of dystopian. The cover image hints at something a little more sci-fi-ish, so I also expect the world to be very different from his Cosmere-set epic fantasies.
Okay, actually, the reason why this is giving me a sci-fi-ish, even a little steampunk vibe, is that cover art. You know, ‘coz there is this:
I would never call myself a gamer, but I do love video and computer games. My childhood favorites were The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros.; I finished Diablo II, Final Fantasy VIII and several Resident Evils; I love the Mystery Case Files series; I obsessed about Angry Birds and Plants Versus Zombies, and I even have an NES emulator installed in my computer because I still want to play the old Zelda with the pixelized graphics. So I empathized a lot with Wade and his geekiness even though his life is a lot more extreme than mine.
I also related a lot with all the 1980’s references because I lived through those years and everything is just so familiar. I think there’s an added layer of enjoyment of this book for people who lived through the 1980’s or those who are very much immersed in that time’s pop culture.
It is by no means a perfect book even if I gave it 5/5 stars. The characters are pretty much game character archetypes (not sure if that’s intentional or just a product of the plot) and there are some rather cheesy analogies and story points. I had other pet peeves but I forgot them amid all the fun I was having. I loved the pacing of the story and the geekiness of it all, the effort Cline took to world-build the OASIS and its mini-games, and the way the narrative sucked me into the world. Reading this was more of an experience because I felt like I was actually playing along with Wade. His feeling of almost-emptiness after logging out of the OASIS to go back to the real world is akin to how I felt every time I had to stop reading the book to do some work.
So because I had so much fun reading this…5 stars! And a book hangover! I have to get over this so I can start our next TMRS Book Club Pick: “Open House” by Elizabeth Berg.
More geek confessions: Back when Steve Jobs died, I half-expected Apple to announce that he has a clause in his will that mandates the holding of some freaky grand Apple app-based tournament where the winner will get a million dollars. I really did. For serious. For realsies. Oh, well, I guess he’s saner than I imagined.
If I were to wake up one morning to find out that I have acquired a superpower worthy of Heroes, I’d accept almost anything except for the power of prophecy. It seems like such a useful power if you think about it, but it’s also a burden knowing what the future holds because a normal human cannot just sit there knowing what’s about to happen and not do anything about it.
But it’s fun seeing prophecy in action in fiction, though. And if it’s Laini Taylor who’s writing about it, then I’m on board!
Richelle Mead, Lisa McMann, Michael Grant, Meg Cabot, Laini Taylor, and nine more of the hottest YA authors to hit the shelves explore the concepts of prophecy and prediction in this story collection edited by NYT bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan.
Have you ever been tempted to look into the future? To challenge predictions? To question fate? It’s human nature to wonder about life’s twists and turns. But is the future already written—or do you have the power to alter it?
From fantastical prophecies to predictions of how the future will transpire, Foretold is a collection of stories about our universal fascination with life’s unknowns and of what is yet to come as interpreted by 14 of young adult fiction’s brightest stars.
Laini Taylor shared her thoughts about the anthology on her blog, and she also shared the first line of her story, “Gentlemen Send Phantoms.”
Once, when the moon was younger than it is tonight and not as plump, three girls gathered by a hearth to bake a dreamcake.
Damn. I think I have to read this book.
★ ★ ★
Lauren Kate released a short story set in the Fallenverse called “Daniel’s Gift.” It ties nicely into the Daniel and Luce Valentine story in Fallen In Love.
It kinda hurts reading about Daniel when he’s like this. 😦
★ ★ ★
During the Authors as Readers panel in the 2nd Filipino Readers’ Conference, New Lit author Mina V. Esguerra spoke about the 3 kinds of characters from which most—if not all—love interests are molded from: The Unattainable Crush, The Best Friend, and The Jerk. She blogged about it in more detail here: click! If you like reading romance stories, do check out her post; it’s a revelation. 😉
★ ★ ★
Rick Riordan revealed one of the new characters that we will get to meet in The Heroes of Olympus #3: The Mark of Athena:
This is Nemesis, goddess of Revenge. *cue Temptation of Wife theme music* *yes, here come the Korean drama references*
When I first saw her, I was reminded of War a.k.a. Scarlett, one of the Horsepersons of the Apocalypse in Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens. I don’t know why; maybe it’s the motorcycle. Because the Horsepersons don’t actually ride horses. Because horses are like so last century…so Book of Revelations. (But wait, the Book talks about the future, so horses are so…next century? Ummmm… Processing… Okay, never mind.) Or maybe they’re hippies or something.
Anyway. Nemesis is apparently a shape-shifter and Leo will have an encounter with her in which he does some bargaining. I have a feeling “bargaining” may actually mean “aggressive negotiations,” you know, like in Star Wars Episode II. Or maybe it involves fortune cookies because she’s holding one. Like “you can bargain with me, but first, have a cookie!”
*cracks open a fortune cookie*
*reads out the ambiguous Chinese philosophical sayings*
*interprets the fortune just as ambiguously and makes it twistier than Red Vines*
*announces that it actually means “Sorry, Leo, you lose! I get to beat you up!”*
*drags Leo into a dark alley*
*demigod vs goddess Boss Battle!!!!*
Sorry, I got carried away. I don’t even know why I’m blogging right now when my mind is a mess from trying to hold in my fangirl squeeing (I am working in a public place right now) after watching some videos. If I did not make any sense at all, you can blame HIM.
↣ Entertainment Weekly has an exclusive excerpt from Maggie Stiefvater’s upcoming The Raven Boys (click!), and boy, was it creepy. It definitely piqued my interest. 😉
↣ The Casual Vacancy is the title of J.K. Rowling’s much-talked about adult novel, which is scheduled for a September 27th publication.
When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
It sounds so pleasantly different from Harry Potter, and seems to be the kind of story that will match JKR’s writing style very well. I’m really looking forward to this book.
↣ Lastly, my story on Lauren Oliver and her visit to Manila is now up at GMA News Online (click!)
Aside from participation in the usual religious ceremonies, my holiday also included a Korean drama marathon (The charming Sungkyunkwan Scandal and The-Show-That-Made-Me-Cry-For-1.5-Hours-Straight The Moon That Embraces The Sun ) and, unfortunately, much procrastinating on writing assignments.
While I was on that self-imposed internet blackout, these happened:
➳ Writer-producer-director Chris Weitz, otherwise known to me as the director who made a problematic Twilight book at least watchable (i.e. New Moon ), will soon add “author” to his résumé. Little, Brown and Company won the rights to publish Weitz’s The Young World, the first in an “epic, post-apocalyptic trilogy” set in a New York where only teenagers remained alive. [Source: click!]
It sounds a little too manufactured for my taste, to be honest. I can see where he wants to go with these teenagers who are left alone without adults and the comforts of life. I just hope it’s written well and that Weitz can bring something new to the post-apocalyptic YA sub-genre.
➳ As Lauren Oliver revealed when she visited last month, she’s writing her first adult novel. The Harper Collins website just revealed that the book will be titled Rooms, but offers no other details about the plot. (Duh.)
➳ One of my favorite authors, Brandon Sanderson, will release four shorts this year. I don’t know how he does it considering he’s working on other novels and is probably at the editing stage on A Memory of Light (Pub. Date: 13 January 2013). I think he’s a secret Mistborn and he must have found a previously unknown metal that can be burned to enhance writing efficiency. If so, I hope you can hear me, Brandon: will you be my Kelsier? 😛
Heuristic Algorithm and Reasoning Response Engine (with Ethan Skarstedt) will appear in the John Joseph Adams-edited military science fiction anthology, Armored. Mecha fans will probably love this! If you click on the title link, you’ll find a short excerpt on his blog.
Legion , meanwhile, is a modern sci-fi-ish mystery/thriller that will be released as a novella and e-book.
Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell is included in an anthology called Dangerous Women, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.
The one that I’m most excited about is The Emperor’s Soul, which is set in the Branderson Cosmere (the core mythology will tie-in with the worlds of almost all of his adult fantasy novels). I love the premise of the story, and this promises to be another showcase of Brandon’s always-fresh-and-never-boring magic systems.
Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skillful magic. Though condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor’s scepter, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Despite the fact that her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor, who is almost dead from the attack of assassins.
Delving deeply into his life, she discovers Emperor Ashravan’s truest nature—and the opportunity to exploit it. Her only possible ally is one who is truly loyal to the emperor, but councilor Gaotona must overcome his prejudices to understand that her forgery is as much artistry as it is deception.
Skillfully deducing the machinations of her captors, Shai needs a perfect plan to escape. The fate of the kingdom lies in one impossible task. Is it possible to create a forgery of a soul so convincing that it is better than the soul itself?
➳ In other Branderson news, Writing Excuses is up for a Hugo this year and the Mistborn movie is moving forward!
They now have a working script for Mistborn that Brandon likes, and it’s being shopped around to studios along with this “mood trailer.”
Note: That wasn’t an official trailer; it’s cut from scenes from different movies that were put together to show studios what kind of film Mistborn is supposed to look and feel like.
I wish I had several million dollars to put into financing this film! (Actually, I wish I had several million dollars, PERIOD. 😛 )
➳ Mina V. Esguerra’s new book, That Kind of Guy–I mentioned this in my profile story about her–will be released this month! She’s hosting a giveaway on her site. Check it out: click!
➳ Lastly, if you are wondering why I never posted about The Hunger Games after seeing the movie, well…let’s just say I had so many things to say that I didn’t know where to start. I had a LONG conversation with my friend Frankie via the comments section of her blog post (click!), but I lapsed into procrastinating and lost a lot of the words that I wanted to write into the ether.
I eventually managed to put together a coherent review, which was published yesterday on GMA News Online: (click!) I’m sure it’s evident in the tone of the article that I had more to say about the movie, but I had a maximum word count to abide by and had to choose only the points that are most important to me.
I hope I can still make myself write a proper blog post about the movie, but re-capturing my train of thought despite extensive notes is going to be an uphill battle. After a marathon of 2 Korean historical dramas, I feel like my mind is stuck in another time and place where magical english subtitles appear when people speak. 😛
I really should take Jae-Shin‘s advice, eh? Don’t procrastinate often; it will become a habit. Lesson learned! (I hope.)
It’s time for another “Every-Flavour Beans” post! :p
Alternative Alamat: Coming 14th December
Paolo Chikiamco (Hi, Pao!) is going to make it easier for me to get into more works by Filipino authors with his new anthology, Alternative Alamat. Rocket Kapre will release the book on Amazon.com, Flipreads.com, and the iTunes store.
Philippine mythology is full of images that ignite the imagination: gods of calamity and baldness, of cosmic time and lost things; the many-layered Skyworld, and weapons that fight their own battles; a ship that is pulled to paradise by a chain, and a giant crab that controls the tides… yet too few of these tales are known and read today. “Alternative Alamat” gathers stories, by contemporary authors of Philippine fantasy, which make innovative use of elements of Philippine mythology. None of these stories are straight re-tellings of the old tales: they build on those stories, or question underlying assumptions; use ancient names as catalysts, or play within the spaces where the myths are silent. What you will find in common in these eleven stories is a love for the myths, epics, and legends which reflect us, contain us, call to us–and it is our hope that, in reading our stories, you may catch a glimpse, and develop a hunger, for those venerable tales.
“Alternative Alamat” also features a cover and interior illustrations by Mervin Malonzo, a short list of notable Philippine deities, and in-depth interviews with Professors Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.
There’s a list of stories and authors included in the anthology over at Rocket Kapre. [Link]
The Hunger Games movie news
Our local SM Cinemas promises they will be showing the film 1 day ahead of the US release. Apparently, this really is 1 “day and date” ahead, so it’s 22 March 2012, Philippine time.
Danny Elfman is out as one-half of the musical scoring team for the film, and James Newton Howard is taking his place. Howard joins T.Bone Burnett on board the multi-album project. While Howard is a solid alternative to Elfman (and yes, I like Howard’s work more), I would’ve liked to see Hans Zimmer or Alexandre Desplat take on something like THG. Then again, since there are roughly 4 months to go and 2 albums to produce, maybe the filmmakers prefer to play it safe.
More Book-to-Movie Madness: “John Carter”
The trailer is out! I saw this in 3D ahead of our screening of The Adventures of Tintin, and it looks like Pixar did a great job on the production design.
It needs better marketing buzz, though, to be honest. John Lasseter apparently didn’t want to use the title of the source material, John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, because JC isn’t quite “of Mars” yet in this movie. Ye-huh, but “John Carter” does not exactly pique one’s interest. It’s not as if he’s James Bond or something…even if he is played by someone like Taylor Kitsch.
At least they didn’t go with the original Princess of Mars. How about: John Carter, Princess of Mars? 😛
Okay, okay, moving on.
Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day!
They have one in the US! I wish we did, too. We need to change that “it’s like taking a kid to a candy store” expression to “it’s like taking a kid to a book store”. ;p