Challenge Update: Week 8 of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy + A Classical Connection

 Namaste my nifty nexus of Bookbaggers!

Welcome to week 8 of Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy which was mostly successful and revealed the first Interesting Book Connection I’ve noticed in a long while 🙂

More about that later, but first:

Short and Sweet challenge badgeSince my last update I have finished one of my under-200 pages books and chose a new one, so this challenge is definitely getting to the pointy-even-more-deserving-of-a-Mighty-Numbered-List-end:

  1. At the start of the week I finished Bleed by Peter M Ball which I enjoyed immensely right to the end. This is an example of paranormal crime fiction that doesn’t dawdle and yet still doesn’t feel unnaturally fast-paced. It was the perfect length to introduce plenty of character back-story in tantalising dribs and drabs while also developing a stand-alone plot that doesn’t get bogged down in the past. This may be because this is Peter M Ball’s second novella set in the same universe with the same main character (the first being Horn which is also in this challenge) or because so far he has been a short-fiction author so he knows how to write succinctly, but to me this was as well-developed (if not more so) than an installment in a regular length novel series. And as I said before, I loved the protagonist – Miriam Aster – a tough ex-cop turned private detective who drinks gin and smokes cigarettes like its going out of style, can hold her own against deadly Fey creatures and gets some killer one-liners! I look forward to reading Horn also when it gets picked, which should be soon considering the contenders are dwindling 😛Bleed
  2. When I was right at the end of Bleed I asked Semi-Official Chooser Sarah to pre-emptively pick me a new book, and for the occasion for some reason we decided to give my finger-less gloves a makeover and dubbed them the Gloves of Choosing! After donning the Gloves of Choosing Sarah picked me a new slip from the meagre pool that’s left and it was I Am Legend by Richard Matheson 😀 I was excited for this one as my mate Scott raved about it, and the list of famous authors praising it on the cover was impressive (for example Stephen King said Richard Matheson was the author who influenced him the most). I’ve read a few chapters so far at lunch or on my commute and it is indeed fantastic. In fact, its early days but I highly suspect it will be in my Top 10 books of 2014, so it was a great choice by Sarah, and a great recommendation by Scott 🙂 i am legend
  3. I have also been “enjoying” A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess a bit on my commute. I say enjoyed in quotations because I think if you truly enjoy this book then you are pretty messed up, but I have been enjoying it as much as a relatively sane person can enjoy a novel where in the first two chapters the main character and his gang have already harassed and assaulted a man and destroyed his books for no reason; robbed a store, attacking the owners liberally in the process and getting a group of older women to be their alibi; brawled ruthlessly with a rival gang; stolen a car from a drive-in and used it to terrorise a couple canoodling in a park and run over various animals; and finally break into a home for fun, raid the fridge, terrify and abuse the couple within, rip up the husband’s manuscript and gang-rape his wife before flitting off into the night again. This said it is wonderfully written and despite being pretty shocking it will also likely be in my Top 10 of the year.a clockwork orange
  4. Usually I round of my Mighty Numbered List by telling you about a story or two i read out of The Living Dead zombie anthology, however last Saturday I threw a birthday party at my place for a good friend and then on Sunday relaxed with Sarah, my bro, and his mate Jess watching some quality DVDs including Tank Girl, so I didn’t have my usually reading-and-housework Sunday. I did read a bit during the week towards challenges, however I never quite got around to The Living Dead, so alas, no zombie stories to speak of in this update 😦 I also have a big weekend planned this week, but hopefully I’ll still find some time before the next update to revisitzombieland 🙂A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

As I said the contenders are dwindling in this challenge, but here’s what’s left:

hornHorn by Peter M Ball

deadly belovedDeadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins

ericThe Illustrated Eric by Terry Pratchett (writer) and Josh Kirby

Now onto the other challenge which is also getting quite pointy-ended:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeI didn’t read any of either of my giant reads on Sunday, which felt a tad odd to be honest, however I did read a bit during the week and kind sorta made my quota:

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending57 pages (2 chapters)

Pages remaining: 64

Brisingr:

Brisingr47 Pages (3 chapters)

Pages remaining: 290

Total:

104 Pages

Pages remaining: 354

Yes, it did irritate me to no end that I got so close to 50 pages with Brisingr but when I got to the end of the chapter last night it was well past my bedtime, and I knew if I chased that illusive 50-page mark I would read the whole next chapter and be too tired in the morning and reading the first few pages of a chapter seems silly just for a number. As you can see I didn’t finish The Sending this time, but if I don’t finish it by the next update it will only be because something really bizarre happened to prevent me – like a fog enveloping the city causing temporary blindness, or I develop a sudden bout of extreme dyslexia so I can’t read the words on the page, or a fire destroys all my current reads in some freak spontaneous combustion event (ouch – even though that last one was pretty ridiculous, it still hurt even imagining it!).

Now onto my Interesting Book Connection! Part of the reason I love being a Book Polygamist is that occasionally there are coincidental parallels between otherwise unconnected books I’m reading – like a character with the same surname, a specific location, certain animals popping up etc. I think the last time it happened was June last year when two books had characters with the same surname (with a slight spelling variation) which I made the next Adventures in Etymology but I have mentioned others here before, and there are plenty more which haven’t been quite interesting enough to point out. This IBC however (Good thing I checked IBC doesn’t stand for anything else too weird…) was too good to pass up as it was not only a connection between two new reads, but between them and the music I’ve been listening to while reading them.

I mentioned last update that when I started A Clockwork Orange was listening to a Britpop station on the radio app, Pandora, because they didn’t have the movie soundtrack which I initially thought would be fitting. However, with all the new slang to get my head around, and the ultra-violence to boot, I found Britpop too distracting and a bit weird when a happy, lovey-dovey song came on while in the book people were being pummeled.

I then started reading I Am Legend which I didn’t want to be distracted from, so I looked for a classical channel and since A Clockwork Orange was still on my mind I searched for one that was all Beethoven (since In the movie the main character, Alex, is a fan of the composer and in an iconic scene Beethoven ninth symphony is used as part of a “treatment”). As I happily listened to Beethoven while reading about vampires, I reached a point in the book when the main character – Robert Neville – says he is listening to Beethoven’s third, seventh and ninth symphonies since he had a love of classical music from a young age.

While this may not be the best coincidence since Beethoven isn’t exactly unknown, I did enjoy the connection and I am guessing it will pop up more and more as I go through both books.

I reckon that’ll do for now Bookbaggers, so I’ll leave you with a few funny things as always 🙂

Firstly is this video I saw the other day (I know I’m behind the eight ball again but I don’t care :P) which features possibly my favourite voice on YouTube – Zefrank1 of True Facts fame:

Then I saw this hilarious collection of GIFs and videos where cats show they’re not as elegant as they would have us believe. It was shared by a Facebook friend this morning but I can’t find it on YouTube so I’ve shared it on the Book Polygamist page:

And since we’re on a bit of a cat theme, I’ll end with this, because dogs are confused by life too:

perplexed cogiboxer confused by limepuppy-eats-a-lime-gifI know that’s two dogs-trying-limes ones in a row but look at them! They’re so cute and confused!

See ya next time for another exciting challenge update, and possible some junk in between, but until then see ya later from me and Tank Girl:

tank girl

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A Mythic connection

While I mentioned way back at the inception of this blog that on occasion the books I’m reading have eerie cross-overs, I realised that none of them have been significant enough for me to actually write a post – until now.

The connection I found was between three books I am currently reading/just finished reading: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern; American Gods by Neil Gaiman and The Raven’s Heart by Jesse Blackadder, and are references to Norse God Odin’s twin ravens, Huginn (Thought) and Muninn (Memory).

Odin with Huginn and Muninn

I’m aware that Norse Mythology isn’t always widely known, so if you’ve never heard of Huginn and Muninn or Odin in general this site is a pretty good one for all things Norse and Mythic 😉

The first reference was in The Night Circus. One of the main characters Celia Bowen, the illusionist at the circus has a raven which she uses in her act called Huginn and in one scene her father says that she should get another one – “a Muninn to complete the set” to which she replied “I prefer thought to memory, Papa.” This gave me a bit of a giggle, as I enjoy Mythological references slipped into books, it was an insightful sentiment and it made me think of a game I sometimes play on Facebook (Ravenwood fair) which also has a Huginn and a Muninn, but I didn’t give it much more thought until they popped up in another book – American Gods.

 

The reference in American Gods came about because one of the main characters was revealed as being Odin (this isn’t really a spoiler as it happens fairly early on, and with a title like American Gods it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that Gods will feature). I thought it was pretty neat that two books I was reading at the same time referenced the same thing, but not too odd because after all they are both Fantasy novels so it’s not a huge stretch of the imagination that they would both include Mythology in some form, and in my reading adventures I have found that when reading so many books at once, similarities can, and do pop up.

 

When I read the third reference in The Raven’s Heart, I laughed out loud. In hindsight it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise considering the book’s title, but it did take me by surprise when in this Historical novel, Mary Queen of Scots started to tell the book’s protagonist, Alison/Robert the story of Odin and his ravens to illustrate that she wanted her to be her spy in the kingdom.

I doubt that Huginn and Muninn will make an appearance in any of my other current books, but if they do I’ll make sure to share the weird coincidence 🙂

 

Also, this post is a bit of a milestone – it is Book Polygamist’s 100th post! *cheers and applause ensue!* 😀

Thank you to those of you that have been reading from the beginning, and also thank you to readers that have only just started to read – without you all I doubt I would have had the effort to last 100 posts 🙂

Another milestone is coming up very soon – the first anniversary of Book Polygamist, which is on the 5th of March – so perhaps I will do a special post on that day to celebrate.

For now ‘tho, thank you for reading and as always:

Happy Reading!