Instead of writing a full-blown long review for each book I read, I've devised a way to continue to put my thoughts down regularly without the added stress of having to think of what to say beyond a couple of paragraphs. Some books call for a long, critical review. Others don't. And maybe some of the books I'm including in my bite-sized round-ups deserve a longer review. But I'm kind of on a reading streak, and I don't want to break it now.
Without further ado, check out my thoughts on A Game of Thrones, Lamb, and When Did You See Her Last?
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
I read this book for the Les Literables online book club. Our initial goal was to read the first two books in the series, but that proved to be way too ambitious for just one month's work.
I'd already seen the HBO series before reading, and I think it helped me appreciate AGoT better. I had visuals for the many, many, many, many characters that GRRM introduces into the narrative, and already had an idea of where the story would go, so I could appreciate the smaller details and the writing itself more than frantically trying to keep track of every person and what they're doing.
Watching the first season of the TV adaptation was frustrating. There are things about the world in these books that don't sit too well with me, and I especially didn't like the treatment of Daenerys when she was introduced, up until she decided to take an active role in her relationship with Khal Drogo. But the book gave me so much more background information, a better look inside her head, and just straight up better character development, and I like the series that much better because of it.
My only side note is I read this as an ebook, and I don't recommend that format. It's better to have a physical book in your hand so you can refer to the indexes and maps more easily.
Looking forward to reading the next book!
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
This oddball choice in my reading repertoire was actually a recommendation (and borrowed copy) of a friend who lives in the same town I do here in Japan. His approach was, "are you super religious, or better said, easily offended by poking fun at religion?" I said no, not really, so long as it really is poking fun and not being all-out vicious. So he handed me this book, saying it's one of his favorites, very funny, and that he re-reads it regularly.
Lamb manages to poke fun at religion (not just Christianity, by the way) without being disrespectful or gratuitous. The whole point of the book is to fill in the years that the good ol' Bible skips of Christ's life, and its told from the perspective of his best friend in modern terms. It gives Christ a fantastic personality, and way more dimension than the bible stories do. In many ways, I feel like it complements his character more than anything else. It accounts for his childhood and then sends him on travels East to learn from other masters, and we get to see how his message might have (who knows?) formed as a result of his experiences.
If you're not easily offended by some goofing off and mucking around in biblical history, I can't recommend this enough. Your faith might actually be strengthened by reading this.
When Did You See Her Last? (All The Wrong Questions, Book 2) by Lemony Snicket
I wrote up a review of the first book in this series towards the beginning of this year, and this book continues the story of young Snicket's life as an apprentice. ATWQ2 sees the return of Seth, a brilliant illustrator who lends his hand to this story, and the author's clever, witty writing that I like so much.
In the first book, Snicket ended up at Stain'd-by-the-Sea to recover a stolen object. Things don't go as planned, and at the end of the book he was just as clueless as when it began. Now, his chaperone takes on a new case, taking place in the same town regarding a young girl who is reported missing. As you might imagine, her disappearance is absolutely linked to the events of the first book, and once again, by the time this one ends, he's still no closer to solving the mystery, though he managed to save a few lives... for now (Unfortunate Events flashbacks...).
It's kind of difficult to put praise to words for Daniel Handler's work as Lemony Snicket, especially since words are so important in his stories. I always learn new things when I read these books, and I have no trouble admitting that my inferior vocabulary and diction are no match for his. Just trust me on this one - reading Lemony Snicket books is the most delightful way to learn new words and get a great story out of it without having to flip through a back-of-the-book dictionary in between pages.
That's it for this round! I'll be back soon with another batch, so please look forward to it! Do you like Bite-Sized Reviews? Let me know what you think.