Thursday, April 17, 2008

Let's Talk About Books Baby - Volume 1

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Well now that I have an MP3 player that actually plays all of my MP3s, I have been pounding through my new audio books at work and driving around in the car. When I was using the iPod piece of crap I had reserved myself to listening to the same audio books over and over again simply because they worked, rather than endure the frustration of putting in a new book and having it skip chapters. The Zune appears to have no problems so I continued on in the David Eddings series “The Belgariad” which I hadn’t read in my teenage years. I remember that all of the total dorks at school used to spend all of their free time reading these books, but I was too busy drinking and destroying property like all of the cool kids to read any of them.

Now that I am no longer a cool kid and the father of several “not” cool kids myself, I have taken to listening to audio books while I work, and I prefer audio books that are funny and adventuresome. These books remind me of a cross between Rodenberry, Rowling and Tolkien in the way that they lay out a very good fantasy map, create cultures, and then get you personally involved in all of them. When I started in the first book “The Pawn of Prophecy” it was like any good Star Trek series in the way that it made you interested to the point of being curious towards the various characters in the book. As it continued on it reminded me of a Harry Potter book in its dynamic character building surrounding an orphaned boy with hardly any knowledge of his past, but leapt into a fascinating adventure because of it. The books tend to end a little on the uneventful side, but leave you clamoring for what is happening next.

Now keeping in mind that most of the Harry Potter fanatics are out there with that feeling of emptiness because their favorite teenage hero has been permanently placed into normal progression with no books on the horizon, I would suggest that these various books by David Eddings would fill the void quite nicely. There is even a bit of a twist to it, now that I have finished “The Belgariad” series which consisted of 5 books, and two add on books at the end where the author took all of the parts that were forced out by the editors, and compiled them. The sequel series “The Malloreon” which I am now on the first book of called “Guardians of the West” immediately starts out with the questions that you would have left over at the end of any good series of books. I find myself wrapped in the development of the characters as adults, and celebrating their life learning and triumphs as if they were old friends. Most of it is rather hilarious as you go through the real life {and seriously as fantasy novels go, these books really make you feel like these people are normal} birth of a child etc. Picture Harry Potter going into a fit of stupor while Ginny is giving birth to the first child, and Mrs. Weasley sends him outside to chop fire wood just to get him out of the way. Harry doesn’t think about using magic or servants because all he can do is babble about how babies need fire wood, and then comes in crushing the table with a cord of wood and is surprised that there is a baby there. It’s excellent writing and it is endearing.

Eddings was very understanding about what other fantasy novels lacked, and took effort to develop women throughout his novels while at the same time making sure that they were normal women. He was often {from what I read online} bludgeoned for being a racist and a sexist in the way he wrote, but like most things that have the “racism” and “sexism” tags applied to it, the things he writes are normal. The princess deciding to have armor made so that she can lead the troops into battle while her future husband is off fighting the epic battle is placed on hold while she pitches a temper tantrum because the smith didn’t put “breasts in her armor, is a great example. She didn’t have any but was extremely self conscious of that. It was a normal adolescent problem that was developing in her because the man she was in love with was often surrounded by women from other cultures that tended to be far more developed. Other interesting endeavors into foul language {despite the fact that the author doesn’t feel the need to write specific words, but colorfully explains when they are being used} which always tends to threaten greater men purely by the way they are used, always amuses me. The King of Reva taking on an entire army of Membrate Knights who finally cower to him, not just because he is the greatest king in the west but because his tirade of swearing like they are ruining his day scares them, is quite hilarious! When his wife is having a hard time getting pregnant she goes into a tirade swearing and throwing things, and he cowers to her, but is shocked when he discovers that she learned all the words from him.

If you are like me and you are looking for some easier reading that doesn’t get too complicated, has a good sense of humor, and interesting plot twists then I would suggest picking up a copy of “The Pawn of Prophecy” by David Eddings. It’s timeless and kid friendly. The books are far more endearing then Tolkien or Lewis {more like Star Trek or Star Wars} and the characters are very realistic. Often you will stop to say, “I know someone like that!” no matter how outrageous they are, and more often than not you will find people in a fantasy environment acting like normal people in the real world. When you are done with that book the rest of them will become more important as you go along. The fact there is a 5 book series that takes over after the first 5 book series will make it all that much more appealing because we always get that feeling of “damnit, that’s it!” when we are done with a series of books. ;8o)

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Nothing that was printed here was intended to offend anyone, and if it did, screw ya, you begged for it. If you believe that there are some measures that can be taken to change me, then please feel free to pray for me, and while you are at it yourself, because you read this far, and if you hated every minute of it, then you are an idiot, not me, or the other people who like what I have to say! .. Jeremy

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