Sunday, April 19, 2009

Books Make Great Gifts

Books Make Great Gifts - Go watch that video.  

And then don't hesitate to piss yourself laughing.  

Some were serious, some I could not take seriously.  

I do agree books make great gifts, but the reasons given were... well they were different.  And thus don't be offended that above it may seam as though I was not in agreement that books make great gifts, but simply that I think the video is funny and gold.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Two raging emotions... one awesome book

I was back-reading some Patrick Rothfuss’s blogs.  (I do that when I first discover I blog I really like and the author doesn’t post fast enough. I read all the old material… I can’t be the only one can I?) Anyways….. he was doing a segment on fanmail and one had said that they had made note of what page they were on in his book because they knew they would be stopping by a bookstore and they would read more there.  My first thought was “What the fuck!?!?! You don’t take your book with you everywhere?  What kind of human being are you?”

Seriously though.  I will not carry a purse that will not fit all my junk and a book.  I must have a book with me no matter what.  Taking the bus = reading time.  Long car trips = reading time.  Waiting to get seated at a restaurant = reading time.  Waiting for a movie to start = reading time.  Anytime were there is waiting involved = reading time. 

Anytime were I am frustrated and people suck, I read.  It is soothing and calms me down. I am away from here (wherever here might be) and I am someplace else were things are not my problems but someone else’s and I have a good feeling that somehow it will all work out.  And it kind of reassures me about life in general too.  That somehow it will all work out. Some may have to go through devastating tragedies along the way, but the larger picture painted of the whole world…well… it may just very well work itself out for the best. 

So yah, returning to the original point.  Pat!! I totally kick that fans ass… I took your book everywhere with me while I was reading it.  It visited my work, the bus, my drama practice.  It slept on my bedside table and on my couch.  It hung out in my purse, and on my desk at work. It posed for pictures with my dog.  Seriously.  Were I went your book went.  It may have even visited the John (do not smell the pages for bathroom odors.. yah I just got that image in your head). 

Now some of you might be backpedaling at this point going “Wait a minute.  Bitch says she takes her books everywhere.  Pat don’t buy into her sincerity.  She brings every book everywhere.  They all get the same treatment.  Even the crappy ones.”  And heyo you may very well be right.  But the crappy ones linger forever and get left behind places, like at home while I take a new shinny with me on the road.

And Pat… good ones like yours.  They get on my to buy list.  And really really good ones like yours…. Well I bought two copies.  Because I could only find the two different covers for sale.  The new one and the man chest one.  Both in hardcover.  That is love.  I didn’t go searching for it used to save a buck. I didn’t buy it in soft cover either. I bought the big honking hardcover’s twice.  I can only read one book at a time but now I have two different copies with two different covers.

 Man.. I love your work!! I am so freaking jealous I want to do something… I can’t think of anything insanely creative that represents my jealous rage right now, so just kind of fill in the blank on that one.  Your story was awesome.  The way you told you story was even more awesome.  It takes story telling to a whole new high.  And now I am like… “Well can’t write that type of book now.”  If I do it will totally be a nock off.  That style is so original and anyone else trying to pull of that format will be a total poser. 

You raised the bar for high fantasy.  I thought it was high before with George RR Martin and Robin Hobb, but no you had to go and push it even higher.  And I am left standing here with my head back and mouth agape.  I feel like such a country hick wannabe going to the big times and sticking out like a soar thumb.  I just am not ever going to make it to that level no matter what I wear.  But to be fair, it’s all about how you talk when you’re writing.  And I just sound ignant sometimes.

Honestly every time I sit down to write, I feel like a two year old telling their first story.  I have this awesome vision in my head, but the words, they slip through my fingers.  And my sentences are these small little kindergarten like sentences.  “The bunny hoped” kind of deal.  And my dialogue doesn’t sound real.  And then I fall back on clichés.  And then I think I can’t say “They looked like a dear in the headlights.”  I am trying to write fantasy for goodness sakes.  Where the hell am I going to get me some headlights in this badass medieval like world. 

So my dearest Pat, I am left in a jealous fit of rage at your awesomeness and humbled by your talent to weave a tight tale.  Two very conflicting emotions.  One awesome book. Now get back to work on book’s two and three so I can trek them around with me on my own adventures.    


Saturday, April 11, 2009

How being literary punched in the gut led to Patrick Rothfuss and The Name of the Wind

I discovered Patrick Rothfuss through George RR Martins Blog.  Wow that sentence makes me sound like some big hotshot talent agent that just goes around discovering people.  Kind of makes me giggle that thought.

Let me extrapolate.  I keep up on my authors that I am eagerly anticipating books from.  It was on one of those routine checkups that I was scanning through Martin’s “Not a Blog”.  I was looking for updates in regards to his next installment in the Song of Ice and Fire series.  He often doesn’t update the page for the series, but every now end then makes mention of it on his blog.  I don’t really read his blog as I don’t really care for what he talks about on his blog and don’t find him very witty.  Awesome writer, horrible blogger.  So I am scanning through and he is in the process of throwing some sort of fit in regards to why he has a life and his next book isn’t out and he links to Patrick Rothfuss as proof to other authors out their who don’t stick to the intended schedule.  And I, for whatever reason, follow that link.  Probably because I was avoiding doing something at the time and it was a decent distraction. 

I get linked to this post on Patrick Rothfuss’s blog.  I read and proceed to laugh hysterically.  I think can’t be all bad, guys a good blogger.  And then I go wait… Martin’s a horrible blogger but a good writer.  What if this writer is wasting all his talent coming up with awesome blogs instead of writing (like I am want to do every so often).  So I mosey on over to the reviews section of the website.  And I am punched in the stomach as I see not only has Ursala K Leguin given it a good review, but Robin Hobb gave it a stunning review.  ROBIN FREAKING HOBB!!!!! 

Next I head on over to his home  page.  And I read the caption of what the books is about.  I think to myself, I think I may have heard of this book before and meant to read it (Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine did a review – I have a subscription).  I then thought of all the books I still have to read on my list of books to read and I also look at my nightstand and see the huge pile of books I have from the library currently. I calculate the current pace of my reading and then go and reserve a copy of the book from the library. 

Proceed several weeks later as I have read through my pile, read a couple of biographies, and now have Pat’s book from the library (did I mention I stalked his blog in the mean time).    I ask myself am I really ready for more high fantasy, because I find those offer the largest literary hangover (post to come soon in that regards), and then think of what I might be missing out on having both George Martin and Robin Hobb throw this book in my face.  I figure I would be poorer for it if I didn’t read it.   


Book:  The Name of the Wind

Author:  Patrick Rothfuss

Pass of Fail:  Pass with flying colors

I am really unsure of were to start with this.  It was amazing.  It was everything it promised to be and more.  It left gifts in the future; it left me wondering.  It left me unable to read anything productively for a week. 

It starts in silence.  Not action, but silence.  We experience the silence.  We are in an Inn, and the third most profound silence belongs to the Innkeeper.  Who is he to command a silence all his own? 

At page 53 (the hardcover addition I ordered soon after I finished the book) we get the passage that is most often used to advertise the book.  The passage that shapes the hero for us.  My Name is Kvothe….. 

The book is the story of a hero, but the behind the scenes version of it.  The real story of the hero.  Near the end of the book there are some tavern tales being told by the regular patrons about Kvothe (he goes by Kote as the Innkeeper, in hiding from the world).  And that is when we get the full grasp of just how much of a legend he has become.   How far the truth has been stretched from the original deeds. 

The book is like having a personal interview with Napoleon or Queen Elizabeth and hearing the real truth behind the legends. 

There is a school of magic, but his magic system is realistic with solid principles and almost disappointingly like science (I was never much of a science kid).  But his magic feels real and believable. 

Pat's ability to write about music is astounding.  Many people have commented that the author must be a musician to write so passionately about music.   He isn’t, but the breadth of passion for the music is pure poetry. 

And then there is the impossible love interest.  However, once Kvothe understands her better she motives are understandable and she is painted as human.   And any story with a believable love interest will have me turning pages long after I should have stopped for the evening (I am a sucker for a good love story). 

I also really like the way as a reader we don’t understand what is going on until Kvothe, our protagonist, goes through the experience.  I love Pat’s ability to keep us waiting and drawn out, without giving away material before the protagonists knows it. 

The chapters are short and sweet and Pat doesn’t delve into unnecessary details, but he definitely gives the reader a taste and leaves us begging for just a wee bit more. 

I will definitely have my copy preordered and ready for pick up on the day that it comes out.  To any fantasy lover, I recommend this book.  To non fantasy lovers I say wait for the trilogy to be finished.  I have an understanding with books that they will be ready when they will be ready.  However, I have found for myself in the past, that if I am starting in on a new genre it helps to have everything available in the series at my immediate beck and call just in case I love what I am getting into.  That way I don’t get too mad that it’s not finished.  Heck I almost waited to start this book for those same reasons. Glad I didn’t, disappointed that I still need to wait.

Roo says she’ll wait it out.   No way she is going to lose her heart without the finale present. 

Next in the Reviews… a study of Pirates in the Romance Genre.  Yah.. its that season were being swept off by a pirate seams like a good pastime.  

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Beginnings of a New Adventure


Over a year ago I had decided that I was going to keep a blog.  The original attempt is over here.  What I noticed was that given the chance I would most certainly almost always talk about books.  I had started blogging with this wide view of what it might be about, but soon realized that I really spent a lot of my time either reading, trying to write, or talking about the two subjects or dreaming about the two subjects.  Therefore, it was only natural that I tried to revamp my old blog to be a book blog. 

But something about it rubbed me the wrong way.  The name didn’t fit.  And so I set out to find myself a new domain name for the idea.  Like when an author first starts writing under one name, but then realizes that they want to write a different type of book, perhaps in a different genre, and they want that new book to be judged on it’s own merits instead of their previous credits as an author.  So they come up with a new Alias.  Well that is how I felt about my old blog.  So this is my new Alias. 

It took me some time to find a name.  I thought of the Book Slut, as my mother and I joke about our complete slutty nature when it comes to books.  But as you can see the name is taken and quite popular.  Book Whore seamed too dirty.  Book Attic or Book Loft sounded like I should have been selling books.  Book Addict was taken, and slightly unoriginal.  Book Junkie was too dirty. 

Then I was thesaurus-ing and came across hound instead of addict.  But alas Book Hound has been used by several people.  It was going to be perfect too because I was going to pose my basset with a book and use that as my profile picture.  And I had almost convinced myself that it didn’t matter and I would just go with it anyways, but that’s like plagiarism and that is so not cool in the book world. 

And then I am thinking gypsies they travel a lot and tell stories.  And then I was thinking performers.  And since I read a lot of fantasy the next logical step for me was a minstrel.

min⋅strel [min-struhl]  Show IPA



a medieval poet and musician who sang or recited while accompanying himself on a stringed instrument, either as a member of a noble household or as an itinerant troubadour.


a musician, singer, or poet.


one of a troupe of comedians, usually white men made up as black performers, presenting songs, jokes, etc.

I mulled it over and rolled it around in my mind.  At first it seams a bit odd, but the more I contemplated it the more it seamed to fit and feel right. 

There is something about music that connects with the soul.  The same way in which a good book connects with the soul.  It touches us inside and leaves us feeling changed. 

And besides my hubby is a musician so it’s kind of fitting to combine my love of books and his love of music.  But then I was a wee bit disappointed because that left out the third key member of our nuclear family… our hound.

So instead of just being The Book Minstrel I decided my blog would be called “The Adventures of the Book Minstrel… And her amazing sidekick Roobear!”   Guess who Roobear is.  Besides my trusty sidekick.  She be my hound dog. 

And now I can make Roo wear her awesome wardrobe of clothing for various posses with books that I have read.  Such is her duty as my trusty sidekick.  And you know maybe I can wear a cape.  Because capes are cool, and you were those as a minstrel.  And on adventures.  Adventures wouldn’t quite be the same without a cape.  Yah I am a wee bit of a nerd.  Snort. 

Plus I like the word Adventures.  Minstrels go on adventures.  Adventurers travel.  I want to travel and see the world.  Also, when I was a kid, when asked what I want to be when I grew up… the answer was a Pirate.  Think about all the adventures they get to have. 

And now the blog is complete.  Almost. 

What I was going to do was go and grab all my old posts that pertained to books, from my old blog and post them here.  However, the intense amount of labor and time that would take could be better spent elsewhere, like reading or writing.  I also considered  linking them up in a long list too, but the scope of that project also soon became very daunting.  So instead if you feel oh so obliged, you can mosey on over to my previous blog and peruse around.  Keep in mind it was my first attempt at blogging and therefore, it may be a little rough.  But it’s a good beginning and I will visit it fondly.

I would also like to put our a plea to my favorite authors, George RR Martin, Robin Hobb, Patrick Rothfuss(new to the club of authors I am obsessed about and first to be reviewed here on the new blog… eventually), Terry Pratchett, Christopher Moore, Stephenie Meyer (don't you judge me and my weakness for Vampires) and Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee,  I know this is a long shot, however, if you ever felt the need to I would gladly accept ARC of your work… gladly.  And in return I would perform a happy little jig on video and post it to my blog.  I would also give the books stunning reviews… as I am sure that they merit it.  So um just drop me an e-mail at jemuldoon (at) gmail (dot) com  .  Also anyone else who would like to send me an ARC may send me an e-mail and I will hook you up with my mailing address.

Yours truly,

The Book Minstrel  ….. and her trusty sidekick Roobear


P.S. Minstrels compose and I want to be a writer.  Just another way in which the name is befitting.