Book I Love But Others Love to Hate – Part 2

Last week I made the point that real readers are becoming frighteningly uncommon, so in an effort to get people to read more, I thought I’d share with the world why I love some of the hot and hated books right now – and, therefore, why I think they’re worth reading.  Last week’s post was about Stephanie Meyer and her books, the Twilight Saga and The Host (click here to read last week’s post!), and this week’s topic is going to be about Christopher Paolini and his books, the Inheritance Cycle (a.k.a. the Eragon books)!

Now I know this one might not be hated as hotly as the Twilight books are, but (in my experience, at least), I’ve gotten a lot of sneers for confessing my love for these books (and I know a lot of friends who have gotten sneers for liking them, too).  Some of the arguments I’ve heard most often against Paolini’s books (there are four: Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance) are that he uses too much description, the language he uses is hard to understand, his characters/the setting/the world/the storyline are not believable, etc., etc.  There are many more things I’ve heard people say about how “bad” these books are, but the ones I listed are what I’m going to address, so I’ll stop there.

For one thing, I thing it’s pointless to argue that a book’s plot or characters or setting is unbelievable – especially when that book is clearly fiction.  The whole point of setting a novel in another world is so that your readers aren’t always worrying about whether something in the story is “believable” or not.  And I’m making this argument as both a reader/book-lover AND writer/aspiring-novelist.  So don’t call something in a fiction book “unbelievable” unless you know that the author intended the story to be accurate to life… or unless you mean it in the “this book is so awesome!!” sense.

Description has always been a matter of opinion to me – some people like to read longer descriptions that paint pictures in the reader’s mind, and some people like less description so that they can let their imaginations fill in the details that were left out.  It’s the difference between describing (for example) someone’s eyes as “the green-blue color of the ocean, shaded by thick, dark lashes” or simply as “piercing.”  So in the case of Eragon and Paolini’s other books, I would agree that he has a lot of description – but I would also argue that his description is eloquent, beautiful and appropriate.  He’s not another Melville.  (If you don’t get that reference, go read Moby-Dick… or at least try.)

Which leads me to my next point – there’s nothing wrong with good, well-educated and well-used diction and vocabulary.  Yes, I do think Paolini uses a lot of vocabulary that the average public high-schooler might not know, but so what?  When you don’t know a word, look it up!  (It’s called “LEARNING!”)  I grew up reading tons of books that were technically “above” my reading level, so I learned a lot of words sooner than most other kids my age, and it actually gave me an advantage in my high school literature classes.  Sure, you can call me a nerd if you want – or you can ask me what a word means and learn something yourself.

Ok, I can’t let this topic go until we talk about the film version of Eragon.  Unfortunately, this is one instance where I agree with the general public (and in this case, the general public’s opinion is by far the majority opinion)  – the movie was terrible.  Bad acting, bad accuracy to the book (and I mean worse than usual, Hollywood), low budget, they never made the other books into movies (so we have no sense of how much better it could have been), and it just wasn’t very well made in general.  Now don’t get me wrong – there are actors in there that I loved when they were in other films, but they just weren’t the right ones to play these characters…  The books were epic and really well anticipated when they were still coming out, but I don’t think this movie was very highly anticipated – and of the people who did have high expectations, it turned out to be a sorry disappointment.

So those are my thoughts on Christopher Paolini and his Inheritance books!  I’d be very interested to hear what your opinions are of these books, or, if you haven’t read any of them, whether my post has made you any more motivated to read them now!  Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!

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SoundCloud – Reading My Poetry

Hello all!

I’ve recently been doing something new with my poetry – something that has been picking up in popularity within the literature community on deviantART (my most active site).  Usually the words of a writer are confined to the page on which they were written and the hearts and minds of the readers, but recently I’ve been experimenting with recording myself reading my own poetry and then posting the tracks online for my readers to listen to.  I’m using a site called SoundCloud to do this, and I think it’s proven to be a success so far.  My deviantART readers were thrilled to hear their favourite pieces read aloud, especially by me, the author, so I’m hoping my readers on this site will like it too!

The first recording I did was of my poem “Untitled.”  I’ve posted that piece here before, but I’ll re-post it below for those of you who like to follow along as something is read aloud to you!  The link for the sound recording will be right above the poem.

Thank you for reading, and please let me know what you think of this idea!  I’ve done several other recordings so far too, so those will be posted sometime in the near future!

 

https://soundcloud.com/mistressofquills/untitled

 

Untitled

1.
inexplicable things
that we sense
like wings fluttering
in the shadows

or chest rising with the effort
of feeling

crystal chandeliers
so fragile in the wind

shards of memory
piercing the stillness
and screams silenced
with agony

the lashes to our eyes
hurt and bleed

come again
and wound me

so close to breaking
I can see the cracks.
they widen
and begin to disintegrate

the holes patched
the pain “forgotten”
(as if things
like that can just go away)

I see light
cold and clear through dry eyelashes
whispers in the ink
and music that sings

2.
inexplicable things
darling and sweet
unmistakable
…and there

I see the light in your eyes
I hear your warm heart

I know your thoughts
…I feel you here

there it is
on the raven’s wings:
happiness…
on the feathers of pain

I can see the black
far away

but always close
as a dream (nightmare)

I am not lost
I can see beauty
light is fun to watch…
dancing in the eddies

hands are warm
inviting and open
new for me and my still heart
who are you?

a new word is mine
never mine before
glass – fragile with color prisms:
happy.

3.
inexplicable things
so incomprehensible
and wrong
opposite and backwards

impossible to understand
I don’t…

a paradox
brows furrowed

flashes and color
exploding
rampant, run wild
and be beautiful

yes or no?
stutter in silence

numb and trapped
words with no explanation

behind the scenes
a fairy (or elf?)
pulls the strings
marionette or voodoo doll?

highs and lows
intense beyond measure
tears and smiles
either or, or even together

what is this creature?
the piano plays on
rising notes
in question