Saturday, July 9, 2011

Read What You Aren't - A Clash of Kings

I'm a modern person, hooked up to cell phones, computers, cars, satellite radio. I shower every day. I am no soldier. I shop at Safeway. Nice, but nothing compared to the adventures and horrors of reading George R.R. Martin's amazing epic books.

At 1:45 a.m. last night, I finished A Clash of Kings--his 1,009-page second installment in the A Song of Fire and Ice saga. Whew. So much bloody fighting, grotesque battle scenes depicted in the kind of detail that only a book can provide. A movie shows you but a book tells you, and some details, by being described, let you fill in the grisly blanks. Severed limbs, spurting blood, crushed in heads on pikes, rapes, explosions, castle intrigue, main characters being killed... You never know what's coming next.

George likes to weave several stories into one book, so you hear about different members of the Stark family, other kings and other realms. You see the battle from the view of different commanders. Family members don't know whether their kin are dead or alive (but we do--well, most of the time). That's why I keep turning those pages. (My wife is reading them on her Nook reader).

So why am I eagerly anticipating the THIRD book? Well--it's nothing like real life--and it's safe. I didn't think I was that kind of guy, but I want to know what will happen to the surviving characters. George left things in the middle of a post-battle mess, a clever trick to get you to read the next installment.

It reminds me of the Harry Potterthon I did a couple of years ago--seven books over one summer. But this is MUCH more gruesome (well, those last couple of HP books were pretty graphic...).

When I was 10, I spent the summer reading baseball player biographies. This is different--but has the same effect. It takes you away. My life is full and things that are good, but there's nothing like a good read.

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