September 2019: Reading Thread

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Teresa Edgerton

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actually he doesn't help poison. at must he just doesn´t interfere until he has a reason to save her life. not the same.
second, albert doesn´t spend days but mere hours, and he was sleeping and having sex dreams , so hardly in fear for his life. actually the bandit is quite surprised by his plume. and has for the morrel family, first remember that the value of honor has different at that so he acted accordingto the values of thetimes. besides he needed the time to made buil a new ship. as for the muskateers it's a case of beter death than desonohour
He advises on the poison, pretending it's all hypothetical but being quite aware it is probably not; he knows the poisoning is occurring, who is doing it, how it is done, and does nothing to stop it because it suits his purpose at the time. It's a lot more than just not interfering (which any decent person would do given the least suspicion anyway). He's happy to let it proceed, though Valentine herself has done nothing to deserve it.

I think if we don't recognize his single-mindedness and ruthlessness, his cruelty even, we fail to recognize the dehumanizing experiences he has endured.


I've been thinking about the Musketeers, and it occurs to me that when I said they valued honor, I am not at all sure that what particularly interested them was not really honor but reputation. And perhaps a sense that they are such superior swordsmen that they can throw themselves into danger and always survive. So there is arrogance as well. Only D'Artagnan, on the day he is is supposed to fight all three musketeers, seems to expect that he will probably not live through it.

The noble Athos murders (or thinks he does) his young wife on learning she is not worthy of his noble line. He has the legal right to do it, having the right of high, middle, and low justice within his lands, but even D'Artagnan is horrified by his story. He pretends to be drunk and pass out since he doesn't know what to say. Of course Athos is excused, retroactively, because she goes on to commit terrible crimes including murder, but there is no way he could see into the future at the time he used her own clothes to make a rope and string her up from a tree. All he could know at that point was that she had been a thief. It is pride more than honor that impels him to do it. Does he regret it? He never says anything to indicate as much in the book (although the movies sometimes show him troubled) although having abandoned his title and his name for a while could be interpreted as guilt about something... though whether for marrying an unworthy bride based on her pretty face, or for trying to kill her in a fit of anger we are left to guess.
 

Vertigo

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I am not at all sure that what particularly interested them was not really honor but reputation.
I think this is probably very true and largely understandable in their circumstances (if not entirely forgivable by modern standards). As I understand it the Musketeers were largely formed specifically to give noble families fallen on hard times and who couldn't afford the normal paths to being an officer in the regiments an 'honourable' position from which they could then advance themselves. And in those circumstances reputation must have been everything.
 

tachyon

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Well here's a wrap up of my September reading for completeness.

Progress on Earthsea (Terramar) in Spanish, Ged has reached Roke and is meeting with the Archmage for the first time.

In English I read Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey. I found it depressing and the protagonist unlikeable.

Re. Rothfuss I picked up the paperback of The Name of the Wind when it first came out to great acclaim and a lot of buzz. I read it in growing astonishment that it was so popular, which is to say I didn't care for it at all. I can see I think that I might have loved it had I read it as a teenager (maybe?). I did finish it and read the first few chapters of the sequel somewhat later to see if it changed my opinion, but it didn't.
 

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In all fairness to Rothfuss, Lynch, and anyone else who hasn't finished a series in anything like a timely fashion, writers can get badly blocked on the story they are trying to write, and the greater the pressure is to finish, they worse the block becomes. So the choice becomes: doing nothing in the hope that the block will dissolve and you'll be ready to start writing immediately, or keeping busy with other things so you don't feel so useless, your life so pointless. It may look like the writer is allowing themselves to become distracted by more attractive things to do, but sometimes there simply isn't anything there to get distracted from.
I have no sympathy with such authors.
The way to solve this "problem" is to finish the whole thing before publication - it's not rocket science.
And if it wasn't meant to be a trilogy, why expand it into one? Do something different afterwards. Do something creative. Do something imaginative. Don't follow the easy path. Get a backbone.
I've never understood this whole writer's block thing.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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I've never understood this whole writer's block thing.
I meant to hit reply and initially hit something else.

Many people don't understand it until they experience it. Do you understand clinical depression? Do you understand (pardon the reference on a family friendly site) impotence? Do you therefore doubt that they exist? If you have to experience it in order to believe in it, I hope you never do understand it.

What most people fail to grasp is that it's generally a symptom of something else. Sometimes a physical disease, sometimes a mental illness. There is no telling what private agonies people may be struggling with and unwilling to announce to the public. It always amazes me how otherwise sensitive and compassionate people can choose to be judgmental instead on this one issue.

And yes, I would (now) never sell a series until I had finished the whole thing. But while one is still prolific and able to deliver it can be inconceivable that there will ever be a time when that won't be true.
 

Galactic Bus Driver

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In all fairness to Rothfuss, Lynch, and anyone else who hasn't finished a series in anything like a timely fashion, writers can get badly blocked on the story they are trying to write, and the greater the pressure is to finish, they worse the block becomes. So the choice becomes: doing nothing in the hope that the block will dissolve and you'll be ready to start writing immediately, or keeping busy with other things so you don't feel so useless, your life so pointless. It may look like the writer is allowing themselves to become distracted by more attractive things to do, but sometimes there simply isn't anything there to get distracted from.
Fair enough, until you consider that Rothfuss stated very early on that all three books in the trilogy had been written and would appear at 1 year intervals. Since then it has been excuse after BS after excuse. This type of behavior is inexcusable. If your early statement is true, you have no excuse. If you were BSing, own it and move on, but quit pissing down our necks and telling us it's raining. I give far more lenience to authors who own up to their BS than those who just keep stringing us along. I've been far more patient, for much longer, with Melanie Rawn and her unfinished Exiles series, because she's explained the delays without BSing her fans.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Well, he might have honestly believed the books were finished, and then his publisher might have decided they needed a lot more work.

What, specifically, are the excuses he has been giving?
 

Galactic Bus Driver

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Well, he might have honestly believed the books were finished, and then his publisher might have decided they needed a lot more work.

What, specifically, are the excuses he has been giving?
If you really want that particularly long laundry list, he's been very vocal, and sometimes downright hostile, about it on his blog and at places like Goodreads, but I've seen nothing from him indicating that there have been any demands for excessive re-writes.
 

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What most people fail to grasp is that it's generally a symptom of something else.
Martin hasn't breathed a word about writer's block or any other excuse other than not wanting to be at his desk. I've mentioned elsewhere on this site that he finds time to edit and write quite a lot of things he's interested in. His success with GoT was started by readers who had a reasonable expection of seeing the end of the series in their lifetimes. Without those initial sales, HBO would never have come calling. There's really no excuse. I assume Rothfuss is still teaching, so I suppose he could use the day job excuse. But Silverberg has pointed out many prolific writers from the 50s and 60s who held down day jobs. I'm with Brandon Sanderson on this. If you start something, finish it.
 

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I meant to hit reply and initially hit something else.

Many people don't understand it until they experience it. Do you understand clinical depression? Do you understand (pardon the reference on a family friendly site) impotence? Do you therefore doubt that they exist? If you have to experience it in order to believe in it, I hope you never do understand it.

What most people fail to grasp is that it's generally a symptom of something else. Sometimes a physical disease, sometimes a mental illness. There is no telling what private agonies people may be struggling with and unwilling to announce to the public. It always amazes me how otherwise sensitive and compassionate people can choose to be judgmental instead on this one issue.

And yes, I would (now) never sell a series until I had finished the whole thing. But while one is still prolific and able to deliver it can be inconceivable that there will ever be a time when that won't be true.
I gave up guitar building because of mental health issues - to begin with all was fine but one or two set backs which meant delays started to ramp up the pressure (without me realising) until I reached a point where I would do almost anything rather than go and work on the guitar.

There were a number of factors involved, or at least this is what I think looking back - fear of failure (brought on in part by making one or two errors, at least one which needed me to start part of the job again), the problem of then wanting it to be perfect (also brought on by the price I needed to charge to make the job worthwhile) and my perceived expectation of the customer getting more and more impatient. The last job I completed took 7 years when it should have been a few months, and needed me to try counselling and ultimately anti-depressants to get it finished.

So I can see that someone writing a series of books might find it easy to begin with, as there's very little pressure, you're just pleasing yourself, but if the first book becomes hugely popular then all of a sudden you have to deal with a whole lot of stuff you never expected, including a publisher who wants things tied up while the books are still popular and an audience who have become deeply invested in the story and may be extremely voluble in their annoyance if you don't get it "right" despite them all having their own idea as to what is "right".

No wonder some writers never write publicly again.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Well, I don't know either Martin, Lynch, or Rothfuss, and I don't know what is really going on in their personal lives or what struggles they may be facing. But neither, I think, does anybody here. However, I think it is a pretty good guess that if any of them knew what to do to finish the books in question in a way they can be satisfied with and proud of, and get them off their backs, they would do it, be done with it, and then go on to other projects without all the pressure of reader's expectations

And I did take a look at Rothfusses explanations on Goodreads, as suggested. Where someone may look at his confused explanations and not surprisingly assume a lack of veracity, I look at his confused explanations and see ... confusion. Which is a recognized symptom. Also difficulty concentrating and an inability to keep track of time, and those sound extremely familiar, too. I'm guessing depression leading to a block. (And people who are still trying to come to terms with the idea of depression themselves are not like to go around telling people they have it, since for many there is still a stigma involved. Also, they don't owe anyone an explanation of their mental health, good or bad.) I could be wrong, I'm not a doctor, and I only know what my own doctor has told me and what I have read on the subject, but I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt where possible. Others may prefer to think the worst, as is their right. But complaints and condemnation have not succeeded in prodding the authors to finish their series. I do recognize the value in venting our frustrations (there are plenty of series I am eager to see finished myself, I assure you, and I do get frustrated waiting)—but in terms of getting what we really want, which is the finished books on the shelves I think they are counter-productive.

And that is really all I have to say on the subject—some things are hard enough for the person undergoing them to understand, much less to explain them to others.

So I will just mention the final book I read in September, which was The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen, a YA novel with rather fascinating world building. See you all in the October thread.
 

Stephen Palmer

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I meant to hit reply and initially hit something else.

Many people don't understand it until they experience it. Do you understand clinical depression? Do you understand (pardon the reference on a family friendly site) impotence? Do you therefore doubt that they exist? If you have to experience it in order to believe in it, I hope you never do understand it.

What most people fail to grasp is that it's generally a symptom of something else. Sometimes a physical disease, sometimes a mental illness. There is no telling what private agonies people may be struggling with and unwilling to announce to the public. It always amazes me how otherwise sensitive and compassionate people can choose to be judgmental instead on this one issue.
My point - as should have been clear from the context - was merely to say I personally don't understand it. It's not like I haven't spoken at length about this issue before on Chrons.
 
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