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“[I] didn’t start the fire, it was always burnin’, since the world’s been turnin’”

This is perhaps less for you, dear reader, than it is for me.  The question is why on earth would I want to start this, given that:

  1. I’ve already got a blog.
  2. I’ve got a book podcast, which at present isn’t out of the gate fast enough as it is.

Surely, if it’s online presence I need for my thoughts, aren’t there already several avenues for my fancies?

The idea for a book-specific blog has been floating in my head for some time.  For a while now I’ve been thinking about the sort of things that slip through the cracks of our memories after we’ve finished reading.  This accursed knowledge amortization, this puff of smoke effect after investing hours of our time reading is frustrating.  As time goes along, I’m beginning to feel that the mind is like a sieve, rather than a vault.

There had been several books that I’ve read the last year that accentuated this feeling.  Dan Ariely’s excellent and endlessly fascinating book, Predictably Irrational, is a study of how our seemingly random behaviour isn’t really that random after all.  In fact, there are underlying factors that allows an accurate prediction as to what you will do in a particular situation – that there’s a reason why you will make bad decisions time after time, even to the best of us.

There were many scenarios presented in the book, and I’ve forgotten most of it already.  This is ridiculous.  IT WAS BRILLIANT, AND NOW I CAN’T REMEMBER WHY.  That was just one example.

Any fiction?  Geez, what about trying to remember more of the plot of a story rather than a general feeling of what I felt while reading it?  Too many to count, so I won’t even try.  Ok, one just popped into my head: Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant was forgettable (because I literally forgot about what it was all about completely).  Oh, and Raymond E Feist’s Magician was quite bad too.

When I put forward that a particular piece of work sucked, I really would have liked to be able to remember to put my finger on it, rather than to talk about it in generalities.

“But The Languid Reader,” you say, “that’s just how it is.  You can’t be expected to remember everything.”  But don’t you wish you did?  Something more than a wisp of a thought?  You spent the hours actually consuming the information, and nothing to show for it besides being a little older?

I don’t expect to remember any better with this site, but at least I’ll have had to force myself to sit down and think about it.  With this site my thoughts are at least crystallized, and hopefully with the passage of time will show me just show far I’ve grown (or regressed) since then.

This is an experiment, then.  Let’s see how this turns out, shall we?  If nothing else it’ll be an excuse to pepper the internet with my wit, bad writing and half-formed thoughts.

Anxious anticipation for Under Heaven

Those who know me know I’m as close to a sucker for Guy Gavriel Kay as a leech is to a juicy exposed human foot (you know, when you’re hiking in a tropical forest reserve).  I was over the moon when I found out he was doing a new novel, and it’s finally upon us.  Under Heaven is due out this week in Canada, and I’m going to be getting my grubby hands on it the moment I see it on the shelves.

I just (literally seconds ago) finished the first chapter of Under Heaven, courtesy of Penguin Canada.  I don’t want to judge an entire book from 28 pages of what is essentially a teaser, but let me just say that this is a fabulous return to form from his previous efforts Ysabel (which won the World Fantasy Award, so what the hell do I know, right?) and Last Light of the Sun.  The writing is luscious and the pace deliciously, dare I say it, languid.  A lot of the details in dynastic China seems quite spot on so far, but Kay always has an out, as he mentions in interviews; he’s not writing a story set in Tang Dynasty China, he’s writing a story inspired by Tang Dynasty China.


All I know is, after reading this chapter, I envy the bastards with the Advance Reader Copies (ARCs), and I want the bloody book in my hands now.