Nearly a Month of Blogging!

We’re coming up on a month since I clicked the “publish” icon for my first blog post

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There is still so much to learn, but here are a few things I’ve observed since joining the blogosphere:

The Community

Maybe I haven’t been in the community for long to know otherwise, but so far, the WordPress.com community has been welcoming and supportive. I’ve also found a lot of good content on here that keeps me on my phone into the wee hours of the night. I’m still working on attracting readers who are interested in what I have to post, but so far, I’m pleased with the welcome and support! I’m not sure if any readers would be interested in knowing more about my background—let me know if this would interest you!

Hardcore Bloggers

Some members are so dedicated to what they do, they post very often. I define these hardcore bloggers as those that post multiple times a day or at least five times a week.

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It’s motivating and, at the same time, shocking that these members are able to consistently dedicate their time to blogging. My mind is boggled how indie authors have the time to write their manuscript, edit it, blog, and keep up with their multiple social media accounts.

I have no idea how these people do it (I suspect worker gnomes in their servitude).

To the Hardcore Bloggers: If you could take your enthusiasm and drive and bottle it into a drink, I would pay. 

Most importantly, I’d like to thank you for your support. If you are reading this now—thank you. Thank you for taking the time to visit my page, read my words, throw down a like, or grace me with a follow.

What was your first month blogging experience like? Do you have any suggestions in attracting readers?

Stay fresh and happy reading!

 

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Free Tracking Spreadsheet!

Spreadsheets.

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I like them so much that I create menial, inconsequential lists for pleasure outside of work hours.

One of the things I track are the books I read and the number of words I read in a year. Why do I do this, you might ask? There’s something satisfying about seeing the word count increase after I enter a completed book into the spreadsheet. It’s a measured accomplishment. Maybe it has something to do with my Myers-Briggs Personality type, who knows.

I’ve made an example spreadsheet available for download to anyone who may be interested in tracking the words he or she reads.

Tracking Books Spreadsheet

I’ve always wondered if other avid book readers tracked the number of words they read? Do you have a similar quirk? It isn’t anything fancy but I hope you find it useful!

Happy reading!

 

Review: Neverwhere

Title: Neverwhere

By: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Fantasy

“You’ll just have to make the best of it down here,” he said to Richard, “in the sewers and the magic and the dark.”
— Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere

The #1 New York Times bestselling author’s ultimate edition of his wildly successful first novel featuring his “preferred text”—and including his special Neverwhere tale “How the Marquis Got His Coat Back”

Published in 1997, Neil Gaiman’s darkly hypnotic first novel, Neverwhere, heralded the arrival of a major talent and became a touchstone of urban fantasy. Over the years, a number of versions were produced both in the U.S. and the U.K. Now Gaiman’s preferred edition of his classic novel reconciles these works and reinstates a number of scenes cut from the original published books.

Neverwhere is the story of Richard Mayhew, a young London businessman with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he discovers a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her—an act of kindness that plunges him into a world he never dreamed existed.

Slipping through the cracks of reality, Richard lands in the Neverwhere—a London of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth. The Neverwhere is home to Door, the mysterious girl Richard helped in the London Above. Door, a noblewoman whose family has been murdered, is on a quest to find the agent that slaughtered her family and thwart the destruction of this underworld kingdom. If Richard is ever to return to his former life, he must join the journey to save Door’s world—and find a way to survive.

A hallucinatory fantasia of mystery, mythology, and terror that “draws equally from George Lucas, Monty Python, Doctor Who, and John Milton” (USA Today), Neverwhere is an “Alice in Wonderland with a punk edge” (Poppy Z. Brite), “that is both the stuff of dreams and nightmares” (San Diego Union-Tribune).

– Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere, William Morrow; (March 17, 2009), back cover.

Someone recommended that I read Neil Gaiman’s works and I figured it was about time that I do it. Although I was recommended to read American Gods, I somehow ended up getting to Neverwhere first. It is a solid introduction to his works and I was not disappointed.

The story starts with the narrative following the life of Richard Mayhew, but throughout the book the narrative changes to different characters.

I enjoyed the world building, plot, and most of the characters. The world is fully conceived with culture and characters that fit the world of London Below.

As for what I didn’t like…

Look, there will always be characters that you can’t relate to which someone else may absolutely love. The character that’s least compelling for me is the protagonist. At times it did feel like other characters moved the story forward and not Richard Mayhew. Even at the climax of the story, Richard isn’t the one to resolve the issue.

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There have been times when I’ve had to give up on a read altogether because I couldn’t empathize or connect with the protagonist, but the character of Richard Mayhew wasn’t poor enough to make me stop reading the book. He isn’t poorly written―I just didn’t find him very compelling. I guess I’ll qualify it as more of a slight imperfection to the story than a dislike.

There were; however, other characters such as Door, Hunter, and Marquis De Carabas that I liked and they carried the story, making Neverwhere worth the read.

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What did you enjoy about Neverwhere? Do you have any Neil Gaiman book recommendations for me to read next? I’d love to hear it!

Book Review: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Title: The Picture of Dorian Gray

By: Oscar Wilde

Genre: Philosophical Fiction, Classic

“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book.
Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

“In this celebrated work, his only novel, Wilde forged a devastating portrait of the effects of evil and debauchery on a young aesthete in late-19th-century England. Combining elements of the Gothic horror novel and decadent French fiction, the book centers on a striking premise: As Dorian Gray sinks into a life of crime and gross sensuality, his body retains perfect youth and vigor while his recently painted portrait grows day by day into a hideous record of evil, which he must keep hidden from the world. For over a century, this mesmerizing tale of horror and suspense has enjoyed wide popularity. It ranks as one of Wilde’s most important creations and among the classic achievements of its kind.”

– Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dover Publications; New edition (October 13, 1993), back cover.

This is a tricky one.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a classic, so I write this honest review with a bit of trepidation.

I have to admit that I started reading this book because I felt duty bound. I went into this abstaining from researching the outcome of the novel, but I probably already knew where it would end subconsciously.

The first three and a half chapters moved slowly for me―particularly, chapter one. This book rates lower for me because of this. As the story progresses it does become more intriguing; however, it lulls shortly after.

Another one of my qualms was the burning question I had of what Dorian Gray had blackmailed Alan Campbell with. It seemed like an important part of the story that could have been mentioned briefly.

After I completed the book I immediately sat through the 2009 film, Dorian Gray.

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Whatever I thought was lacking in the novel and was hoping to find in the film―I, unfortunately, did not find. At least it was enjoyable to watch Ben Barnes. I digress…

Overall, I did think that this book presented many philosophies that get the reader thinking about the foundations of his or her own moral compound and it’s no wonder that the novel was considered controversial when it first printed in 1890. The effect the novel had in making me reflect was what I enjoyed most about the novel. Would I read The Picture of Dorian Gray again? Probably not; however, I do think there is philosophical appeal and something to gain from reading this novel at least once.

What did you enjoy about reading The Picture of Dorian Gray?

Book Review: The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1)

Title: The Name of the Wind (The KingKiller Chronicle #1)

By: Patrick Rothfuss

Genre: Fantasy

“MY NAME IS KVOTHE

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
So begins the tale of Kvothe—from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe as a notorious magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician, and an infamous assassin. But The Name of the Wind is so much more—for the story it tells reveals the truth behind Kvothe’s legend.”

– Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind, DAW; Reprint edition (April 7, 2009), back cover.

What usually happens when I catch word of how fantastic a movie is before I’ve seen it is I forget to temper the euphoric reviews with a balanced attitude, and I set myself up for an evening of disappointment. Ninety percent of the time.

The percentage diminishes further for books. Down to Ninety-nine percent.

The Name of the Wind falls in the rare one percent.

Compelling Mysteries

Early in the first few chapters we learn how the name of Kvothe is widespread as a legend and we soon learn that the innkeeper, Kote, is that legend. How Kote ended up an innkeeper from the legendary tale is a mystery that kept me turning the pages. Kvothe’s apprentice, Bast, is also a mystery.

Setting of the World

Though Kvothe hasn’t travelled through all of The Four Corners of civilization in the first book, the readers are exposed to many of the kingdom’s culture through Kvothe meeting people or hearing stories from different regions.

I read the first installment of the Kingkiller Chronicle in early 2016 and, in all honesty, have yet to read another book that has gripped me in the same way since. After reading this book, I inadvertently find myself chasing that same ‘high’ which I’ve yet to achieve. It’s come close. Close, but not quite.

With a word count of more than 250,000 words, it is a hefty read but completely worth it. By the end of the book I wanted more and I couldn’t get my hands on The Wise Man’s Fear fast enough.

The one thing to keep in mind is that the pacing is slower than many books. I was fine with the slower pacing as it allowed me to understand Kvothe’s struggle and appreciate his successes.

For me, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece.

The First Step

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Laozi

“千里之行 始於足下” – 老子

Hello there and welcome to my space on the blogosphere! I have wanted to create a blog for years and, for the sake of fiction, I’ve finally put my foot down, kicked aside excuses, and posted my first blog post. Here, you will find reviews on books and my musings as a fiction writer and avid reader.

I’m excited to begin this journey with you!