I was really smitten with this audio production and the stories at the beginning -- Sedaris is definitely hugely talented and oh so so very clever. An...moreI was really smitten with this audio production and the stories at the beginning -- Sedaris is definitely hugely talented and oh so so very clever. And the excellent reader/actors (David Sedaris, Dylan Baker, Elaine Stritch and Sian Phillips!) definitely enhance the listening experience. However, half way through, I realized that Sedaris' life view is just too bleak and his humor too mean-spirited for me at this time of my life. I almost cringed at the thought of listening to the next grotesque and undoubtedly bleak tale... ... but I went on and finished the book -- and enjoyed The Grieving Owl (toward the very end of the book). Looking back, that might have been the only story that I could say that I truly enjoyed (about 95% of the tale... the ending wasn't pretty and I didn't much love it). I almost wish that I had not encountered some of the denizens in this story collection or witnessed that much ignorance, vanity, pride, and all kinds of unattractive human traits, even when the author's intention is to belittle and make fun of these traits. Now, I cannot unread or un-know these stories. Shucks!(less)
I waited for a while to read this one. Was somewhat apprehensive. When one becomes friendly and very fond of an author, one sometimes also becomes wor...moreI waited for a while to read this one. Was somewhat apprehensive. When one becomes friendly and very fond of an author, one sometimes also becomes worried. What if… What if the book isn’t as good as you’d hoped? As good as you believe that particular author could have made it? What it…
So, I didn’t read the galley. I did attend an overwhelmingly successful event at Book Court in Brooklyn with Adam entertaining a host of young readers and their parents. And then, finally, after I started seeing my students toting around this third volume and hearing that they really really enjoyed it (one of them read it more than twice in the week of its publication) I braced myself and delved into it!
What a treat! I couldn’t put the book down. Adam not only featured some of MY favorite Grimm tales, he even used one of my favorite STORY TIME staple (Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock!) And not only Adam continues with the intrusive and flippant (but often kind and comforting) storyteller/narrator, he brings this narrator INTO the story (or, rather, brings the protagonists OUT of the story and into current day Brooklyn.) I was worried when I knew that there is a metafiction element of the tale that it would have seemed trite or forced — but Adam did it in a natural and fluid way that really works. The story as a whole seems a bit darker than the first two, but it is to my liking. And as in so many stories for children (and adults) the power of storytelling is celebrated at the end!
Same as in the first two books, there are definitely some very sticky moral dilemmas that the two kids have to face and conquer. I am happy to report that the messages do not get in the way of the enjoyment of the tales. And I suspect that these important “lessons” are being absorbed and are strengthening child readers everywhere as I type!
Finally, the new “Kingdom of Children” that the narrator refers to in the end of this book is an apt metaphor for the realm of imagination, for stories and books, and especially for the Grimm trilogy, where children venture in to “run, to play… to tell their tales and face their fears and let whatever is inside out.”(less)
This is what outstanding, distinguished, and thoroughly enjoyable children’s books should be! And of course, I had the additional pleasure of listenin...moreThis is what outstanding, distinguished, and thoroughly enjoyable children’s books should be! And of course, I had the additional pleasure of listening to Appelt’s narrative voice brought to live by Lyle Lovett: folky, hilarious, tender, with just the right amount of controlled drama. This environmental tall tale set in the swamp land, featuring anthropomorphized critters, caricatured villains, down home, real but also realer than life characters, and mythical beings is perfect for a family and classroom read aloud! One of my favorite 2013 books for sure!(less)
The story of two "nations" occupying the same land where one is now being demanded to remove itself mirrors eerily contemporary conditions in our curr...moreThe story of two "nations" occupying the same land where one is now being demanded to remove itself mirrors eerily contemporary conditions in our current world. I'm delighted that almost all the important characters make their appearances here and their personalities consistent with the show. The artwork is definitely true to the show as well. Of course, the fight scenes are slightly less epic or thrilling presented in still frames and not movements, but fans of the show can probably fill in the sounds and sequences. I know I read it with the actors' voices in my head! Now, onto book 2. (less)
Altogether, these two volumes are more than 1,500 pages long and the audio book versions took about 61 hours to finish. I mostly enjoyed the listening...moreAltogether, these two volumes are more than 1,500 pages long and the audio book versions took about 61 hours to finish. I mostly enjoyed the listening experience: the first volume is definitely tighter and since everything is new and the world is un-encountered before, I had a little more patience in all the details that Rothfuss put into the tale: colors of people’s clothing, the types of foods, some basic societal rules, etc. And there are definitely a lot of thrilling moments and some good passages.
The Wise Man’s Fear, though, suffered from being too detailed at moments, too many similes thrown into the passages (that really could and should have been edited OUT of the tale,) and just too long. I am really annoyed by authors who decided to use a particular narrative “device” and could not keep to the simplest or fundamental rules of that device. Here, each volume is supposed to be tales told to the scribe within the duration of ONE SINGLE DAY (where people do go to sleep, where the current day contains events such as robbery, lunch, fighting, etc.) So, almost 1000 pages of words (no matter how FAST one might be able to speak or write down the words) simply don’t compute.
One learns in writing classes that in order to create convincing and lifelike characters, one must know all the background stories (what colors they like, who was their first crush, when was their first experiences of fear and when and why and how, etc.) of the major characters. But so much of these details should remain in the mind of the author. Once in a while, perhaps, something can be drawn out and fill in a missing piece of a character’s traits. But, the Wise Man’s Fear is full of such details breaking through the backstage door and cavorting on the main stage. It just didn’t work for me.
I also got quite bothered by Rothfuss’ insistence of describing every single emotion or experience with a comparison to something else. It is OK, Patrick R, to sometimes just say that you feel soothed by someone’s voice without having to compare the soothing feeling to a mother’s gentle touch to a child’s cheeks and the voice is just like a lover’s breathy whisper by your ears. Some figure of speech enhances a narrative, but overindulgence in such narrative tool becomes tedious eventually.
All that said, did I love a LOT of what went into the books? Absolutely. I loved the world building, the mystery, the tentative romantic relationships, the exploration of language, means of communication, and how world history can be shaped and reshaped. And I will definitely read (or listen to) the final installment when it is published next year. Still a series worth recommending.(less)