Monday, 10 October 2016

Musing Mondays - What I'm reading & was I ever not a reader?

Musing Mondays - October 10, 2016

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

I’m currently reading…

The Fionavar Tapestry (omnibus edition) by Guy Gavriel Kay

Specifically at the moment, the first book in the trilogy: The Summer Tree. I know last week I said I was going to start reading Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination and indeed, I have started it, but I decided after spending a solid week reading nothing but non-fiction about science I needed a fiction break - and Fionavar has been calling to me for awhile now so I decided I'd alternate between the two. So for every chapter of Disney that I read I'll read a chapter of Fionavar, unfortunately before bed last night I read 3 chapters of the Summer Tree so now I need to read 4 chapters in one go of Disney. So why this book right now? Well I originally read this trilogy back in Fall of 2008 (according to my university transcript) for my Tolkien & Fantasy class and it's stuck with me ever since, never with specific details like Harry Potter or Narnia but more with a sense of fondness and kinship, but over the last year I've felt drawn to the book as it sits on the shelf.

Thankfully the book is by a Canadian author from my home province, and even though the book is predominately set in the fantasy world of Fionavar it doesn't start off there, it starts off in Toronto ON. So I decided that's good enough for it to count towards the "read a book set in your home state province" requirement for the PopSugar 2016 reading challenge and therefore I had a perfect excuse to reread it. And then last week I went to see The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe live on stage at the Stratford Festival which put me into the mood for some secondary-world fantasy. Perfect time really since as mentioned above I needed a fiction break.

Since I'm reading The Summer Tree specifically at the moment, here's the summary of that particular book in the trilogy from Goodreads:

It all began with a lecture that introduced five university students to a man who would change their lives, a wizard who could take them from Earth to the heart of the first of all worlds—Fionavar. And take them Loren Silvercloak did, for his need—the need of Fionavar and all the worlds—was great indeed.

And in a marvelous land of men and dwarves, of wizards and gods—and of the Unraveller and his minions of Darkness—Kimberly, Dave, Jennifer, Kevin, and Paul discovered who they were truly meant to be. For the five were a long-awaited part of the pattern known as the Fionavar Tapestry, and only if they accepted their destiny would the armies of the Light stand any chance of surviving when the Unraveller unleashed his wrath upon the world.

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler

So as I said up there, I have started this, I am lagging behind in comparison to my fiction selection though so I have to play catch up with it today. I'm currently only a few pages into the introduction but I've already learned a few things that I didn't already know about Walt Disney so that seems like a very promising start to me! You may remember that in my Musing Monday post from last week I went over why I wanted to read this book and shared the summary of it from Goodreads. I'm excited that I realised that the last 200+ pages of the book are actually citations and references and what not so instead of being the 800+ pages I originally thought it was it's a more manageable 600. For someone who mainly reads fiction, and does enjoy 800+ page fiction from time to time, non-fiction usually seems daunting to me and the idea of a non-fiction book that's the same length as a George R.R. Martin novel especially so, but I am determined to read my way through it because I love Disney and I want to read this, no matter how long it ends up taking me. What have I learned in the fewer than 5 pages I've read so far? That Disney himself helped lend credence to the rumour that he was cryogenically frozen when studio execs were called in after his death to watch a Howard Stark ala Iron Man 2-esque video of Disney addressing each of them on the future of the company and then telling them he'd see them soon. It seems Howard Stark-esque to me because I can just imagine him having filmed it in front of a model of Walt Disney World like Howard did with the model of the Stark Expo.

          THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Can you recall a time when you weren’t an avid reader?

The only point in my life where I feel like my reading level dropped below avid was, ironically enough, the 5 years I spent earning my English degree. I don't know if this is a problem that other avid readers or English majors have had, but I really dislike being told I "have" to read something - that was actually one of the things that kept me from reading Harry Potter for so long. I've been an avid reader ever since I learned to read, and even before that I was almost rabid in my desire to be read too, which is probably why I was able to read on my own for over a year before I start kindergarten. The exception being when I'm assigned a specific thing to read, for the most part having a book that I am required to read generally has the effect of making me not want to read that book, or at least not enjoy it while I'm reading it which makes it take forever to get through. There have been a few notable and interesting exceptions to that generalization, the main 3 that come to mind are:

  1.  The Fionavar Tapestry - as mentioned above, this was an assigned reading for a class but I fell quickly in love with it and easily breezed my way through it, in contrast to all of the required Tolkien which I had to read for that class. I still haven't ever slogged my way through any of his stuff, to this day the only book of his I have read in its entirety is The Hobbit and that's only because I had that read to me in grade 4.I also didn't manage to read all of the R.Scott Bakker book, The Darkness that comes Before, we were assigned in that class, but this one I may try again one day because I still have the whole trilogy sitting on my shelves.
  2.  Outlander - I have pointed out many times on this blog that I love this book, which shocked and surprised me at the time because it was an assigned reading for a class and from a genre that at the time I was dead set against. Also like the book above, it ended up being the only book in that class that I actually was above to get through cover to cover and the only one I enjoyed.
  3. The Robber Bride - This one was an assigned reading all the way back in high school, I suspect a lot of people don't enjoy the readings they were assigned in high school. I wasn't expecting to like this book. As a Canadian there are a lot of conflicting opinions about the works of Margaret Atwood and this book was going to be my first exposure to her. Most Canadian high schoolers get assigned The Handmaid's Tale during one of their English classes but my grade 10 teacher decided to switch it up and assign us this book instead and I'm really glad she did because I've reread it a couple of times since then.

Now that I've hijacked my answer about not liking books I've been assigned with a few that I have like, let me continue. It was a weird time for me, I was paying to take classes on English literature and then finding myself not liking a lot of the readings I was assigned, and then feeling guilty when I would read for pleasure because they weren't the things I was "supposed" to be reading. It wasn't until my 4th year of undergrad that I finally stopped berating myself to taking time from my "supposed" to reads to read books I wanted to read for myself and ever since making that decision I've been back in avid reader territory.


  1. Being told to read something, always a bit of a downer - yet it saved my sanity when after an accident I couldn't make my mind read again and I joined a book group thinking, if I had to read a book, as if it was homework, it might help break the block - I did - it did:)

    1. I'm glad to hear it helped you out!

      I tried a book club once and it just didn't work for me, I think if I could find a book club that read based on themes instead of a specific book I'd be better off haha

  2. Ahh, I feel you when it comes to being told or assigned to read something and hating it with a passion you never knew existed inside of you. That is currently me as I go through the first part of my Introduction to English Literature course and I hate it. Sigh, anyway. Great answer! Oh, also, I see that Outlander has some magic powers over people, I'll have to give it a try some time!

    L. @ Leeve Reads

    1. It totally does and you totally should! The first 3 chapters are meh, mostly because Frank is boring haha, I never reread the first 3 chapters when I reread it.

  3. I hated being told to read a book, but the worst was being told I could only read so much of it before we discussed it. If I enjoy a book, then I want to continue reading it, not dissect the first couple of chapters before I can continue :)