It was Sunday morning. Boyfriend was still on the road, driving back from a camping trip in California. I had almost an entire free day ahead of me. Any guesses what I decided to do?
Read, of course.
I’d been plodding along in George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones for what felt like forever. Because I had the book on my Nook, I usually “saved” reading it for when I was at the gym or otherwise not able to easily read print books. I hadn’t been to the gym in the couple weeks leading up to our move, and still hadn’t signed up for a new gym membership. Hence, A Game of Thrones sat, unread, for weeks.
Then Trisha (eclectic / eccentric) posted about her progress with the book and I thought to myself, “Self… you should get back to that book!”
And so I did.
I started around 11 a.m. on page 116 of 788. It took me until 11:30 that night (due to a long break for lunch with a friend and some chatting with Boyfriend when he arrived home), but I finished the book that day. It was an epic day of epic fantasy.
There were a lot of things I admired and enjoyed about the book, once I got into the writing and the sort of awkward, fantasy-ness feel of it faded to the background. Martin does a truly amazing job of building a complete fantasy world without it ever really feeling like he’s doing the boring world-building part of a fantasy book. In some instances, that makes characters easy to forget — I can’t tell you how many times I had to hop on Wikipedia and be reminded who the Greyjoys were — but, on the whole, it keeps the book moving (important when you’re dealing with that many pages).
I also loved the way he was able to subtly shift my feelings for characters as the story developed. I started out really disliking Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf brother of Queen Cersei. He was rude, crude, and just unpleasant. But somewhere along the line — I’m not even sure where — his sarcasm and wit started to grow on me. I think as the family dynamics of the Lannister’s started to be explored, he starts to be the most likable of the bunch. But, this could definitely change, as characters never really stay all good or all bad. Well, most of them anyway.
And while I don’t want to say anything to spoil the ending, I admired the way Martin was able to give this book a strong sense of closure while still setting up the conflict and intrigue for the second book. It was the kind of ending that left me curious about what was going to happen next, but not such a cliff-hanger that I had to pick up the second book immediately. I did buy the ebook before I went to bed so it would be there when I wanted it, but felt ok waiting just a bit first.
At this point, I’m debating when to read the second book, since I’ll definitely be continuing with the series. Part of me wants to make it my new gym read, but I also liked the experience of settling in with a book over an entire day. The Read-a-Thon is coming up soon, so maybe I’ll set it for another long day of reading.
Have you found certain books or types of books are better with sustained reading rather than reading in bits and pieces? What books of epic length have you sat down and read straight through?