A Clash of Kings

A Clash of KingsIt’s been a few weeks now since I finished A Clash of Kings (whoops, forgot to blog about it!). It is 969 pages long and I read a couple chapters everyday, so it took me about a month to finish it. It’s the 2nd book in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, after A Game of Thrones.

A Game of Thrones focused primarily on the feud between the Starks and Lannisters, but in A Clash of Kings, the Starks, Lannisters, Renly Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon, and now also the Greyjoys are all fighting among themselves. Meanwhile, Jon Snow and a group of other men from the Night’s Watch travel beyond the Wall and encounter wildlings. And out east, Daenerys Targaryen and her group of devoted followers are trying to gain strength so Daenerys, too, can fight for the the throne in the Seven Kingdoms.

I really enjoyed A Clash of Kings, though I preferred A Game of Thrones (A Clash of Kings was kinda gloomy). Some parts of the story were a bit slow-moving and sometimes I lost track of some of the minor characters and their story lines. Nevertheless, I liked the plot twists and character development. It was nice to meet new characters and learn more about characters like Stannis Baratheon who had only been mentioned here and there in the previous book.

Season 2 of the HBO series Game of Thrones, which is about A Clash of Kings, premiered on April 1. Looks like I have to wait until it comes out on Blu-Ray next year to watch it, though. 🙁 Too bad HBO GO isn’t available unless you have cable.

Game of Thrones (HBO Series)

Game of ThronesSeason 1 of the HBO TV series, Game of Thrones, arrived on Friday and Nick and I watched it over the weekend. It was as awesome as I hoped it would be. Thankfully, the TV series stayed more or less true to the book and the differences were minor.

If you are worried about spoilers, don’t read below. 🙂

Continue reading Game of Thrones (HBO Series)

A Game of Thrones

A Game of ThronesToday, I finished reading A Game of Thrones, the first book in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. I first heard about A Game of Thrones last year, when my mom mentioned that a coworker of hers had really enjoyed it. Fantasy is my favorite reading genre, so I made a mental note to look into the book later. Over the next few weeks or so, though, it seemed as though I was hearing about A Game of Thrones everywhere (probably largely due to the HBO TV series, which premiered in April 2011). After hearing so much praise for the book (and the TV series), I decided I had to read it… so in January, I began to read the 807-page novel.

It wasn’t long before I was hooked. At first, I was overwhelmed by the number of characters. I started to sketch out a tree to keep track of all of the characters, their titles and nicknames, and their relationships with each other… and then I discovered the appendix, which already contained that information. Whoops! 😛 Each chapter is written from the point of view of one of the eight main characters and I really enjoyed how the story bounced back and forth between their perspectives.

Excited to watch the TV series, I checked Netflix this weekend and was disappointed to see that it wasn’t available. I tried Hulu, but it just directed me to HBO’s website. The episodes were available on HBO’s site, but only for certain HBO cable subscribers. Ugh. So I tried Amazon.com next, hoping that the episodes would be available in Amazon’s Instant Video store. Nope. Hmph. I gave up and figured I’d just get it on Blu-Ray and wait for it to come in the mail… but I couldn’t even do that! It’s not going to be released on DVD/Blu-Ray until March 6. NOOOO! And then, yesterday, The Oatmeal released a new comic, I tried to watch Game of Thrones and this is what happened, that expressed the very same frustration I had this weekend. At the end of the comic, he ended up torrenting the season because he couldn’t watch it through any legitimate methods.

With all of the technology available at our fingertips, I think it’s time for publishing companies to get on board and realize that people want to do the right thing, but making it a hassle for them to do so is just turning them to piracy. :/

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

The Evolution of Bruno LittlemoreMy mom lent me her copy of The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore a while ago and I finished it last week. The 600-page story is about a chimpanzee (Bruno) who learns to be human. Bruno was born and raised in a zoo, but he is taken to a research lab after scientists observe that he has human-like behavior. Bruno gradually learns to comprehend and speak English, wear clothes, and be in a romantic relationship with a human woman. To Bruno’s delight, people begin to believe he is human (albeit, a little funny-looking), especially after he loses his hair and gets a nose job. In spite of his “evolution,” however, Bruno is never able to overcome his primal outbursts.

The story is told as a narrative from the perspective of Bruno in the latter years of his life. He is intelligent, passionate, curious, and fascinated by human culture, but he is also sarcastic, opinionated, and rash… making him a tricky character to sympathize with.

Overall, I liked the book well enough, but what I really enjoyed was the writing and use of fun words like “defenestrate.” It was also interesting to read a chimpanzee’s reflections on topics like philosophy, art, morality, and religion. The author writes very detailed descriptions, which may make some people uncomfortable during the inter-species sexual encounters.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's NestLast week, I finished reading the final book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I enjoyed it, but I wish I had read it immediately after finishing The Girl Who Played with Fire (book #2), rather than months later. It picks up immediately after The Girl Who Played with Fire ends and heavily incorporates the events from The Girl Who Played with Fire into the book. I had already forgotten many things from The Girl Who Played with Fire, so I think I would have enjoyed the book more if I had read it sooner. As a minor complaint, I also thought the ending (after Lisbeth Salander’s trial was over) was a bit drawn-out and should have been condensed. Overall, I really liked the Millennium series… and the first book is still my favorite. 😛

A Nice, Relaxing Weekend for Reading

Hooray for long weekends! Nick and I had a nice weekend… running a few errands, visiting family, cooking a few yummy things, but mostly relaxing at home – just how we like it. 🙂

The Girl Who Played with FireI finished reading The Girl Who Played with Fire a little while back. It’s book #2 of the Stieg Larsson series. I wrote about the first book in the series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, back in February. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the final book in the series, is next on my list of books to read. Several people have told me that The Girl Who Played with Fire was their favorite book in the series, but I think I prefer The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I say “I think” because they’re both awfully good. 😛 I’m excited to see how the series wraps up in the next book… I just need to find the time to read the nearly 600-page hardcover. 😛

Shanghai GirlsJust yesterday, I finished Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. A couple years back, I read another of Lisa See’s novels, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (the movie comes out in July), so I was anxious to read this book. It’s about two sisters living in Shanghai in the 1930’s and trying to live modern lives. Their lives are suddenly changed when their father becomes bankrupt and tells his daughters that he has arranged marriages for them with two brothers from America. It was a great story that left off with a major cliffhanger. Thankfully, I found out that there will be a sequel, Dreams of Joy, that releases tomorrow. Hurrah!

More Time for Reading

One thing I have really enjoyed since I graduated in December is that I finally have time to read again… at least, read something other than Computer Science textbooks! :geek: So far, I have tackled Going Bovine and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I just started reading Don Quixote today, but I realized that the version I have is an abridged version, so I haven’t decided if I should continue reading or hold out for an unabridged version. I happily ordered four more books from Amazon over the weekend (including the next two books in the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series), so I am excited for them to come.

Going BovineMy mom sent me her copy of Going Bovine and insisted that I read it. It was bound to be a book I would like… a quirky novel about a teenage boy who gets Mad Cow Disease and goes out to save the world (as he was told to do by a pink-haired, punk angel) with his companion, a Mexican-American, video game-loving dwarf. Along their journey, they encounter a lawn gnome that is really the Norse god Balder. Silliness? Gnomes? Norse mythology? Awesome! 😀 It is evidently based heavily on Don Quixote, which is why I decided to start reading it. 😉

The Girl with the Dragon TattooThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was also recommended to me by my mother (can you tell she enjoys reading, too? :P). I didn’t know anything about the book (other than the fact that it takes place in Sweden, woot!), which made it a very interesting read; I never knew where the story was going to go. I had tried to start reading it earlier (during the school year), but I lacked the time and motivation to really get into it. This time, I was able to plow through the first few dozen pages (that had failed to captivate me before) and I really enjoyed the book. Just a warning, though: parts of it are gruesome! 😮