The nature of my job at times requires minute amounts of brain power and I found that the best way to make it through was with audio books. Many, many audio books. Thank goodness our library has an extensive amount to choose from or I don’t know how I would have survived on some days. One of these days I’ll write about how amazing libraries are in general for so many reasons. But back to the audio books. Generally, I like to listen to books that I have already read. Why? Because then when my mind inevitable gets distracted, by a coworkers coming in or more interesting work that requires my full attention, I won’t be as miffed about missing parts of the book when I forget to pause it. Plus, there’s just something different about reading a new book versus listening to it and I prefer to discover new stories directly on paper. That being said, there are only so many audio books I can find of books that I have read. More recently I began to foray into audio books that were less familiar to me and I must say I have been enjoying it. Browsing the library online in their Available Now section, I lighted upon The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I remember my mom recommending it to me aaages ago and I definitely read it but at the time it must not have made too much of an impression because I only had faint memories of it. So, after browsing around and not finding much else available, I went for it. Oh boy, was it the right choice.
For the first time in a long time, I spent a solid day just reading and it was awesome. Thus, I managed to finish up The Magicians series. Now that I’m thinking about it, this is probably one of the first series I’ve finished for a long time. This is partly due to the fact that it is actually a finished series (I always seem to find amazing series that have no foreseeable end publication date) and I’d already committed to it by buying the books rather than loaning them from the library. It was a good series to start off 2017; fantasy with a refreshingly modern twist. The writing of all three books is casual unlike many other fantasy books trying to follow in Tolkein’s footsteps. Be warned, cuss words abound in the dialogue, giving it a distinction from potentially similar YA novels and also making the entire story seem more real and believable. The characters themselves are relatable despite being certifiable geniuses compared to us non-magical mortals. Despite their way above average intelligence, they all still seem to have the same problems that normal 20 somethings have, graduating school, learning to love or not, and just generally finding where they fit, in this world or the neighboring one. Overall, Grossman did a great job in creating and then developing a myriad of characters, each unique and each with their own journey. In this final book he once again adds more narratives so we don’t just see the world through Quentin Coldwater’s eyes. We even get a view from a completely new, next generation characters who shows us an outside perspective of how the original characters have changed and grown.
The Magician King by Lev Grossman
The Monday after Thanksgiving in 2015 I found myself alone in an unfamiliar state and a day of travel looming ahead without a single book in my possession. Flying out to Michigan, I had resorted to reading books on the library’s phone app and decided, while convenient, it was definitely not my preferred way to read. Perhaps someday I’ll invest in a Kindle or Nook but at the time, I was desperate. So, without any other ideas, I headed to Barnes and Noble, a place I feel at home regardless of what city I am in. Next thing I knew, I was trying to justify buying three new books and a fancy journal. After some internal debating and a quick look in my wallet, I narrowed it down to two books in the beginning of The Magicians series by Lev Grossman. I managed to finish the first, The Magicians, on my travels and started the second, The Magician King right away. And then the rest of the holidays hit, Netflix summoned, and it was a lost cause for the rest of 2016. Hence, when I decided to tackle a reading challenge in the New Year, The Magician King was quite a natural choice as my first novel to read.