New Book Tuesday: Go Set a Watchman and Armada


Today is high profile second books Tuesday, with Harper Lee’s long awaited ‘Go Set a Watchman‘ and Ernest Cline’s ‘Armada‘ set to debut. Lee’s ‘Watchman’ is obviously the more anticipated release since it has been fifty five years in the making and was initially met with some suspicious and controversy when its release was announced. ‘Armada’, Ernest Cline’s long delayed (not really that long when compared to Harper’s hiatus) follow up to his sci-fi bestseller ‘Ready Player One’, doesn’t quite have the same controversy and critical expectations surrounding its release, but sci-fi and genre fans have been anxiously awaiting its release nonetheless.

While neither ‘Watchman’ or ‘Armada’ are receiving glowing reviews out of the gate, I’m sure fans of both authors are still going to buy these new entries in mass, consume them ravenously and form their own opinions about them, which is the great things about books. It doesn’t matter what others say about them. If it works for you and connects on some level with your experiences, that’s all that matters. If you get around to checking out either this week, let me know what you think.

‘The Doors of Stone’ Update

89703_1243332362_large1This is almost a non-update on the release date for Patrick Rothfuss’ The Doors of Stone, but in the latest interview conducted with the author by Triangulation, Rothfuss discusses the pressure that deadlines place on writers and why it has kept him from penciling in a date. He especially highlights the pressure he felt when he started working on the second book and shifted from what he calls a story hobbyist to a professional writer. For this reason, Rothfuss says that he is hesitant to set a release date for The Doors of Stone and can only say that it is forthcoming and will be good. However, when asked if 2014 or 2015 was the more likely release year, 2014 seemed to win out in his mind (If you’re interested, discussion about the release takes place around the 12:00 and 68:00 minute marks in the interview).

While this sort of update certainly won’t satiate the rabid fans, if anything, it does remind them that he is hard at work on the story and doesn’t want to rush things and have the trilogy suffer as a result. So, all we can do for now is wait patiently and wish him the best of luck on the endeavor. He will certainly have his hands full this year with revisions on the third Kingkiller Chronicle book, his Worldbuilders charity and story development on the new game Torment: Tides of Numenera.

io9’s Ten Absolutes For ‘The Doors of Stone’

KvotheSketch4hairfaceeyesmWith no confirmed release date for Patrick Rothfuss’ The Doors of Stone, the final novel in the Kingkiller Chronicle series, we are left to speculate other things about the book, such as what it will actually be about. When you think about what Rothfuss has to jam into this book to even relatively tie up all the loose ends he has sprawled on the floor of his literary universe, it seems quite daunting. Here is a sampling of the ten things that Rob Bricken of sci-fi/fantasy super site io9 believes Rothfuss will need to check off in his final book to achieve a satisfying conclusion (spoilers ahead).

1) He’s got to kill a king.

The books are called The Kingkiller Chronicles after all, and now that Kvothe has told two-thirds of this story — although he’s only up to his late teens — he hasn’t met a single king yet, let alone killed one. The popular rumor on the internet is that Kvothe’s archnemesis at the University, the noble brat Ambrose, will end up being king, although as it stands Ambrose is so far the way down the line of succession Kvothe can fight him pretty significantly and not get himself beheaded (not that Ambrose wouldn’t like to).

2) He has to figure out the mystery of the Amyr and the Chandrian.

In a story about a story about stories, there are tons of tales that remain half-told, but the one that has to reach some sort of conclusion is what is going on with the Chandrian, the mysterious, seemingly cursed, possibly immortal group of seven who serve as the Chronicles’ main antagonists — as well as the Amyr, the order of church knights that had fought them until they also seem to have inexplicably disappeared. While most people regard the Chandrian as legends, Kvothe has first-hand knowledge of them — so it stands to reason the Amyr exist, too. But what happened, and where did they go?

Be sure to check out the rest of the list at io9.

In Defense of Literature


This is a nice quote in defense of literature from reddit user OnlyFoolin. Why do we read? Well, here’s one perspective.

The universe is huge. Time is impossibly vast. Trillions of creatures crawl and swim and fly through our planet. Billions of people live, billions came before us, and billions will come after. We cannot count, cannot even properly imagine, the number of perspectives and variety of experiences offered by existence.

We sip all of this richness through the very narrowest of straws: one lifetime, one consciousness, one perspective, one set of experiences. Of all the universe has, has had, and will have to offer, we can know only the tiniest fraction. We are alone and minuscule and our lives are over in a blink.

All of this strikes me as terribly sad, and if I believed Someone were in charge, I could muster an argument that our awareness of vastness makes our tininess unfair.

But here’s the thing. Literature lets us experience life through a second consciousness. For a time we share the perspective and experience of the author and his imagination. Our experience of the universe is broadened, multiplied.

Without literature, we are all limited to our own lives. With it, we can know something of what it is to be other people, to walk in their shoes, to see the world their way.

Literature needs no further defense than this, I would say. It is our species’s most advanced and successful technology for cheating dismal fate out of the abstract aloneness it would otherwise impose on us.

Along this same lines, here are some prominent authors speaking about the importance of libraries.

*(The above picture is my reading stack to start the year).