Science Fiction and Wheel of Time Review

I put up another series of lists!

This time they are all about my love of science fiction books. The first list I added is courtesy of Librarything, which is a wonderful site where I keep track of books, and talk to other community readers about their love of books. One of the groups I am a part of on Librarything is a science fiction group. They have compiled a wonderful list of science fiction books which members of the group agreed were some of their favorites. That list can be found here. I also added NPR’s great science fiction list. This list has been shortened by NPR to a list of winners, but I hate leaving out nominees just because people didn’t vote for them.

Also, I thought I would give a review of the science fiction series I am reading right now: The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan.

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When I picked up the first book in the series, entitled The Eye of the World, it was more from desperation than anything else. I was without a car, without a computer, and the only book I had to read was completely about my unending, terrible thesis. I have to admit, I looked at the cover of the book and chuckled to myself. It’s a man in full warrior garb riding a white horse in front of a full moon. Come on.

However, if anyone could capture an audience with just a few pages, it would be Robert Jordan. His prose is both full and flawless. You go through a thousand words without even thinking about anything, even turning the pages. Although the world Jordan creates is simple (the maps are very linear), the actual descriptions of each environment are complex and rich with colors, sounds, and smells.

The characters in the Wheel of Time series started a bit archetypal. The main character, a boy named Rand, is in the throes of his teenage years, is attached to his rural home, is shy and afraid and only mediocre with a sword. As he makes his journeys, he grows into a more confident leader, as any main character should, and does anything to protect the girl. A Warder (or warrior), strong, stoic, quiet, and the bad guy: power to rule the Earth.

However, to me, some of the peripheral characters are much more interesting and inspiring. Mat and Perrin, friends of Rand, are complete opposites, one encompassing mischief and sweet naiveté, the other logical and slowly working through an alien universe. The powerful Aes Sedai, Moraine, who has magical powers which are used for evil in ancient lore, but which are constantly used to save our main characters. And, my personal favorite, the strong and stubborn Wisdom (woman tribe healer, you could say), named Nynaeve, who wants to look after her village members, but has never experienced much herself.

All in all, the first in the series (not the prequel which was written later) is successful. I have a good time reading it, I can’t completely guess what is going to happen next, and, as I reach the end, I know I will pick up the second in the series.

If anyone has any books they would like me to read and review, or if I’ve already read something and you want an opinion, let me know! I love talking about books, and since it isn’t part of my job, I do it for fun 🙂 Have a good day readers.

 

UPDATE: After reading ten books in this series, I realize that this review does not even scratch the surface of how amazingly complex these books are. The first couple of books in the series are an innocent account of young people venturing forth into a complicated world. As they become more accustomed to their lives outside of their small village, they realize they all have a destiny much greater than their old lives. Most of them have integral parts to play in the ending of the world, especially Rand, who is fated to die at the hands of the Dark One. (This is not a spoiler- they say it all throughout the books).

There are multiple cultures, with people who have diverse styles, ways of speaking, and customs. There are interwoven threads of dozens of stories, and there is no omnipresent narrator, meaning that the characters are on their own, struggling to find their way through numerous problems. Although I have read some reviews that complain about the romantic relationships in the series, I think they aren’t taking into account the anthropological perspective (of course I say this.). Every culture has a different concept of love and a “normal” relationship with a life partner, and I think this series encompasses the difficulty of living life no matter where you are from. Around the sixth book there are so many plots and subplots, that I think a lot of people stop reading at this point. I would encourage whoever is reading this series to stick it out. Things start to fall into place, and everyone’s place in the story starts to become clear. If you start getting confused about the characters, I would recommend look at the Wheel of Time wiki, which I now know exists.

The only thing that hasn’t changed: Nynaeve is still my favorite character!

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The Point System

Even though I’ve just moved, I’ve been kind of down in the dumps. I miss my boyfriend, I miss my dog, I’ve gained weight, and I haven’t really been accomplishing all the things I’ve imagined for myself. I thought the time leading up to this summer would have been productive: I was exercising and eating right (for the most part), I wasn’t drinking excessively (and that cigarette above is not really a cigarette, I swear), I was reading as fast and comprehensively as I could, and I was spending more time with my friends.

Unfortunately, the health setbacks have put me into the all-or-nothing mindset- I can either be healthy or I can be thin. Of course this isn’t true. It’s just a tendency of mine to think this way when I’m anxious. By the way, it was Nutrisystem that fucked me up. Sure I lost 10 lbs in a week and a half, but I paid the damn price. And now it’s all back, pretty much.

Anyway, in an effort to make myself more productive and feel better about my interaction with the world, I am creating my own point system. Productive things I do will give me a point (or more) and unproductive things will set me back. When I reach 50 points, I will reward myself. Books, probably. We all know I’ll go buy books. Bigger accomplishments earn me more points. And these accomplishments aren’t just material productivity. I am considering anything an accomplishment that puts me in a more peaceful state of mind- anything that helps me create balance or gives me more self-confidence. I am tired of obsessing over the flaws in my physical appearance. That shit is tiring! And…wait for it….unproductive.

Boo. Yah.

Taryn’s Productivity Point System

One Point For…
Every Hour of Creative Writing
Every Hour of Exercise
Every Hour of Visual Artwork (Including Photography)
Every Book Completed
Every Day of Only 1 Hour of Television
Every New Recipe Cooked

Five Points For…
Every Finished Short Story + 1 Revision
Every Finished Visual Art Piece
Big School Project Completed
Every Day without a Negative Thought
Every Thing I Build for the House
Cultivating a Garden
Every Month I Go Without Weighing Myself
Every Dinner Party Thrown (notice the key word here- dinner)

Ten Points For…
Every Story Sent in For Contest or Publication
Every Overall A in a Class
Every Craft I sell on Etsy
Every Month I exercise every single day

Lose One Point For…

Every Day I Judge Someone Negatively
Every Day I Judge Myself Negatively

And there you have it folks…my little, personal point system. I realize that doing things like this doesn’t help everyone become productive, that it doesn’t make everyone feel good, but, in a weird way, this type of organization gives me something to strive for. In every other area of my life, I am incredibly messy and unorganized- but I love to give a little order to chaos when I’m feeling down.

If any of my friends want to participate with me, that would also be awesome! Just let me know and I can even take pictures of the things we accomplish and put them on here.

Indiana Jones and Captain Jack Sparrow

I have been on hiatus for a month, and now I regret it. There are too many things to talk about, and it’s all spinning in my mind like a small, unfocused tornado. The most important news is that my dreams of becoming an archaeologist are on their way to becoming true! I was accepted into the MA program for Anthropology at East Carolina University. Which means, I am officially a pirate. Think Indiana Jones meets Captain Jack Sparrow (minus the facial hair and a few other key components) and you’ve got me!

That’s right, I’m a badass fighter.

Anyway, it’s great news because my dreams seemed to be shrinking on some distant horizon, and I didn’t see any way out of my current situation of aimlessness. But now I have nothing to do but be busy, busy, busy. I have to find a place to live in Chapel Hill in June (when our lease runs out) and then finding a place to live in Greenville, when I go to hit the books. Oh yeah, and they have to be places which will accept three animals. Easy.

As far as New Year’s Resolutions go- I am still not exercising and I am behind on my book list for this month. It’s all well and good though; I am not giving up on any of it. I want to be skinny, and I want to be skinny at graduate school, and I want to be skinny at graduate school while reading one of my 75 books.

I want Jud to look at me and say, “Damn, my woman’s hott.” Because I’m a feminist like that.

Just wrote this post so everyone would know I still plan on keeping this blog. I swear.

Fritz Paintings, Pride and Prej, and Other Things

We are almost into March, and, so far, I have only kept a couple of my resolutions. I’ve been reading a lot, sticking to a budget (more), cooking more, taking more pictures (as you will see in a second probably) and have actually started my triplicate paintings of the animals. The exercising and the writing have taken a back seat, which is not smart, considering those are the two things I want to accomplish the most. I keep telling myself that once we are financially secure it will be easier to a) stick to a schedule and b) have more energy but if anyone has some Adderall….now would be the time to hook a sister up. No, just kidding (insert hazy winky-face here).

As far as reading goes, I’m on my tenth book for the year (sixty-five more to go!). I’m reading Pride and Prejudice because someone swooned over the movie once and told me the book must be amazing. Seriously, I am not a fan of Austen. If you want some real women writers, look at Woolf or the Bronte sisters. Those bitches were cra-ha-zy! Therefore, their writing is infinitely better than Miss Austen. But since I’m in it, I have to finish. I’m OCD about that kind of thing. As I’ve said before, you can always follow my reading for the year here as well. The other books I’ve read this year are:
1. Tess of D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
2. Richard II by Shakespeare
3. Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott
4. Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic Among the Azande by E.E. Evans-Pritchard
5. America: The Book by Jon Stewart
6. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
7. Daisy Miller by Henry James
8. The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
9. Under the Black Flag by Erik Christian Haugaard

Check ’em out sometime. (Except Under the Black Flag…I found that slightly disappointing and somehow..don’t ask me how…sexist).

And, because you asked (and if you didn’t, what the hell) here are some pictures of things I’ve cooked!

Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches with Cornbread

Chicken Parm with Spaghetti

Cajun Sausage and Rice with Cornbread Sprinkled with Brown Sugar

And as final proof of my awesome resolution-keeping, here are the VERY beginning stages of my picture of Fritz:

I promise when it’s done I will show the finished versions…they are going to be awesome: I want to make them pop art and cartoon-like with neon colors and intricate backgrounds. Just wanted to prove I was doing something after work.

And, as if that weren’t enough pictures, here’s a parting one of Wybie taking a cute, little nap. Until next time! Oh, and don’t forget your submissions for SDSF!!!! I’ve only gotten a couple so far. Don’t be shy, submit!

My (Late) New Year’s Resolutions

cute robot - Image - TinyPic - Share the Experience!"

If there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I have a compulsion to make lists. I like lists of words, pictures, artworks, and especially books. So my second post on here is going to be of my list of (Late) New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve had them all for a long time, and some of them I am already better about than I used to be. As I keep blogging, I can also keep up with my progress for these.

1. Write every day. I would like to basically finish ten, fully developed short stories or manuscripts this year. But that isn’t a good goal for me as a writer. I will be productive if I can just write for an hour every day. This is the year I get published!

2. Exercise every day. I used to run every day last year. But, since Judson and I have been having money problems, I started working really hard and also didn’t eat regularly. I was incredibly tired, and exercising just stopped being a priority. This year, I have a regular job, etc. so it becomes a priority again.

3. Read 75 books this year. I have a Librarything account that explains this goal. Check it out here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/130500.

4. Learn to Cook. I am not a bad cook, but, again, haven’t been eating regularly. Now that we can afford some ingredients, I am going to start through our collection of cookbooks and cook as much as possible.

5. Take More Pictures. I have an amazing camera, but never take pictures. This is a no-brainer. I want pictures of my friends, my family, of me, and of the world around me.

6. Say Only Positive Things About Myself and Others. No explanation needed.

7. Not Feel Guilty About Playing Video Games. I am a nerd. Truly. A nerd. And I love video games. Right now I am trying to beat the earlier Zelda on N-64 so that I can buy myself Skyrm when I get enough monies. Also, I love the Sims and would like to finish a legacy challenge. The list goes on: Portal, Indigo Prophecy, Modern Warfare (working on it now), Red Dead Redemption, etc. I usually don’t play unless it’s the weekend because I feel guilty. But why? I’ve decided I’ll just limit my time and be productive when I’m not playing video games instead of feeling guilty.

8. Create a piece of artwork every month. I like to draw and paint, but I need some practice. Judson isn’t very artistic, so sometimes it’s hard to find the time to sit down and practice. But I will this year.

9. Have adventures out on the town. Again, since we recently are able to start exploring more, I want to get to really know Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. I used to live in Carborro so I know that area pretty well. But I would love to explore Raleigh/Durham.

10. Stick to a budget. I am bad about what I call “living in the moment.” If I have money, I like to spend it on fun things or, more commonly, drinks for my friends. Sorry guys, I seriously cannot do that like I did before last year. Judson will help me with this one.


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While writing this list, I thought of a million other things I would like to do this year, but these are hard enough as it is. And everyone feel free to submit to me their own lists of New Years Resolutions or ask me questions on my asking page. Keep on the lookout for my next blog!