Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Today I am a writer. Today I write.

"In fact, he's given us an exercise related to this: to list my favorite five novels, rank them in order, and reread the opening paragraphs, and write a paragraph on each explaining why I chose them."
- Lynn Rosen: How to Avoid Writing Your First Novel

Oh. So many favorites... But let's choose these:

Terry Pratchett: The Fifth Elephant
Jonathan Stroud: Bartimaeus -trilogy
Katherine Neville: The Eight
Umberto Eco: Foucault's Pendulum
Isaac Asimov: The Gods Themselves

"rank them in order" - that's impossible. All of them have good and bad qualities and cannot be ranked.


I can't find my Asimov. None of them :-(

But The Gods Themselves is a fascinating story that starts with a petty argument and evolves into world's end... it's so fascinating to see how tiny little things like a thoughtless, hurtful comment can create ripples too big for anyone to handle... indeed, a butterfly's wing flapping creates a tsunami on the other side of the world.
Oh... it is just... so wonderful. *_*


Jonathan Stroud creates a group of rather unlikable people. Some of them get exactly what they deserve and that is so satisfying :-) Some of them don't get what they deserve, but nothing else either, which in itself is somewhat satisfying. Some of them he manages to turn into likable people and the end... I still cry floods when I think about it, and it was a couple of years ago when I read it. It is amazing how he manages to make me feel empathy towards creatures like djinns, who don't seem to have much feelings at all.

"Temperaturen i rummet föll snabbt. Det bildades frost på gardinerna och lamporna i taket täcktes av isskorpa. Glödtråden i varje lampa krympte samman och ljuset fördunklades. Vaxljusen som stack upp från varje tillgängliga plan yta likt en mängd sjukliga svampar slockande. Det allt mörkare rummet fyllden med ett gult, kvävande moln av svavel, i vilket otydliga svarta skuggr vred sig i vånda..."

Jonathan builds up the feeling... and then he sets the character of the book by "För sjutton, det var första gången för grabben och jag ville skrämma honom."
It takes all three books to create the relationships between all the people in the books to create the emotional response he does in the third book.


Terry Pratchett: 5th Elephant

"They say the world is flat and supported on the back of four elephants who themselves stand on the back of a giant turtle.
They say that the elephants, being such huge beasts, have bones of rock and iron, and nerves of gold for better conductivity over long distances.
They say that the fifth elephant came screaming and trumpeting through the atmosphere of the young world all those years ago and landed hard enough to split continents and raise mountains. No one actually saw it land, which raised the interesting philosophical question: when millions of tons of angry elephant come spinning through the sky, and there is no one to hear it, does it - philosophically speaking - make a noise?
And if there was no one to see it hit, did it actually hit?
In other words, wasn't it just a story for children, to explain away some interesting natural occurrences?
As for the dwarfs, whose legend it is, and who mine a lot deeper than other people, they say that there is a grain of truth in it."

I love it how Terry Pratchett whirls me around, takes me on a ride, turns everything upside down and shakes the wisdom out of it...

I think I love The 5th Elephant because of the emotional response I have to it. I have really learned to love Vimes.


"A flock of nuns crossed the road, their crisp wimples fluttering about their heads like the wings of large sea birds. As they floated through the large stone gates of the town, chickens and geese scurried out of their path, flapping and splashing through the mud puddles. The nuns moved through the darkening mist that enveloped the valley each morning and, in silent pairs, headed toward the sound of the deep bell that rang out from the hills above them.
They called that spring le Printemps Sanglant - the Bloody Spring."

"With alchemical skill, Katherine Neville blends modern romance, historical fiction and medieval myster - and comes up with gold" said People magazine.
Indeed. :-) The Eight is an exciting story, created around one of the best games ever created by humanity; chess. It is a pawn's journey into queenhood, and we are taken through it without even understanding that that is what is happening to us... Katherine Neville tells two stories side by side, finally emerging them into one. Very much similar to Kate Mosse's Labyrinth.


"Silloing näin heilurin.
Pallo liikkui pitkän köyden varassa, joka oli kiinnitetty kuoriholviin, suorittaen laajan heilahdusliikkeensä täsmällisesti ja majesteettisesti.
Tiesin - vaikka kuka tahansa olisi voinut tajuta sen tuon lumoavan tyynen liikkeen nähdessään - että heilahdusajan määräsi ripustuslangan pituuden neliöjuuren ja luvun pii välinen suhde, joka pii, syystä jota mikään järki auringon alla ei pysty tajuamaan, jumalallisen viisauden nojalla väistämättä määrää kaikkien mahdollisten ympyröiden halkaisijan - joten aika, joka kului pallon matkatessa ääripisteestä toiseen, oli seuraus salaisesta liitosta, joka vallitsee mittayksiköistä ajattomimpien, kiintopisteen ykseyden, tason abstraktin kaksinaisuuden, luvun pii kolmiluonteen, juuren salaisen neliyhteyden ja ympyrän täydelliseeden välillä."

Ah. Mathematics is the Queen of sciences. It rules every science, every one of them, from natural sciences to humaniora... Mathematics is perfect. Absolute perfection... It is the closest thing we can get God with our intellect. After that it is only emotion that carries us further...

Umberto Eco gives me an almost mystic experience. He also teaches me things. I love everyone who manages to teach me things, who shows me new views, who opens up my world... All these authors do that. Every one of these books sucks me in to the story and helps me live with the characters, I have a strong emotional reaction, and I emerge from the other side of the reading experience as if I just had a religious insight.
All these books are somewhat mystical, mythical and magical. Three words I love.


John (Dufresne) says "Today you're a writer, and from today on." I must make it so.

He also says: "Your own procrastination is your first obstacle. Your lack of confidence may be the second. The confidence comes with the writing. You are the only person who can stop you from writing your novel."

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