Posted by: E (The Third Glance) | May 24, 2013

My Favorite Book…

A couple of days ago, I posted on my facebook page that I had sent an email to my favorite author, and he had written back. I want to expand a little upon this, because it’s just so very cool. Up until about 2 years ago, I was a voracious reader. But I hadn’t actually had a favorite book in a long, long time. Certainly there were authors I admired, books I read for comfort, but really, I couldn’t answer the question “what’s your favorite book?” And then I stumbled across The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, and my world changed. I had a favorite book that I think will stick with me for a very VERY long time. I recently saw a fantastic compilation called “13 Fantasy Books that are good despite their covers” – Rothfuss’s book is #12, and the review says

“The (hands down) best high-fantasy series written in the last 20 years. If you haven’t read it yet and you like fantasy, immediately start reading it now.”

That basically sums up my opinion pretty well. It is phenomenal. I like it significantly better than Tolkien, and I’ve read nearly everything he’s written. (I know, blasphemy, but hear me out.) Rothfuss is an extremely thoughtful writer, who has an incredible skill for weaving a story and building worlds, people, languages, and cultures. And as if that weren’t enough for a great story, his prose is some of the most elegant I have ever encountered. Despite being long (when has this ever been an issue?) it is incredibly readable, and I never noticed the length when reading, except that I was so sucked in that I looked up at 3am, 6 hours past my bedtime… Technically, the book is the first in a trilogy (called The Kingkiller Chronicles), of which the first two are published (Book 2 is called The Wise Man’s Fear). Book 3 is in the works, and while I am incredibly excited to read it, I think the longer it takes the better it will be. And besides, I can read and re-read books 1 and 2 again and again. The joy of these books is that each time I read them, I notice something new and amazing. There’s a moment in the second book where I realize that when the main character is in a particular world, he and everyone else speaks in verse. You wouldn’t notice it if you’re reading quickly – it’s written as prose. But slow down and savor the words, and you’ll notice a rhyming and a cadence. That’s just one of the many amazing parts of the book. I could gush for hours about how incredible it is, but I might give some parts away. So go read it for yourselves.

I also follow Pat’s blog (and you can too), because not only is he an incredible writer, he’s just an all-around awesome person. In addition to doing awesome things like writing short stories and collaborating on all number of interesting projects, Pat goes out of his way to help young writers. And he also runs a charity called Worldbuilders, which benefits Heifer International in an incredible way that brings people together in a way I’ve never seen before. But in general, Pat presents as a really cool, nice guy. And so, after months of agonizing, writing, and re-writing, I finally screwed up my courage and hit “send” on an email that I’d written to Pat, which I’ll be posting an edited version of (you’ll hopefully see why I’m waiting soon).

And not only did he read it, he took the time to write me back and thank me for my note and even commented on the content. And I haven’t stopped grinning since. (There’s also been a fair bit of flapping, bouncing, and general excited stimming) So I just wanted to say thank you, Pat, for being amazing, and for taking your precious time to read and respond to your readers hundreds of emails. And for being just as awesome as you seem.

And, dear readers, if you haven’t read his books yet, you 100% should. They are worth every minute and then some.

p.s. What has this to do with Autism? Just you wait, you’ll see… It definitely does. But it also contains a bit of a spoiler alert… so you have been forewarned. Plus, now you have to read the books before I post the letter!😉


Responses

  1. I enjoyed these books too (though they’re not my personal favorites) — it’s really cool that you got a response back! Wondering if the autism-related thing has maybe to do with Tempi.🙂

    • You’re good😛

      • Heh. I’ve only read that book once, but at the time I definitely felt like there some things about the way he communicates (and the way Kvothe narrates about him) that were very relevant. Actually, I even asked an NT friend about a passage where Kvothe is basically describing how frustrating and uncomfortable it was for him to try to talk to Tempi while he was refusing to make eye contact. Since the description sounded — to me as an avoider of eye contact — completely exaggerated and unreasonable.🙂

  2. Thank you for the warm recommendation of this book and author & intriguing review. I used to be a great fan of reading and writing about fantasy worlds as a kid but have not read much of any fiction as an adult and not much fiction in English at all, although it is very much on my wish list of things I want to do. I just don’t know where to start, and I quickly loose patience with most fiction books I pick up if I don’t have a particular reason to read it. It makes it easier to take the initiative and boosts my patience to know in advance that the book is good, and which type of qualities to expect inside it so I will give this one a go and look forward to read it.

    • Woo! Yes, I definitely know that feeling of not knowing where to start. I read this on a recommendation from my sister.

      • Thanks:-) I have actually ordered it online (I buy the books that I read… It is cheaper in the long run than the library fines, and I like to make notes & drawings in the margins, it makes it easier to process the story or information).

  3. I’m intrigued– I don’t recall any autism-related stuff in the books, although there’s one character that I suppose could be seen that way…

    I’ve had the lucky experience of meeting Pat in person a few times. He’s a nifty guy.

    • There’s not an autistic character – it’s about communication in general. You’ll see.😛

      • Can you explain that? I have read the book now – though only this first book of the series – and I can’t see it. Aurie appears to be an autistic-like character, but you are saying that there is no autistic character, that it is about communication in general. What do you mean?

        I’m curious about it because I decided to read the book after reading this glowing review. I thought it would be a good entry path to read more fiction (I want to read more fiction to develop my English beyond merely communication information. I used to read a lot of fiction as a kid in my native language Danish, and it did help me develop a great flair for writing in Danish. I want to do that in English now). That you said it has something to do with autism made me extra curious… like a subtle extra layer. But I can’t see it.

        It is my first go at fantasy literature for many years. I found the book captivating and cosy to read (it is nice enough to stay with one story & set of characters for 720 pages), but not really great, so I guess my taste is different. I do love the book’s ambient descriptions: such as the passages describing landscapes, weather (especially the movement and sound of the wind – brilliant), ambient moments and places captured in sounds, smells and visual details… the draccus, Tarbean, and the absurd architecture of the University and especially the Underthing. I love all that; Pat really have a gift for weaving up ambience. I might read the rest of the series just to get more of that.

        What I’m not fond of is the dialogue, the romance stuff, the persons (I can’t imagine them, apart from their hair and the colours of their eyes:-), and the story itself – I found those aspects to be long winded and boring. It is probably relevant in that regard that I am not generally fond of dialogue and romance in books, that may be why. I tend to like ambience and action aspects and get bored about the people stuff. There is a lot of dialogue in The Name of the Wind, and the story is anchored in very sociable settings like inns, the University and Kvothe’s circle of buddies, and largely told through dialogue and stories-in-stories (only exception is the part that takes place in Tarbean, which I found much more relatable than the other settings… albeit bleak). This is also why I don’t understand your remark that the book relates to autism in regard to communication in general. I am finding the book too sociable and dialogue-orientated for my taste, so I would to hear what you mean.

      • Sorry you didn’t love it! I agree, the romance stuff isn’t what captivates me, either. But I related a lot with Kvothe (growing up a precocious youngster and the university bits). The autism and communication part actually shows up a lot more in book 2 – there’s a very specific character and language/world that happens that is very neat, far more than book 1. Sorry for the confusion. And don’t worry, I’m quite happy to have a discussion – of course everyone’s taste in books is totally different.🙂

      • I hope it is clear that I’m not trying to dispute or invalidate your praise of the book in any way, it is great that people have different tastes in books and I am glad I read it although I’m not “hooked”/a fan. I’m just curious as to what you meant because that question made me read the book (along with other motivation), and now after I finished the book the question is still standing there, unanswered:-) so I’m inclined to want to know what you meant to get closure & move on.

      • (The above comments are for E, if there is any doubt about it)

      • Thank you for explaining:-) (You don’t need to apologise that I didn’t love the book – that is not your fault:-)

        Yes our tastes are very different, because I didn’t relate well with Kvote apart perhaps from a bit with his Tarbean history, and definitely not with his time in University. I have been in university but I was not young, both universities were quite modern style (the old fashioned architecture and conservative academic culture in the book sounds amusingly absurd, but that’s not how my universities were, and the school environment didn’t have anything like the matey vibe of the book’s – at least now where I was) It seemed much more like a large transactional place where stream lined young people rushed through.

        Actually the university in the book makes me imagine an extreme version of Sydney University… not sure why:-)

      • I’ve spent most of my life being the youngest and often brightest person in the room. So I definitely related to Kvothe that way. Also, I loved the university with all its archaic structure and existence… it is so different from the modern education system, but in a way, it is exactly how I imagine academics *should* be – a bunch of people who are there to learn for the sake of generating and preserving knowledge. And you never have to leave if you don’t want to…🙂

      • Thank you, it makes sense now (why you relate so well with Kvothe). I am not gifted, and I found Kvothe arrogant. Because I found it unlikely that he was so damn talented at everything he did, I found him unbelievable as a character, so I kept seeing him as an expression of author superhero fantasies.

        I can also see how you’d like the university theme, looking at your own interest & history as expressed here on this blog (although I don’t know your area of study, academia is clearly a good place for you to be in and a land of opportunity + safety in the same time). I didn’t think of that before.

        The university setting gives me different associations. I love to learn/read and do it all the time just out of interest, but actually being in a university or other large scale institutional setting is not for me. In my experience, it is overall a highly stressful and confusing setting which I’m not well suited for.

        I had no problems with the academic aspects my real life university experiences as I tend to grasp & apply concepts/models/ paradigms with relative ease, but found the practical side very draining & stressful. Especially the breaks (noise inferno, constant crowd movement, strangers relentlessly rushing by and dissolving and reforming groups), moving between classrooms (~get lost), large groups and people politics, the inscrutiny of obscure academic hierarchies et.c). What did tend to work well for me was the lectures (if they were interesting), well structured class discussions, and small team projects, provided it is a good team (Somehow I imagine those aspects are different for you too). but in everyday life, the good aspect tended to be overshadowed by all the stress factors mentioned before… so although I was never on the verge of giving up because I knew how long time it would last, and although I did have good experiences, I remember my university time overall as a stressful time I wouldn’t want to get back to or stay any longer. I also don’t feel any emotional bond with the universities and schools I’ve attended, like many people seem to do. For me they’re just places that a lot of strangers are rushing through, and where I luckily don’t have to be anymore.

        So that’s my personal “lens” of life experience which I’m reading the book through… and I just want to leave the university environment behind asap, but the books stay in it forever (and I’ve got the impression from reading some reviews that it continues like that in the second book of the series)

        I do like the book’s university’s archaic, absurd architecture… that’s a fascinating setting that gives infinite potential for adventures and fascinating ambient “pockets”/independent little realities (like Auri’s). I also do like that students never need to leave:-) That gives a sense of longitude and continuity to the place.

        Thank you for this little discussion. It is actually much more interesting than it would have been if we had the same perspective and preferences.

  4. I picked this book up in the store, but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I confess my “to read” pile is frightening high. Thanks for the recommend. I’ll move it to the top. 🙂

  5. Now, I’m intrigued . . . Better than Tolkien. I’ve been wrapped up in explores and studying photography that I’ve been neglectful of all else. This may prove to be a worthwhile distraction . . . Or get me through my sleepless nights ; )

  6. I enjoy fantasy — I am adding this book to my wish list as we speak.🙂 Thanks for the recommendation!


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