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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 9:05 pm 
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I got about halfway through and got busy and put it down . . . months ago. The story just did not compel me to continue. I admired the language, laughed at the footnotes, couldn't really care what happened to the characters.

I will probably still pick it up and finish it, but when my reading time is limited to five- to ten-minute chunks once or twice a day, it's very hard to become immersed in a leisurely but unfamiliar story, especially if I don't find it gripping.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 9:13 pm 
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I never read at breathtaking speed - I want to enjoy everything to the fullest the first time, because there's just one first time! :P

That's why I don't read books I don't enjoy. Takes too much time. :D

But if skipping (or at least skimming - reading quickly/skimming is the same as skipping to me :P ) doesn't prevent you from getting the plot, I might try skipping/skimming the footnotes - thanks, Mahima! :)

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but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 9:51 pm 
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The footnotes got a bit annoying for me. Can't quite remember if they played any role in the narrative. Perhaps they served up some background for the Raven King? Or maybe not.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 9:54 pm 
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I skipped most of the footnotes after a bit and didn't feel like I missed anything. I remember thinking how many of the ones I did read ended up being totally irrelevant. Though, for that matter, a lot of the main text ended up being pretty irrelevant too...

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 10:23 pm 
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well.. yes, irrelevant to maybe what finally happened, or didn't happen. but i builds the narrative so... you feel you are there...

oh, where is mots? I need someone to drool with!

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 12:50 am 
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Right here, Mahima. Drool away!

It was very nice to come back online after an interesting weekend and find new posts in this thread.

I loved the footnotes. They are irrelevant (unless you feel the need to dissect everything and look for minutiae and such), so you can skip them without losing anything that's important to the plot. The information they provide is nifty, but far from essential. For me, the footnotes were part of what made the world feel so real. Those bits of background from legends, rumours, and other 'books' gave it real depth, like she was actually pulling things from history.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:36 am 
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yes, mots, yes... exactly. :D :D
They gave them such a real feel.. especially all those references to Segundus's biography of Strange and Stranges' book! Its like Strange was there even before he arrived.

I loved the characters of Lord Liverpool and the Duke of Wellington. They seemed so real.

the only one I did not like was Lascelles... i think the last actions of his were, well, a little too dramatic for me.

mots, do read my blog (link below). Tell me what you think of the review. Am actually quite dissatisfied by what I wrote. :P

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:45 am 
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Quote:
I loved the footnotes. They are irrelevant (unless you feel the need to dissect everything and look for minutiae and such), so you can skip them without losing anything that's important to the plot. The information they provide is nifty, but far from essential. For me, the footnotes were part of what made the world feel so real. Those bits of background from legends, rumours, and other 'books' gave it real depth, like she was actually pulling things from history.


Yes, I realised that this was the intention, and that's why at first I thought they were a fun idea - but they soon got longer than the actual text. If there had been only a few and short ones, it would have been better, I think.
(Now, I know that in real scholarly works that is exactly what footnotes are like - German scholarship is infamous for that - but after two or three of them the joke just got old, I found.)

But it's good to know you don't need them all for the plot. Next time I take it up, I might just get to read three or four continuous pages of actual story, without six or seven pages of notes in between. :D

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but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 2:48 am 
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I wonder if you actually need any for the plot? As far as I remember - No. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 4:01 am 
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The footnotes drove me bats. I thought they were an affectation the book could have done without.

The information in them should have been omitted, or included in the main text, unless there was only the odd one. IMHO.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 6:26 pm 
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Seems to me that finding a book you love is as idiosyncratic as finding the one you love. :)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 4:29 am 
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Mahima, I agree with everything you said and love the quotes that you chose. (The Duke of Wellington is one of my favourites, too. He's such a good character.) You don't have any reason to be dissatisfied with what you wrote, though I can see why you would think that. It's a very hard book to adequately sum up. :)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:43 pm 
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Thanks mots. :)

Yup, I kept thinking that I have missed stuff out, and not really captured the book, so to speak.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 5:49 pm 
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I missed a whole discussion about Jonathan Strange? :shock:

I loved the footnotes, and I think they are integral to the work. If you don't like the footnotes, you're not going to like the whole thing, methinks.

Mahima, I'm happy to see that I am not the only one who read it, and then turned around and read it again. There is only one other book that I have done that with.

And I liked your review. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:58 pm 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
Mahima, I'm happy to see that I am not the only one who read it, and then turned around and read it again. There is only one other book that I have done that with.

And I liked your review. :)


Oooh.... where have you been? :hug:

I, actually, do it with a lot of books - books I really like. I've re-read Hitchiker's guide umpteen times, and "To Kill a Mocking Bird" and LOTR, and a bunch of others. I often prefer picking up a book I know I love if I can't find anything else really interesting.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 10:46 pm 
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Yes, I do that too. :) But Jonathan Strange was the first in a long while that I turned around and started reading again almost as soon as I finished it. And I've already read it a third time. There is so much detail in there that it is impossible to get it all in one or two reading. I look forward to reading it again.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 6:24 am 
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I missed JS&MN posts!

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Mahima, I'm happy to see that I am not the only one who read it, and then turned around and read it again. There is only one other book that I have done that with.


I would have done the same thing. It was very tempting, but then I got back into doing shows, and there went free time.

What new thoughts or observations have you got from the third reading?

I caught so much more on the second read. I missed the mystery, but it there really interesting connections that I had missed before. I couldn't tell you what, though, because someone has my stickied copy.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 6:37 am 
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It's actually been quite some time already since that third read even, Mossy, so I can't really say. Except that the richness of the story was even more evident. No, that's not quite right. It's not "the story" as in the "plot" or the "characters" or any of those traditional literary components. Its just that the whole thing is so rich. It's not like reading a book. It's like being inside of it.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:09 am 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
It's not like reading a book. It's like being inside of it.


That is such a perfect summation of everything that I love about that book. :)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:25 pm 
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I had to return mine to the library before I could finish my second read. :cry: sigh... after India, I find books very expensive in the US, haven't started buying fiction yet. Compare this to the way I would HOARD books when back home, its really quite sad. :P

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