The Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss: A Review

For #18 on my 2018 Reading Challenge, a bestseller, I chose to read The Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss. This book was already on my Year of the Series list, and I’ve been anxious to read it for some time, ever since I finished reading The Name of the Wind last year.

This series – The Kingkiller Chronicles – is about Kvothe as he relates his life story to The Chronicler over a span of three days. The first book takes Kvothe from his early childhood years through his first year at the University when he is only fifteen.

Book two picks up where the first left off, continuing Kvothe’s adventures for about another year. It had been some time since I’d read the first book, but within the first few pages of the second, I was sucked right back into the story. The world Rothfuss has created is richly detailed and full of fascinating characters.

Still, for all that I loved this book, I felt as though the story got a little stuck in the middle. There is a sequence in the middle of the book that sort of drags on in sort of repetitive, circular fashion. If that’s what Rothfuss intended, then he did it well. But I found myself bored. Things happened during this time that were (or will be, I’m certain) important to events later on in the story, but I can’t help wonder if this part could have been shorter.

Overall, this is still a great book, and I do hope Rothfuss will finish the series soon!

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Thoughts on The Federalist Papers, by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay & James Madison

The Federalist is a collection of essays written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison under the pseudonym of Publius. The essays were written over the course of several months from October 1787 through August 1788, as an argument in support of the newly proposed Constitution of the United States. It’s an interesting piece of American history that joined my 2017 Reading Challenge as #3, a nonfiction book.

I think this is an important document that more Americans should read and study. It speaks of a time when the fate of this country was not at all assured. So many things could have gone differently that would have dramatically changed the course of American history, probably even world history.

From a political science perspective, it’s fascinating. These men were building a government. They were preparing to subject themselves and the American people for generations to come, to a system of law and oversight that was new and untried. Their goals were simple, if their task was not – to preserve for the American people the freedoms that had brought them here in the first place.

Thirteen years after the Declaration of Independence and the war with Great Britain, the fledgling nation of the United States was on the edge of a precipice. The thirteen separate colonies that had come together to fight for independence now struggled to work together. The government established under the Articles of Confederation wasn’t strong enough to hold the semi-sovereign states together.

Reading these papers now from a perspective of more than two hundred years removed from the events surrounding the proposed Constitution, it’s difficult to imagine what it must have been like creating a brand new system of government. Not only that, but to witness the failings of the original system and be faced with the necessity of starting over.

As I read through The Federalist Papers, I was struck by one thing in particular that I hadn’t considered before when studying the early history of my nation. The Articles of Confederation had only been in place for eight years when a convention was assembled to revamp the national government of the United States. The discussion that ensued in the earliest papers – mostly by Hamilton, though also by Jay – demonstrated just how precarious the situation had become. If something significant wasn’t done, and done quickly, the United States was about to crumble into smaller confederacies, possibly as many as thirteen separate sovereign entities.

What this dissolution would have meant for America is difficult to say so many years after the fact. I’m convinced, however, that the shape of North America would be far different today if things had continued as they were and the Constitution had not been adopted.

This wasn’t an easy read, and it certainly warrants further study. It isn’t something to pick up and breeze through just for fun. I read this book to learn something. And I think that I did. Now, I want to go back and read some of the arguments in opposition to the Constitution.

Wednesday Writing Prompt Challenge, December 27, 2017

Welcome to the Wednesday Writing Prompt Challenge! Join me in finding inspiration in unexpected places. Each week I post a new prompt intended to spark ideas for whatever writing project you’re working on—a journal entry, a poem, a short story. The possibilities are endless!

If you wish, consider sharing a link to your response in the comments below. Please be respectful with anything you post, and thanks for playing along! Happy writing!

How did you get your first job? If you’re not there now, why not?

Have fun. Be creative. And let’s write more words!

What are your writing goals for 2018? Write more? Finish that novel? Try poetry, or script writing? Whatever your goals, my hope is that you’ll find new inspiration along with me with this weekly writing exercise. Join me in 2018 as we Unlock the Muse!

Wednesday Writing Prompt Challenge, December 20, 2017

Welcome to the Wednesday Writing Prompt Challenge! Join me in finding inspiration in unexpected places. Each week I post a new prompt intended to spark ideas for whatever writing project you’re working on—a journal entry, a poem, a short story. The possibilities are endless!

If you wish, consider sharing a link to your response in the comments below. Please be respectful with anything you post, and thanks for playing along! Happy writing!

Take 10 photos from your camera – the last 10, or 10 chosen at random – print them, and paste them into a journal (or use an electronic alternative), and write clever or humorous captions about each photo.

Have fun. Be creative. And let’s write more words!

New year, new look, new name! This weekly writing challenge is getting an upgrade in January. Watch for more details next week!

Wednesday Writing Prompt Challenge, December 13, 2017

Welcome to the Wednesday Writing Prompt Challenge! Join me in finding inspiration in unexpected places. Each week I post a new prompt intended to spark ideas for whatever writing project you’re working on—a journal entry, a poem, a short story. The possibilities are endless!

If you wish, consider sharing a link to your response in the comments below. Please be respectful with anything you post, and thanks for playing along! Happy writing!

Create a list of your characters’ motivations. Write the name of the character, his/her immediate goal and ultimate motivation.

Have fun. Be creative. And let’s write more words!

Wednesday Writing Prompt Challenge is getting a new look! Watch for updates coming in January.

Rank the Rainbow – 2017 Reading Challenge: Year of the Series

About this time last year I began pulling together a list of books to read in the upcoming new year. I chose seventeen books off my shelves that I’d been eager to read for a long time, all of which were part of a series. I arranged them in order by color and declared 2017 the Year of the Series.

Most of the books I read were the first book of a new series, a couple of them a continuation of a series I’d already started, and in one case a book I’d read before. I rediscovered some favorite authors, and found some new ones along the way. I’ve had a lot of fun this year.

I read some really fantastic books, and though it proved difficult, I put them in order of how I would choose to continue reading the different series if given the opportunity. And so, the seventeen books from my 2017 Rainbow List:

1. Red Rising, by Pierce Brown – I would continue reading this in a heartbeat! Oh, wait! I already did. There was no way I could stop reading these books once I started. They are just that good.

2. The Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss – I don’t even need to finish reading this book to know it is right here at the top of my list. I was drawn right back into this world within the first ten pages!

3. The Aeronaut’s Windlass, by Jim Butcher – This was my first experience reading anything by Jim Butcher, and it won’t be my last. I loved this book, and I can hardly wait for the next book!

4. Shadowmarch, by Tad Williams – Tad Williams is one of my favorite authors, and this series has been on my shelves for way too long. I finally started reading it, and book two will be on my list as soon as I can fit it in.

5. Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson – This was a new series for me, and one I truly enjoyed. It could honestly be a toss up whether I read this one first or the next Tad Williams book (see #4).

6. Windwitch, by Susan Dennard – I am thoroughly enjoying this series, and am only waiting to read the next one because it isn’t released yet!

7. City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare – I did manage to read on to book two of this series before I resumed my previously arranged reading schedule. I’ve been eager to return to these books ever since.

8. Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas – I loved this book even more than I expected to. It combines all the elements of my favorites genres – fantasy, murder mystery and romance!

9. The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan – This book was so much fun. I will definitely read the rest of the series! Though I may have to wait for my son to finish with them first.

10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling – This was the one reread on my list for 2017. I’m really glad I picked it up again, as I couldn’t remember reading it. I loved this book, again, and can’t wait to continue.

11. The Maze Runner, by James Dashner – Though I may have been slightly disappointed in this book, I still want to read the rest of the series.

12. The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman – Another fun read that wasn’t at all what I was expecting. This was a truly fun read.

13. Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin – I loved this book. The story is intense, and well-written. Brutal, to be sure, but never boring! Nevertheless, the series isn’t complete yet, so it’s easier to not rush into the next book.

14. The Selection, by Kierra Cass – This was a fun, light read that I truly enjoyed. Though I might not have continued reading it right away if the reading prompt hadn’t been to read a trilogy.

15. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson – I had a difficult time getting into this book, but once I finally did, I couldn’t stop.

16. I Am Number Four, by Pittacus Lore – I had been eager to read this book for quite some time. It wasn’t at all what I expected, but I did enjoy it. I’ll read the rest of the series eventually, but I’m in no hurry.

17. Prince Caspian, by C. S. Lewis – The Chronicles of Narnia series are classic books that almost feel like compulsory reading. That’s sort of what reading these books has been like for me. I may have enjoyed them more if I wasn’t reading through them (very slowly!) with my children.

There, in a nutshell, is my Year of the Series. So many good books out there! If only there was more time for reading!