“I apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself.”
“I apologize for shooting you in the leg. I was myself entirely.” ― V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic
I talked about Six of Crows and A Darker Shade of Magic a little bit last week. I made two plans for November- do some writing for NaNo and read some fantasy. November always feels like a month to strive for creativity. While I haven’t been able to muster the
15,00…150,000? ... its really 50,000 words for adults, but feels like a butt tons more during National Novel Writing Month (a fantastic thing if you haven’t found out about it yet), I have been doing quiet well in the fantasy department. It’s mostly in part of the brilliant audio cast behind Six of Crows.
If I haven’t mentioned this before (though I think I have) fantasy is my weak link. I’d say I’m weaker on nonfiction, but I’m more likely to pick up a nonfiction book, flip through it, and at least feel like I understood something. And besides, I currently have Hannah Hart’s Buffering and My Drunk Kitchen, as well as Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody on my library TBR pile at home- meaning that I’m still more ahead on nonfiction than fantasy right now.
Fantasy is brilliant because, like fiction as a whole, we can easily get swept away and taken somewhere foreign. From Ketterdam to Red London, Hogwarts and back again; everywhere in between can be entirely fascinating. But it can also be entirely daunting. I will be the first one to admit that I haven’t finished George RR Martin’s epic series (what’s published anyway) of A Song of Fire and Ice (I have read the first two books in Martin’s series, even tried the third on audio, but it wasn’t enjoyable.), nor the full Lord of the Rings series. But I’ve seen both the TV show and the films and I enjoy both. Am I the largest fan? Heck no! I watch Game of Thrones on a weekly basis during the new seasons, but couldn’t tell you half of the names half of the time. And places? I’m bad on this with both GoT and LoTR. It’s just how my brain perceives fantasy I think. And it’s weird too because, if you ask me anything about Harry Potter I likely have the answer. Maybe that’s the difference between Magical Realism and High Fantasy. I’ve never been interested in what Sarah J Mass has going on, nor Victoria Aveyard, but I know both get checked out quiet well with my teens. And this is weird too because I played Dungeons & Dragons in college (which is cool again with today’s teens, as I am currently DMing with some of mine on Tuesdays) and loved it. I find the races and classes fascinating, and often still make jokes about my personal alignment (I’m a Hufflepuff, so I’ve got to be lawful good, right?).
I think that’s why I like Six of Crows, it very much reminds me of a D&D campaign. You won’t find trolls and winter wolves, but there is magic and there are thieves, rogues, mages, and knights of sorts. And again, I give a huge shout out to the audiobook because there are at least 7…
lemme check on that…yes, there are 7 brilliant people (Jay Snyder, Brandon Rubin, Fred Berman, Lauren Fortgang, Roger Clark, Elizabeth Evans, and Tristan Morris) that spin the story in the best way. I can visualize many more details than I could trying to read it. I tried reading this story when it first came out, as it was very popular (and still is), but the first chapter was very difficult and I spaced out a lot because we were just sort of thrown in with someone that I didn’t care about and nothing really made sense. And I know stories do that, I am fans of some of the others that do, but this felt a little intimidating- did I need to read her other series? What was I missing? But it wasn’t until the audio that I was able to focus in. All of these voice actors are so good (and I am very picky with audiobook narrators) that the story just pops and sticks with my brain. I look forward to my work commute.
Anyways, praise and side tangent aside, I was going to say 2 things: 1, that I want to try to use every November to give a fantasy novel a try. And 2, that I’m glad I gave these books a shot because I now can link them into one of my programs. In two weeks, the teens and I will be discussing the 5th edition of the Dungeons & Dragons Player Handbook and Six of Crows. A seemingly odd pair, but they really compliment each other well. The idea is that, for the teens who want to learn more about D&D so they can play a campaign, we will spend a few Book Socials talking about D&D. And for the teens who might not have interest but like fantasy, I can use D&D terms when talking about both. Since D&D is popular in my library right now, but not many teens know how to play or that we circulate the handbooks, this is a big win-win. And Six of Crows has a pretty diverse cast (my take: race and an LGBTQ+ character) which makes it perfect for the needs of my community. Now more than before.
I might not be wanting to write like I thought I did, but I’m diversifying myself in other ways. Fun fact- A Darker Shade of Magic is the first adult book my adult librarian coworker and I have read! Like, we’ve read/are reading the same book. That never happens! And I thought it was YA, which made her laugh but then she said she could see how I might think that. It’s neat, to me anyways.
I’m hoping to post more after the holidays, either a book review or a recap on some successful programming I have done recently. I want to share more about my Art Lab bath bomb class and the evolution of my Teen Tuesdays program. But I’m out of time and will hopefully be posting on a more regular basis. So, cheers and go eat some turkey!