Daily Archives: 13. Januar 2015

Reading Together #9

While my Book-Week is currently in progress I present to you another instalment of Weltenwanderers and SchlunzenbüchersGemeinsam Lesen“ (Reading Together).

Each Tuesday one of them asks four questions, with the first three always being the same about the book one is currently reading and the fourth a new one by either of them. All questions below are obviously translated from today’s German post.

1. Which Book are you currently reading and which page are you on?

I’m still reading the book by my favourite author that I haven’t read yet for BiblioSmiles’s Summer Book Challenge: The Dark Tower: Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King. Which is the fifth part of the Dark Tower-saga.
I’m currently on page 384, which is just shortly behind the re-reading part.

2. What is the first sentence on your current page?

Der Weg vom Garten hinter dem Pfarrhaus bis zum Eingang der Kirche Unsere Liebe Frau die Heitere war kurz; er dauerte nich länger als fünf Minuten.

or in English:

The way from the garden behind the manse to the church Our Lady of Serenity was short; it didn’t take longer than five minutes.

3. What do you desperately need to tell about your current book? (Thoughts, Feelings, a Quote, whatever you want!)

As I said above am I just beyond the pages I read before, years ago. Some of it sounded familiar, some of it didn’t even ring a bell, but it is still interesting how many things of the previous books are retold or mentioned throughout the chapters.
By now I also believe that another reason why I didn’t finish this book back then was the way it is written. The sentence structure is sometimes quite complicated (see last weeks quote) and often times induced with side thoughts. Or the thoughts are added in a new sentence. Or they are not even thoughts, but random phrases.
What also is quite bothersome is the language of the Calla people. I don’t know what they are like in English, but some of them are quite annoying after a while in German. Just as annoying are the Anglicisms in the speech patterns like Baby, yeah or what not. I do believe a lot of meaning here is lost in translation – and that with my English knowledge back then I didn’t understand as much as I do today. Take for example the name of the church from the quote. In German it’s called Our Lovely Woman the Jovial how is that any kind of translation for Our Lady of Serenity? Even though Serenity can be translated to Heiterkeit/Jovial, does it seem that the translator did not put that much effort into this, but at least I now understand Rolands remark that it is a well chosen name…
I also just went through the scene that retold the story of Salem’s Lot, it’s interesting how King not just put himself into the New York part of his universe, but also at least one character from one of his other books.

4. How important is the cover for you? Does it influence your buys or is it completely irrelevant? Do you like the cover of your current book? Should it fit to the content?

It depends.
If I look for a certain book then it doesn’t matter.
If I’m just browsing through the book store my attention occasionally gets caught by a cover. If the blurb then fits what I like to read, it is highly likely that I will take the book with me. If not it’s just put back where I found it.
Apart from the fact that the cover of my book is sprinkled with silver dots, thanks to it moving around quite a bit, do I think it’s a good cover. The German title is translated to „Wolfmoon“ and with the moon on the cover it is also quite fitting.
I prefer if the cover works well with the title and/or the story, but I don’t mind if they just portray the characters of the story either (e.g. the Discworld books). Though the general trend to show (sometimes naked) people in all kind of weird positions is beyond me. I do prefer landscapes or symbolisms to actual people (though drawn ones are excluded from this).
When a cover shows something that doesn’t have anything to do with title or content then that leaves me quite confused. It doesn’t mean that they are bad, but it is sometimes quite weird.

Additional thoughts

You can obviously participate in these questions by either using my translated or the original German version.
© For the cover, the quote and the banner belong to their rightful owners.

Stephen Baxter: Doctor Who – The Wheel of Ice

Part two of this Book-Week is a book that our local library added when I asked them about it, back when I „hid“ my papers for the Back Wolf Day 2013. It’s one of many Doctor Who novels out there and the first I read so far.

What is it about?

3 of 5 stars

The TARDIS catches a signal that is not supposed to come from the rings of Saturn. Stubborn as she is, she leaves The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe no choice but to investigate.
Strange sightings of Blue Dolls and sabotages meanwhile busy the inhabitants of the make-shift houses within the Wheel of Ice.
Unwelcome at first the time travellers have to team up with the locals to end this predicament.

The reading experience

As I said before was reading this book quite uncomfortable.
To quote myself:

What bugs me most about reading this book is, however, its layout. It’s a Hardcover version and therefore quite large as it is. Still, the pages have a lot of space around what is written in a rather large font, thus creating rather short pages.
So you have this giant book, with little content to actually read on one page.
This feels especially weird when you’re sitting in the bus and to everyone else it looks like you’re reading a children’s book…

It also had a quite interesting chapter outline.
Between the main chapters there were Intermezzo that told stories that had only been mentioned in the main story line. I’m not sure if I encountered something like this before, but it was quite interesting.

The characters

With each more adventure I share with this TARDIS trio I like them more.
The Second Doctor is more of a father/mentor figure towards them and the other characters. He leads them to make the discoveries on their own and follows new leads with a childlike enthusiasm, but is still serious if need be.
Zoe’s tendency to arrogance showed quite a bit in this story, but it is the understandable kind, someone of great intelligence has towards people who just don’t get them. It is toned down a bit when she opens herself to care for her friends and the people of the ring.
In contrast to her is Jamie quite, well, dumb. His knowledge and wisdom is nowhere near hers or The Doctors. Yet, he proves time and again that his compassion is the key to getting the people on their side. And even a simple mind can come to the right conclusions. 😉
The other characters were less defined. We barely know anything about the council members and their reasons for participating – other than this-and-this organisation send me. The most we know and learn about are the the Laws with the siblings Phee and Sam being quite essential to the plot.
In a way they are portrayed as normal teenager, yet, different. The reasoning why the children do what they do is still understandable. At some points I thought the language of the children to be too colloquial, then again, I read the German version and the original could have been different.
The main antagonist Florian Hart was something entirely different. I liked the nod they made to the serial The Seeds of Death with claiming that the company that built the T-Mats used, belonged to her father and the Doctors interference resulted in her life choices. On the other hand have I never before encountered a woman named Florian, so this had me highly confused every time I read it. She was all in all not a very likeable character and a bit over the top, but to some extent still believable.
Also interesting was the way Baxter described the semi-sentient/robot-like beings MMAC, Arkive and the Blue Doll First and their thinkings and actions in the Intermezzo.

General Opinion

Like most Doctor Who stories didn’t this get into too much details either and many things about the background’s and going ons are left untold. As someone used to read about the different worlds in Fantasy novels, was this one of the down points. I understand the lack of information in the TV series, but in a book there is a bit more time to spent on background information (Like how they came up with the ranks and so forth).
Still, it was a nice adventure with what might become one of my favourite TARDIS teams.

Stuff I’d like to add

I’m not sure if I’ll manage to get my hands on another Doctor Who novel, but I wouldn’t mind reading another one.
© For the cover belongs to its rightful owner