Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It

This book was provided to me through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’m just going to say up front that I really enjoyed this book. I’m not a D&D player, but I found this look in to the history of the game, the way it evolved, and its players fascinating. I think the choice to have a D&D player write this was an excellent one. He was in the perfect position to give a fairly objective take on things. He could criticize without sounding harsh, though the book was mostly positive.

I may not be a player, but I am a lifelong nerd, and I have to say that this book made me want to seek out D&D and give it a try. I wouldn’t have to look too hard, I know people who play.

It was nice to read something so positive, and yet at the same time professional in tone, about a quintessentially nerdy pastime. The writing was of nice quality, and felt well researched. Mr Ewalt even provides references for most of his quoted game stats and information. I found that both amusing, and as a non-player, helpful in understanding the details of the book. It was equal parts send up of a beloved hobby by a talented author, and documentary on the evolution of a corner of nerd culture, and the combined result was thoroughly enjoyable.

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Silver Linings Playbook

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a more immediately endearing character than Pat Peoples. Within the space of a few pages, I was already attached to him, and that attachment only grew stronger as I continued reading.

 I don’t know if any of this actually constitutes spoilers or not, but I want to be able to freely express my thoughts without worrying about it. Possible spoilers after the cut.

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Gawky

This book was provided to me for review through NetGalley.

I am a big fan of memoirs. You could probably even call me a huge fan of them.

Unfortunately I’m not a huge fan of Gawky.

I wanted to be, I really did. As a memoir fan, and a person of above average height myself, I felt like loving this book was a given. I sympathized with a lot of Margot’s feelings on size, and being taller than everyone else. I’m not as tall as she is, but I’m tall enough. With all of those positive marks in Gawky’s favor, it seemed like nothing could go wrong.

A lot of my problem was the writing itself. There is nothing wrong with Ms. Leitman’s writing, at least not technically (although I did catch a rather annoying error towards the end of the book, it IS an uncorrected proof, so I’m willing to let it slide for now). It was the slightly disjointed way the writing was assembled that bothered me. Things that really didn’t need to be repeated more than once were said many, many times, such as her issues with her teeth. There wasn’t enough emphasis put on the coming of age part of the story, and indeed, once she found her feet, so to speak, the story came to an abrupt end. It all felt kind of rushed, and because of that, it made the story itself feel shallow and not very well drawn. I think that a tighter edit would have lessened a lot of those issues.

In another way it almost seemed like the author was making a really big deal out of things that ultimately weren’t a big deal at all. In the midst of all the problems and klutzy episodes (and really, I expected more of them), she still had a lot of decent high school experiences. She had friends, friends with benefits, and a few adventures of varying levels of romantic success. It seemed like many of the things that were negative about her life were things that almost all teenagers deal with. Being a teenager makes them feel like they’re personal, and only happening to you, as I well remember. But the distance and experience that comes with living a few more years should make you realize that it generally wasn’t. I don’t mean to sound like I’m trying to downplay, or dismiss, her experience. It just didn’t work well for me in the context of a published memoir.

One last, subjective complaint. I really expected a memoir by a comedian to be, well, funny. Or at least funnier. Gawky had its moments, but none of them were really laugh out loud funny.

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Cobweb Bride

This book was provided to me as an ARC e-book through NetGalley and LibraryThing.

I am only an occasional fantasy fan. It’s not that I dislike the genre, not at all. I just find so many books in this genre to require more mental work than I feel like putting into a book. My favorite fantasy books are ones that are so full of atmosphere and good world building that I don’t have to fill in too many blanks.

I found Cobweb Bride to mostly meet those requirements. The atmosphere was very strong, and while I feel that a little more backstory on the world the author built might have helped expand the horizons, and the reader’s understanding of the scale of things, it wasn’t enough to detract from the story.

I enjoyed the story, the interweaving of the separate plots, and the way some of them converged.

Spoilers after the cut

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Testing, 1, 2, 3

Welcome! As the title suggests, this is an attempt to detail my journeys through the printed page. I am fortunate enough to work at a book store, enabling me to feed my habit without breaking the bank. 

Through Goodreads I have committed myself to reading 100 books in 2013. I have been listing and reacting to them there, but I decided I wanted a more personal space to air my opinions in. I would also like a space to discuss my feelings about other things in the entertainment realm, television, movies, etc. Come along for the ride, and see what kind of mischief I can get into!

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