RIFTing and Reading

Summer is doing wonders on my life lately. Yes, it’s been hectic. Yes, it’s thinning the contents of my wallet. But it’s still wonderful. I’ve been out drinking with my co-workers, barbecuing with my friend (an old drinking partner during my teenage years) and his family, and I’m also dating this nice girl.

But, the best of all, despite being busy doing these non-nerdy activities, I’m still able to keep up with my gaming and reading. It’s in moderation though. But you can’t have it all.

I’m only spending 2-4 hours of playing RIFT, as opposed to 8-10 before Summer (and the girl) came along. But those are 2-4 quality hours. I’ll start doing the PvP, World Event and, if I have the materials, Crafting daily quests immediately after loging in. As soon as I’m done with all the quests, I’ll ask in guild chat if anyone is doing dungeons or raid rifts, and then join them. If nobody are doing those, then I’ll queue for Warfronts. By the time I’m done, I’ve earned at least 6 Plaques of Achievements, a couple of Inscribed Stones, or 10,000 Prestige Points.

In the afternoons, around 2:30 PM, sunlight pierces through my tinted window and turns my room into a scalding steam bath. That’s when I stop using my desktop, go down the laundry area in the basement –where it’s nice and cool– and read for maybe 2-3 hours. I’ll only stop to make and eat dinner, watch the news for a bit, and then resume my reading until midnight.

I’ve been doing these things quite systematically and with such discipline. Especially in my reading that I’d even read while I’m in my druken stupor (it gave me migraines the next day). So, now, two weeks into my Summer Reading activity and I’m already 13% into my third book, A Feast for Crows (though I might get stuck in here for a while, since I’ve forgotten most of Song of Ice and Fire’s lore).

So far, my Summer’s going pretty well awesome. My character is progressing well in RIFT, I’ve finished 2 books already (and one was a thousand page thick), I’ve been hanging out with friends, and I’m also dating this nice girl. I hope this continues well.

Kvothe > Harry Potter

Kvothe with his lute strapped to his back

I gave up reading fantasy a few years ago. Not because I disliked the genre, but because writers have over saturated the stories with dragons, orcs and wizards that they have become too common and less magical. In short, I found fantasy to be not so fantastical anymore.

But after watching A Game of Thrones and playing RIFT, my love for the genre has been rekindled. So, I started reading some books again and found The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss to be a story, not just a fantasy story, of exemplary caliber.

The center piece in The Name of the Wind, which is about an orphan who went to the University to study magic and other wondrous things, reminds me of Harry Potter. But the similarities between the two books ends there. Because Kvothe is alive, a well-developed character. His journey, ordeals and triumphs makes him much more believable than Potter.

Unlike Potter, who has gold and a celebrity status that was left to him by his important parents, Kvothe has nothing. He was born as an Edema Ruh, a group of traveling entertainers, who was viewed by many as thieves or animals. When his parents died, he begged and stole so he could eat. When he studied in the University, he has to work his butt off in order to pay his tuition.

His opponent isn’t some dark wizard either. Not yet, anyways. Instead, he is faced with challenges that many of us would consider mundane. He constantly worry about his tuition or where will he get the money to pay for his food, shelter, clothing and school supplies. And every time he solves one of his problems, he loses on the other. But he is clever, talented and resilient. He has grit.

I never thought I’d fall in love with another fantasy book. But The Name of the Wind and Kvothe (and also Fela), the book’s protagonist, easily stole my heart. I really suggest this book to Potter fans. While it isn’t like Harry Potter (it’s better), I think its author, Rothfuss, is trying to one-up Rowling’s Potter with Kvothe.

Anyways, here is my favorite quote from the book:

“Music is a proud, temperamental mistress. Give her the time and attention she deserves, and she is yours. Slight her and there will come a day when you call and she will not answer.”

This is true, coming from a guitarist who has neglected his guitar for almost 10 years.

Staycation and My Summer Reading List

Due to a series of unfortunate events, which involved a Chicago pot hole and a bad neighborhood, I’m now a couple hundred bucks poorer. So, in order to let my savings recuperate, I’ve decided not to go anywhere this summer, skipping my plans to attend San Diego Comic-Con or PAX Prime. Instead, I’ll just go on a staycation. Lollapalooza, since it’s held right where I’m at, is still an option. But with the recent random mob attacks in the city, I’m not sure if I want to go anymore.

What I’m sure of, however, is that I’ll read a lot of books this summer. Earlier this year, I told myself that I’ll read at least 30 books this 2011. Not a lot. But, budget and time wise, that’s all I can afford. Even so, we are already half way in 2011 and I’ve only managed to read two. So, to catch up, I’m gonna use my staycation days and read at least 14 books this Summer (June 20 to September 20).

Here are some of the books that I want to read:

The Back Logs

1. The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
2. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
3. Everything Matters by Ron Currie Jr.
4. Great House: A Novel by Nicole Krauss
5. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

The C-Note: $100 worth of books

I know that I’m not suppose to splurge. But, this time, I’m going to turn my cheek away from frugality and spend $100 on books this Summer. $100 is actually nothing compared to the cost I’ll spend on a trip to San Diego or Seattle and attend geeky conventions.

6. Robocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson ($13)
7. Machine Man by Max Barry($10)
8. Embassytown by China Mieville ($13)
9. Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin ($9)
10. A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin ($15)
11. Supergods by Grant Morrison ($14)
12. Pariah by Bob Fingerman ($10)
13. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin ($8)
14. Feed by Mira Grant ($8)

That’s my list, and it really looks different since I have a lot of fantasy on it. Normally, the books that I read are sci-fi, non-fiction (science and history) and some contemporary literature. I stopped reading fantasy long ago. But, I guess, playing RIFT and watching A Game of Thrones lured me back into reading the genre.

Anyways, I’m really excited to get this thing going. Hopefully, I’d be able to finish these books before Fall rolls in.