What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.
While sorting through the various detritus in the study last night (we laughably refer to it as the study - it has more akin with Monica’s junk cupboard in “Friends”), I realised how many books have been sat on the shelf for the last few years unread.
Good books. Great books. “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein, “We” by Yevgeny Zamyatin, “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley, and perhaps the biggest challenge of them all - “War and Peace” by Tolstoy.
I used to read all the time. Something needs to change. The chief reason I’m not reading is because I’m surrounded by excellent distractions. The advent of social networks and instant messengers has been a kind of disaster in productivity terms. While the internet is often my escape, it is also my kryptonite.
Perhaps it’s time to “go dark” for a while - to refuel - to replenish.
I was thinking about the kinds of novels Tevinter would produce. I’m thinking they would be technically brilliant, fast paced or intricate plots, political intrigue and fantastic magic, with the downside of the very blatant slavery. Slaves are looked down on, poorly stereotyped, and are highly prevalent. Fenris doesn’t really mind the novels because he likes the writing style and the familiarity of the setting. He hates the slavery but that’s just the way things are there. Anders/Justice helps him see just how wrong it is, even in fiction, to treat it so trivially. Maybe Fenris has flashbacks when reading something especially demeaning and it starts to hit home. He still isn’t that impressed with the writing in other novels compared to the flourish of Tevinter novels, but he finds himself really interested in stories from other perspectives. He wants to write his own story someday, in the Tevinter style, but from the perspective of a slave. From his own perspective, looking retrospectively at the corruption now so clearly evident. It’s a difficult task, but he succeeds with the help of Varric and Anders/Hawke. The book then takes off, thanks to Varric for getting it exposure. His greatest success is the book making its way back to Tevinter, being read and orally recited by both literate and illiterate slaves. It makes the slaves restless and unruly, ripe for revolution.
Tranquility in immortality,
Flesh rots and worms consume,
But life within the decomposing blooms
A tree forever full of leaves
A soul, though no longer wandering earth
Incased within bark.
Roots reaching deeper than any coffin—
Could ever dream, here’s where I lie
Equanimity in obliteration.