Review: The Magician King

The Magician King
The Magician King by Lev Grossman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It took me a really long time to read this book, because it killed me to go through it. I fell head over heels for Lev Grossman when I stumbled upon a tattered copy of The Magicians at a flea market. There is something about the way he writes that gets to me. He’s not particularly sophisticated or anything. Just kind of….ugh…real. This book? This book made me feel like I know the man too well. Like he’s a lover that I have become accustomed to. A lover who I see exceptionally well. Am I the only one who reads this way? It can be a little scary, truth be told. Not because I mind understanding others through their writing, so much as I am terrified that someone might come to understand me through my own. It’s so weird. It’s sort of like the person is told through the story, instead of the story through the person. I loved Codex and I loved The Magicians. But this book? I can’t quite put into words how I feel about this book. In fact I can’t even put it in to stars. Because sometimes it was five stars and sometimes it was one star. Why? Sometimes the misogyny showed so hard that I wanted to smack it away. Sometimes it was like Mr Grossman was mocking the story instead of telling it. And sometimes? Well sometimes, especially when he was telling Julia’s side of the story, there was this soft, beautiful understanding laced with so much incredible love that it was impossible not to be infected by all of it. Not only did I come to understand (and relate to!) Julia completely, but I also could not help but come to love her as she was handled and told with such affection that it was contagious. Maybe that is crazy. Maybe I “read” too much into things. But there is a very special presence in this book which I can’t deny. And that special presence made all the other foibles forgivable. Because that’s how we love, isn’t it? Completely. All inclusively. Warts and all.

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The Incurable Depression of Being a Reader

20150721_140720-01My son woke up this morning and the first thing he said to me was, “Mom, I want to be magic.”

The only thing I could say to him was, “Me too, baby.”

We then went on to discuss how wonderful it would be to own a TARDIS.

I could see he was in pain. This lack of magic. This lack of a blue box. It hurts him. He’s a happy child. But this lack of magic really hurts him.

And I thought…this poor kid. If he’s anything like me it’s really not going to get better. He’s not going to “grow out of it”. He will probably try to stifle it. He might tell himself that his longing for otherworlds is silly and childish. And for a while he might believe it. He’ll try drugs and alcohol and they’ll be fun for a while. And hobbies. Sex. Girls. Boys. But it probably won’t go away. That need for an adventure is a parasite. Burrowed deep. And it wants more than what planes and money can do.

I know it won’t properly go away because I’m 33 years old now and I still wish I was magic. I still look at flowers and imagine that a fiary might pop out. I still think, “one day I’m going to walk into a cupboard and end up on a mountain” and I still think one day I will be able to type out blog posts using only my thoughts and not my fingers who are feeling a little cold right now.

I’ve been reading Lev Grossman’s The Magicians now for well over a month.  The character of Julia is killing me which is making the experience kind of painful – which is why it is taking me so long to read. But then….it’s kind of always painful, isn’t it? It pains me that Hogwarts exists only in a netherrealm which is only accessible to my mind and not my body. It kills me that here is just here, which at the same times seems such a strange way to feel considering my capacity to be delighted by earthly things.

I sometimes wish I wasn’t a reader. I wish I wasn’t a creator. I wish that I could indulge in the quiet content that everyone else seems to manage so easily. I wish reading made me happy happy instead of devastated happy.

Some books take the sad away for a little while. Sometimes. When you find the right ones (which takes work). But only for a little while.

But then you get back to life and life is kind of lacking unicorns.




I’ve been a little off of my computer lately. For about a month or so I haven’t been able to pick the thing up. My camera is filling up with un-uploaded photographs. My inbox is just getting fuller and fuller. And yet: blegh. I am sitting here right now forcing myself to actually just check up on stuff but I can’t think of anything that needs doing. Not on here. All “the things” can surely wait for some other time. My inbox seems a little daunting. I am trying to care but I just can’t.

Do you ever get that way? All this life on computers just doesn’t feel like life. I suppose that’s kind of dumb when I consider that it’s not like I have switched off completely. I still troll Facebook and Twitter on my phone.

I’m just not writing stuff.

That’s the gist, isn’t it? The writing stuff. That stuff you’re supposed to do when you’re a writer.

I think it might be time for a little sojourn into Julia Cameron’s world again. This one has gotten a little dense.