Over the last couple of months, I’ve rediscovered my love of reading. A love that had been cast aside and relegated to the bench, in favour or other forms of entertainment.

It’s probably been a good 4-5 years since I’ve picked up a book and read for pleasure. Well, that’s assuming the “true stories” section from Hustler doesn’t count. I picked up a copy of Neil Strauss’s The Game at the airport on my Sydney trip, and since then have rekindled a passion that I’ve long since forgotten.

I reacquainted myself with the late Robert Jordan’s work, hammering through the long awaited book 12 and 13 of the Wheel of Time. I have to say, Brandon Sanderson whom picked up the pen in his Jordan’s stead has done an absolutely exceptional job, with these 2 books being by the the best in the series since Book 6. And I can’t wait for the final book which will be out sometime next year.

And more recently, I’ve finally gotten around to giving George R.R. Martin’s epic saga A Song of Ice and Fire a go, after hearing so much about it. Hearing Paul sing it’s praises in Thailand, for the 100th time, finally persuaded me to give it a shot. And I have to say, he’s right.

I’ve just banged through the first 3 books and whilst not as easy to get into as some other fantasy novels, the plot and characterisation is absolutely superb. That being said, this is one of the most frustrating books I’ve ever read. In fact, it’s almost exhausting. The sheer amount of plot twists and turns will leave your head spinning. And the author truly breaks from the standard fiction mold in never ever giving the good guys a break. Normally, I relish the moments where the protagonists get well and truly shafted, because it’s hardly ever done. But in A Song of Ice and Fire, they just keep getting fucked, and fucked, and fucked. And just when you think they’re going to catch a break, they get fucked some more.

It’s a heart wrenching and absolutely riveting tale. The book takes some time to get into given the sheer detail and complexity of the characters and the world, but the payoff is absolutely worth it. It probably them most realistic, for lack of a better expression (maybe believable?), fantasy tale that I’ve ever read.

HBO is in the midst of filming book 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire, which is A Game of Thrones, as a mini-series. I believe it comes out in April, and I can’t wait. Let’s hope it does the book justice! HBO has a fine track record of quality productions such as Band of Brothers, The Pacific, and Generation Kill, for example. If they maintain their values for A Game of Thrones, it will be superb no doubt!