The Sleeper and the Spindle and Alexander Hamilton, oh my.

My goal for January was to finish every book I got for Christmas.  The problem with this goal was that I got an 800-page (give or take) biography besides the other dozen or so.  So that isn’t going to happen, but it’s cool.  As long as I’m reading a little every day, I’m happy.

I did finish The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell.  The illustrations are gorgeous.  And despite what my friend said, I did like the story.  It was a fairy-tale with a twist, but it still wasn’t too deep or drawn out.  Honestly, the story probably could have been a lot longer and Gaiman could have gone into more detail about their journey, which would have added excitement and depth.  (I don’t often say a book should be longer, but this one should be.)  It wasn’t my favorite book ever, but it was a good little read that took less than an hour and was completely worth that time.

As far as Alexander Hamilton goes, I’m finding it really interesting.  First: I think every writer, but perhaps especially fantasy writers, should read some biographies and memoirs.  Obviously, its a very different writing style and you would never want to go that in-depth into a character, but a good biographer builds their subject from the ground up, assuming their readers have no prior knowledge.  This is an important aspect of fiction writing because you have to show someone who your character is and you want to make them as realistic as possible.  It’s also interesting from a world-building perspective.  In this one, there’s a quote from one of Hamilton’s contemporaries where he names a Roman god.  That little detail shows what the culture is like and what they have taken from their history.

Reading this book is reigniting my desire to talk to Lin-Manuel Miranda.  There are a lot of choices he made to turn this biography into a musical, and reading the book makes it much clearer about what is fact and what is fiction.  I wonder how he chose what to tweak and what to keep exactly the same.  I also wonder if he consulted other books on Hamilton or used only this text.

Hopefully I’ll be done with it by the next Book Club Thursday.  I also hope to read some of Hamilton’s own work.  Based on his quotes in the novel, I feel like I would be appropriately moved by them.

So here’s to the books that move you.  Happy Reading.

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