Ever since I stopped being forced to read textbooks for college, I realized that I actually liked reading for pleasure more than I thought. This blog will be my first attempt to take a more active approach to reading. Rather than just soaking in the words, I would like to mull them over in little ways.
This book is wonderful for anyone who has been following The Elder Scrolls lore since TES III: Morrowind. It is written in the popular fantasy/sci-fi fashion where a different character narrates each chapter; sometimes the point of view switching even multiple times in one chapter. To some, this may seem annoying, but it really works for this book. There is a lot of awesome and well-crafted sensual imagery, especially of various exotic tastes and scents, which is fairly uncommon in the books that I have read. However, the best part of the book is the exposition that it does for the fate of the province of Morrowind. As fans may recall, Vivec the god had intercepted Baar Dau, a moon of the world, from impacting Tamriel when it was cast down by Daedric forces. But during the events of TES III: Morrowind, the Nerevarine destroys the source of Vivec's power. I'll leave it up to you to imagine what the consequences of this are. I was really blown away by how skilfully the lore team for the Elder Scrolls is able to keep various subplots alive throughout the saga. I can't wait to read the next book and find out how this all ends.
Being an immigrant, this struck a particularly deep chord with me. In the middle of the book, there was even a chapter which made me cry. I feel terrible for this child, for the conditions that he is forced to be in, and for all others like him. I feel embarrassed about the very system that kept my own family locked out of certain rights and privileges for the sole reason that being from a different place makes you some how worse than "native" residents (when in reality, Native Americans are the worst-off minority by many measures). I've had this book for almost two years now, half-read, and today I read it all in a day. It reaches deep in your soul and squeezes your heart. I recommend this to anybody curious about what it's like to grow up as an immigrant.
Though the book is called The Big Bonanza, the author only gets around to talking about the particular area of silver and gold ore that the title refers to by these two chapters, close to the end of the book. But it was well worth the wait: his vivid descriptions of how the ore, rocks and crystals decorate the otherworldly walls of these deep, and often spooky nineteenth-century mines is awe-inspiring, and dazzling. He appeals to the logic and greed sensibilities of many of his readers by wowing them with numbers, describing the thickness of the silver-bearing ore veins, and how they are many times thicker than any other mine in the world, as well as how much cash per ton the ore is worth in these areas. But his descriptions of the colorful rocks glinting from the darkness at the viewer, the staggering mass of crystal that is almost pure silver protruding from all directions, and the shock with which miners and other interested parties involved gaped at these sights is a purely sensory tour-de-force that makes one wish to glimpse the scene at least in a dream.
Fairly well-written. The author isn't afraid of losing face in order to write a more accurate description of his experiences, but because of his writing style, this sometimes seems more unnecessary and awkward than insightful. He also spends a little too much time salivating over local cuisine and meandering through strange but irrelevant tangents. However, the insights that this book has on slowing down are invaluable. I would like to read this book again some day with a pad and pull out the important insights. It is definitely worth "suffering" through the slower (ha-ha) sections that lack the insight to find the golden conclusions. Finally, I very much appreciate that this author's tone is definitive. He is completely behind the movement he is writing about, and he isn't afraid to speak authoritatively on the subject, rather than leaving it up to the reader to decide as many authors do. I think in many cases it's important to argue your side convincingly and let the reader be wise enough to seek out a contrary opinion, rather than providing pros and cons and leaving the thesis pretty much up in the air. It makes books more memorable.