Welcome to Nightvale: The Novel

It shouldn’t surprise any of you that I read a lot.

Similarly, I’m guessing most of you won’t be hugely shocked to discover that I have strong opinions about books. When I like a book, I share it around with near-missionary zeal. And when I’m not fond of one…

… well, when I’m not fond of one. I mostly keep my mouth shut. Because life is too short. Plus it’s rude to shit on another author’s book in public. Plus I’d usually rather spend my time reading good books than bitching about bad ones.

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(There are, of course, rare exceptions to this rule.)

But simply said, reading books is one of my greatest joys. Followed closely by sharing good books and talking about good books.

Which is why I have a profile over on Goodreads, where I constantly talk about books I’ve read.

To call what I do over there “reviewing” books really isn’t accurate. The truth is, I’ve never really read reviews of any sort, so I wouldn’t have the first clue as to how to write one.

Instead, I mostly talk about how I feel about the books. Sometimes as a writer. Sometimes as a reader, or a parent, or as a straight-up irrational fan. Quite frequently as an untidy mash comprised of all of the above.

But over the years, I’ve discovered an odd problem.

If I read a book and like it, writing up a little blurb on goodreads is the easiest thing in the world for me. Takes me 10-15 minutes. Tops.

Mind you, I don’t always do that. A lot of times I don’t have 10-15 minutes to spare, or I’m away from a computer when I finish a book, and by the time I think of entering it on Goodreads, the details have faded from my memory.

But what I’ve discovered is that a lot of times, if I really *really* like a book. If it absolutely knocks me over. If it has a huge emotional impact, I won’t write a review at all.

Oh I’ll *intend* to write a review. I’ll want to write one. But trying to put into words how much I adore certain books ends up being prohibitively daunting. I can think of three books like this off the top of my head. For more than a year I’ve been meaning to review: Gone Girl, A Fault in Our Stars, and The Sculptor.

And a newer book. A book that just came out, but that I’ve been meaning to write a review about for months now. A book that delighted and amazed me in a way no other book has done for years.

This book:

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(This beautiful, stunning, delightful goddamn book.)

I’ve been a fan of Nightvale for a couple years now. And I’ll admit, I pulled favors so get an Advance Reading Copy. I was excited to read it. And I was terrified of what it might be like.

For those of you who don’t know, Welcome to Nightvale is a twice-monthly podcast. It’s like Tales from Lake Woebegone and The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath had a hot, drunken make-out session, then had a beautiful baby together. It’s a great show, unlike anything else I’ve ever run into.

But that’s just it. It’s a radio show. And there’s a HUGE difference between writing a series of 25 minute radio episodes, and writing a 150,000 word novel. Novels are immeasurably more complex in their narrative and character, plus you don’t get to use a lot of the tools that audio production gives you.

So yeah. I was worried they might not be able to pull it off. Not because they weren’t good writers. But because writing your first novel is a whole different game.

Did they pull it off? Here’s the short answer.

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(Click to embiggen if you’d like to read my blurb.)

While I review many books, I blurb very few. The reason for this is that when I’m reviewing a book, I can explain in detail why exactly I like a book. I can talk about what the upsides and downsides are. I can make comparisons to other books.

In short, when I’m writing about a book on goodreads, I have enough space to say things like, “If you don’t like the level of violence in Martin’s books, this will be too much for you.” Or “If your kids have read Harry Potter, they should be fine reading this, too.”

But a blurb is different. When I give a blurb, I’m effectively offering my imprimatur. No matter what the blurb actually says, me having my name on the cover for promotional purposes equates to me saying, “My name is Patrick Rothfuss, and I’m saying you should try this book.”

So yeah. That’s what I’m saying here. This book is amazing and you should read it.

In fact, I’m such a fan of the book, that I’m going to help out with Joseph and Jeffrey’s Book Tour. When they swing through Milwaukee on November 10th, I’m going to chat with them about writing and stuff. Deserts and Dogparks. It should be a good time.

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You can get more details about their book tour and buy tickets to the Milwaukee event over here. (Note that the ticket price includes a copy of the book, so it’s actually a bargain.)

If you’d like more details about why exactly I liked this book so much, you can check out the review I wrote on Goodreads.

Later folks,

pat

This entry was posted in appearances, recommendations. By Pat30 Responses

30 Comments

  1. Posted October 28, 2015 at 6:55 AM | Permalink

    I’m currently looking for new podcasts to listen to and two people have already recommended the nightvale podcast to me. I’m pleased to see that you’re mentioning it (well, the book) as well, so I’ll definitely check it out.

    • kmae1028
      Posted October 28, 2015 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

      Do it, do it, do it!!! That’s how I found Night Vale – ran out of other podcasts and poked around in the iTunes podcast section. If you like it, it will keep you busy for quite a while, there are over 80 episodes right now.

    • Posted October 28, 2015 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

      Start with the oldest. You may have to change your podcast settings. it’s a serial, so you want to be there at the beginning.

    • Nightsky
      Posted October 28, 2015 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

      Be sure to give it a good few episodes. It takes a few episodes for everything to gel: the writing, Cecil’s performance, etc.

      • Posted October 28, 2015 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

        Also this.

        In my opinion it starts good. But it quickly turns excellent.

  2. kmae1028
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 7:41 AM | Permalink

    Dogparks… are NOT a good time. Do not go near the dog park!!!

    But for real, I was so sad to read that the tour wasn’t coming to Denver, that I called the Ann Arbor store and paid for a book over the phone so that I could get Joseph and Jeffrey to sign a copy to me. My parents picked it up and are sending it to me. I wish I could go to the event you are speaking at – that would be a collision of two of my favorite worlds!

    I am, however, going to the live show in Denver next week, and I’m totally pumped!

  3. Taedirk
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

    I tried, but I just couldn’t enjoy Welcome to Night Vale. It seems like it really wants to do the Lovecraftian nameless horrors thing but so much of it ends up as non-sequitur. Seeing it happen over and over again simply outweighed the enjoyable parts that managed to sneak in.

  4. outerspaceguy
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

    Placed a hold on the book from my local library!

  5. Jsherry
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

    You had me at Tom Stoppard.

  6. David_L
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

    Well, you convinced me. I’ll start this one as soon as finish my second pass of NOTW. Think it would be as good in Audiobook format on my drive to work, or is this one I should read in the dark under the covers before bed?

    • kmae1028
      Posted October 28, 2015 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

      Listen to a few episodes of the podcast – if you like the narrator (Cecil), I believe he also narrates the audio book. Based on this fact alone, I believe the audio book will be superb!

      • Posted October 28, 2015 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

        This is good advice.

        I can’t speak to the audiobook directly, as I’ve just read the text. But I can say I’ve heard I’ve heard a *lot* of people gushing about the audiobook.

  7. pharbero
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

    I keep meaning to get to this podcast, but what with 734 hours of Comedy Bang Bang to catch up on, plus the Seveneves audiobook is over a year long, seriously… my point is, would it be confusing/unproductive/ridiculous to read this book without ever having heard the podcast?

    If the answer is yes, what about just buying it and putting it on my shelf as a constant reminder to listen to the damned podcast already?

  8. kookeymuenster
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

    Where’s the cake???

  9. SporkTastic
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

    A link to the podcast/Welcome to Nightvale’s site somewhere in the text would not go remiss. (Like, perhaps, a few of your readers, I came to the comments to find a link…this one, in fact.)

  10. jd-scott
    Posted October 29, 2015 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

    “That’s such bullshit that it’s an insult to the word ‘bullshit.'”

    Best line ever.

    But from your synopsis that is a pretty f’d up story. Especially for a kid.

  11. cageo
    Posted October 30, 2015 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

    Who is The Sculptor by? I found a few by different authors

    • Posted November 3, 2015 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

      Scott McCloud.

      • cageo
        Posted November 4, 2015 at 4:05 AM | Permalink

        Thank you! I have read The fault in our stars since your recommendation. Amazing. Thank goodness you are better at replying to your fans than the author of An Imperial Affliction

  12. AlistairM
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

    Hey Pat ,

    On the subject of Esio trot, the BBC made a film adaptation with Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench playing the leads.

    It changed the ending from that of the book and I think you’ll much prefer the ending if you take a look one day.

  13. Posted November 6, 2015 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

    Thanks a lot for this recommendation. I only recently subscribed to your blog and now I’m glad I did. I will be sure to follow you on Goodreads now, as I think I can trust that your taste in books is similar to mine. ;)

    Looking forward to your next novel!

  14. quopper
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

    OK to read without having heard the podcast? Or a better read if already familiar with the podcast? Thank you for mentioning here despite the facts that it’s one of Those books that are so good you usually never get around to mentioning – THOSe are the ones I esp want to hear about while waiting for more from you :)

  15. ShortestGuy
    Posted November 12, 2015 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

    The stream was fantastic. There was a few bugs like the mono channel mic and stream resolution. 9/10

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