The Ender's Shadow experience is now over. What a truly powerful and inspiring novel. I would recommend reading Ender's Game first, but you don't really need to read the rest of the books in the series to enjoy Ender's Shadow. I will talk later on how the concept of a parallel novel inspired me, as I have often thought of the idea on creating a novel based on expectations and perceptions of reality.
With all great novels, I feel lucky to have completed this novel during my lifetime... but sad that is it ultimately over. Since I'm already 5 books through, I'll read the last two but I am not really all that excited about them. I don't think they will compare at all... so I guess I will be expecting something closer to Children of the Mind, or Asimov's Foundation and Earth. Nothing spectacular, but a decent read.
With so many great novels that I still have yet to experience, I find myself scared that I will not get to every one of them. Even if I am able to read 2 books a month, that will only equate to 24 books a year and 240 books in 10 years. Hard to prioritize which ones will get my attention.
I also have a tendency to read the less 'pretty' books that I own, because I don't want to damage them. Also, there is probably a small part of me that looks at them all as if they were the 'green light' in Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby. After I read them, they will be over and I will never experience them the same way again... and the longing to read them will be gone. There is also, arguably, a greater worry in that they will not live up to the asinine expectations that I have of them. I guess that is part of the excitement though... will they live up to the expectations or will they fizzle like the "great" Sound and the Fury.
Time will tell.
"In the military you don't get trusted positions just because of your ability. You also have to attract the notice of superior officers. You have to be liked. You have to fit in with the system. You have to look like what the officers above you think that officers should look like. You have to think in ways that they are comfortable with.
The result was that you ended up with a command structure that was top-heavy with guys who looked good in uniform and talked right and did well enough not to embarrass themselves, while the really good ones quietly did all the serious work and bailed out their superiors and got blamed for errors they had advised against until they eventually got out."
-Ender's Shadow, pg 170