In the 70s I discovered Lord of The Rings. I have read all of the books three times over the years.
Anyway, I became fascinated by the imaginary world of Middle Earth. I have a weakness for imaginary places. Tolkien had a way of making them seem real. I studied maps so I could follow the action in the book. (Once I found a book called The Dictionary of Imaginary Places. Of course, I had to have it.)
As the fellowship travels around Middle Earth, they often come upon ruins of old towers left over from long ago. I became curious about the origin of these towers. I found other books written by Tolkien and his son that explained who and when and for what purpose these towers have been built.
Over time I have collected a small library of books about Middle Earth. There are races of men and other beings. They have their own languages, their own lands and their own history. I immersed myself in those things. They fascinate me.
Well, now I have found another series of books that I find both fascinating and challenging. That book is A Game of Thrones, the first in a series called A Song of Ice and Fire.
I started reading the first book to pass the time when I was in the hospital in May. This is not a book you can read casually. Before long my head was spinning, trying to remember who all the characters are and how they relate to each other. This process is further complicated by fact that many characters are often referred to by more than one name, title or nickname. Then I had to remember to which house each character belonged. Lords held lands and had castles. Each one has a whole set of followers, knights, advisors, etc. I became so confused placing where each character belonged that I had to make lists. There is an Appendix at the end of each book with long, long lists of all the characters and where each belongs.
After reading the first book in the hospital, I became hooked and decided to put the bundle of all five current books on my Nook. I got to the third book, where there are new characters and new places. I started to jot down more notes. Before long I decided I had been rushing through them so fast that I was missing things. So, I decided to start over after doing some research.
I looked up maps showing all the lands and castles and cities where the action takes place. I printed them out so I could refer to them as I read. I also printed out family trees and lists characters so I could refer to them if I questioned where a certain character fit in. Was this a bad guy or a good guy? Whose side is he on? How many nicknames does he have?
So, after doing the research and printing out all my "cheat sheets" I am starting over from scratch. I am now on page 486 of 4,764. Actually, I like a book like this that can keep me occupied for months. I become immersed in a book like this. Is it an obsession? Does this make me a geek? Do I have too much time on my hands?