Recent Reading

Thinner – Richard Bachman/Stephen King

While I’ve enjoyed most of King’s books, I don’t rate Thinner as one of his best. This might be because he was writing it under his Bachman alias. I just didn’t really like the “curse” idea.

Holes – Louis Sachar

I actually re-read this a while ago, as I was teaching it to a Year 7 class.  It’s still as good as I remember it, and it was fun to see how the students responded to the novel.

Animal Farm – George Orwell

I read this many years ago. I got a new copy over the Christmas holiday, so that I could re-read it in preparation for teaching it to GCSE students. It’s amazing how much I remembered from my first reading. However, having a greater understanding of the world and of political movements enabled me to develop a far stronger understanding of the novel.

The Dragon Done It – Ed. Eric Flint and Mike Resnick

I’m currently working on a series of fantasy crime novels, and I was interested to see what was already out there – beyond the shelves of urban fantasy a la The Dresden Files. After a bit of searching, I stumbled across this anthology.

While many of the stories feature fantasy elements, many of them seemed to heavily inspired by Raymond Chandler and Co – they were definitely detective fiction. This doesn’t mean that they were bad though – far from it. I enjoyed most of the stories, especially how they carried over tropes from detective fiction and mingled in the fantasy elements. Overall? The anthology adds weight to my idea that there isn’t much crime fiction set in a fantasy world.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

An excellent book that was recently made into a film – I haven’t seen that yet. The book itself is great and manages to capture elements of being a teenager while covering pretty similar ground to The Fault in Our Stars… Except I think Me and Earl and the Dying Girl did it better.

SNAFU: An Anthology of Military Horror

The second anthology of short stories on this update. While the stories were of varying quality (from good to great), they were all good fun and had a few slightly disturbing ideas as well as a lot of monster-killing violence. Probably not suitable for the kids, but a good read nonetheless.

The Reader Problems Book Tag

Tl;dr version: I saw this on a friend’s blog and thought it would be fun to do. Feel free to skip, or to leave your views in the comments.

1) You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How do you decide what to read next?

Pick one at random. Perhaps pick by the cover. Whoever said to not judge a book by its cover was wrong. I have a lot of self-published books on my Kindle, and there is a strong correlation between crap cover and crap literature.

2) You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

Quit. Life’s too short to read something you don’t like – there are plenty more books waiting to be read. I said a while back that I had started American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I’m sure the book is good, but I found it too dense and overwhelmingly concerned with detail that I got bored and stopped reading.

3) The End of the Year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads Reading Chalenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

Nope, I’m useless with Goodreads. I forget I have it and then never update it. Perhaps next year?

4) The covers of the series you love Do. Not. Match. How do you cope?

Meh, the story inside is still the same. That said, I do occasionally get a book based on its binding/cover/style. I got a book called Dickens at Christmas which has a wonderful cover and is hardback… I could have got the same stories on my Kindle or in a cheaply produced paperback. I tend to bulk buy (paper) series so I can binge them… that means that they tend to all have the same cover.

5) Everyone and their mother love a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

Hmm. Not sure. I’ll come back to this in the future.

6) You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

Suck it up (dry your eyes mate), and carry on reading. It’s unlikely that I’ll be about to cry though.

7) A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads?

Depends on the series, how long the book is, how long ago I read it. I’d probably just find a synopsis on Goodreads/Wikipedia and then read the new one.

8) You do not want anyone – ANYONE – borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?

I generally let people borrow my books. Books are meant to be read, and I don’t see why someone else can’t read my copy.

9) You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?

Find something that I haven’t read for a long time but like, or something by an author that I know I enjoy and read something by them.

10) There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

Not that many. I’ll use a blend of libraries (University, school, public) to get notable releases, birthday’s and christmases to pick up a few more.

11) After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?

You think I can put them on a shelf? They’re all full! I’ll probably binge-read one straight away, then feel guilty as I should be working, so go and do some work. Then forget that I have bought new books. Repeat the process.