There is nothing passive about reading a book. We engage with it and recreate it in our minds and pass on our meaning of it to others.
— Jonny Geller (@JonnyGeller) 7 January 2017
It’s been a good week for reading. I did a 4-hour round trip alone in the car, which meant I had perfect opportunity to listen to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It’s been so long since I’d read the original that I’d completely forgotten the ending. I remembered the spiders though. They are the stuff of nightmares after all. I finished with an hour or so’s drive left and I moved straight on to Runemarks by Joanne Harris.
I always have a listen to the sample before buying an audiobook. If you’re going to spend 10 plus hours listening to someone perform then you have to enjoy the sound of their voice. I definitely have my own pet preferences for narrators (and I might share them another time). I haven’t heard Rosie Jones before but she’s really drawn me into 14 year-old Maddy’s adventure as she discovers what her ruinmark really is and what One-Eye hasn’t been telling her for the last 7 years. I’m really enjoying my daily commute to work just to find out what happens next. That’s got to be a good sign, right?
I finished re-reading Savage Season by Joe R. Lansdale. I’d forgotten how brutal it was. Best friends Hap Collins and Leonard Pine are drawn into a job by Hap’s ex-girlfriend. The job doesn’t go as expected and Hap and Leonard have to to some thinking, talking and fighting to get themselves back out of it. I read the first three in this series in the late nineties when they first came out so I’m forgiving my brain for not remembering what the next two bring. I’ve treated myself to Mucho Mojo, Two-Bear Mambo and Bad Chili in anticipation.
I love short stories, and I subscribe to a few SF&F fantasy magazines but I’m really poor at keeping up. That’s why I’ve just finished ‘The Queen of Eyes’ by Rachel Pollack. It was first published in Fantasy & Science Fiction, Sept/Oct 2013. In this second story Rachel expands the world that Jack Shade inhabits. We get to see glimpses of aspects of old Gods like ‘The Ancient Doll’, homeless elementals, power struggles that should have nothing to do with Jack. Pollack manages to pack a lot into her 23K word novella. As I’m behind I know there are two more, ‘Jonny Rev’ and ‘Homecoming’ in later issues of Fantasy and Science Fiction to ready to read. Oh, and here is a an interview with Rachel – these novella’s are going to be collected as well. As I’ve only got the electric versions I’m glad to see a book I can have on the shelf.
I haven’t read SQPR or Life, the Universe and Everything (both as dip in sort of reads).
I wasn’t sure if it mention what review copies arrive or not but as they might tease or tempt you so why not? I’m only going to mention a few – as I know to my cost that too much choice is overwhelming.
The first three I’ve requested and the last one is right up my street:
Mussolini’s Island by Sarah Day (Feb ’17) was mentioned by Rob on Adventures with Words as part of their Book of the Year 2016 episode. It’s not out until February but is set in 1939 where some Italian men have been rounded up and sent to an island – someone has betrayed them.
Hame by Annalena McAfee (Feb ’17) grabbed me because of the mystery element about looking at someone’s part and the search for a place to feel at ‘home’ in an uncertain world.
The End of Eddy by Édourd Louis (Feb ’17) is darker than I expect to be reading – I’m not very good with ‘real’ books that don’t have any sense of otherness – but this is an autobiographical novel by a young writer growing up in Northern France. It’s a portrait of escaping from an unbearable childhood, i and it asks, how can we create our own freedom?
Swimmer Among the Stars by Kanishk Tharoor (Apr ’17) when I read the types of short stories included I got very curious: An interview with the last speaker of a language. A chronicle of the final seven days of a town that is about to be razed to the ground by an invading army. The lonely voyage of an elephant from Kerala to a princess’s palace in Morocco. A fabled cook who flavours his food with precious stones. A coterie of international diplomats trapped in near-Earth orbit. You’d want to read those too?
Finally, SF Gateway had a Christmas/New Year’s sale on their Essential titles- and a I had some Christmas money – on top of the Book Token’s I had (I bought this crazy book called The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer with them already) – I thought I’d stock up. I might have let me OCD go a little bit to wild.
They are a mixture of mostly shorter novels and short story collections:
Raising The Stones by Sheri S. Tepper
The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs
The Jaguar Hunter by Lucius Shepard
The Avram Davidson Treasury by Avram Davidson
Volkhavaar by Tanish Lee
The Birthgrave by Tanish Lee
Swords and Deviltry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser Book 1) by Fritz Leiber
The Dying Earth by Jack Vance
Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand by Samuel R. Delany
The Einstein Intersection by Samuel R. Delany
Imperial Earth by Arthur C Clarke
Have you read any of the above? Where would you start? Tweet me via @gavreads.
Until next time,