Half Term Report 2013

I’ve read some books. I tend to do that. Let’s look at what I’ve read in the first 6 months of 2013, which by the way, is not enough. Probably.

12875162I’ve read a bunch of comics and graphic novels. Which is not a surprise but not the point of this post.

I’ve read a few bits of none fiction:

David Miller – Peter Cushing, Will Stor – Heretics, Francis Ween – How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World, Scarlett Thomas – Monkeys with Typewriters, Ben Goldacre – Bad Pharma. One book on writing which was great. I even did the exercises. One book on an actor who lived where I live and would have been 100 years old this year. And some books on various aspects of culture. All good, none great.

One collection of short stories crossed my path, and I read an individual short story: Chris Beckett’s collection, The Peacock Cloak, was interesting and enjoyable. Ian Sales’ The Eye With Which the Universe Beholds Itself was refreshing.

16 bits of fiction in 6 months. I’d read 19 in the first six months of 2012. Not good enough? Well, 2 in particular took ages because I found them dull. Really dull. Disappointing. So, in some kind of order:

  • Mary Shelley – The Last Man 1.5/5Angelmaker
  • Benedict Jacka – Fated 2/5
  • Geoff Ryman – The Child Garden 2/5
  • Clifford Beal – Gideon’s Angel 3/5
  • Paul Cornell – London Calling – 3/5
  • Tom Holt – Doughnut 3/5
  • Cory Doctorow – Pirate Cinema 3/5
  • Nick Harkaway – Angelmaker 3.5/5
  • Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross  – The Rapture of the Nerds 3.5/5
  • Chris Beckett – Dark Eden – 3.5/5
  • Sarah Pinborough – Poison 4/516094514
  • Martin Millar – The Good Fairies of New York 4/5
  • Sarah Pinborough – The Shadow of the Soul 4/5
  • G Willow Wilson – Alif the Unseen 4/5
  • Juli Zeh – The Method 4/5
  • Jeff Noon – Vurt 5/5

17401136Which I think is a bit disappointing. The best book I’ve read so far this year is one of my all time favourites which was the third time I’d read it. Generally disappointed by the books that had been hyped up, especially the Cornell, the Harkaway (but then I wasn’t overly keen on his debut either) and the Jacka. I was massively disappointed by The Child Garden and The Last Man. In fact, the latter put me off my SF challenge, although I hope to get back on the horse soon. Also less than totally impressed by Doctorow’s entries. On the other hand, couple of good Sarah Pinboroughs. The Wilson and the Zeh were enjoyable and the most satisfying reads so far. Out of the 16, only 6 really enjoyable reads. So maybe my choices have been poor? I’m influenced by the books I’m asked to review, reviews in SFX and other places, and books on shortlists for awards. I’m thinking about knocking the whole awards-influenced reading on the head.

Quick look at the breaksdown: 8 science fiction, 5 urban fantasy, 2 fantasy and 1 comic fantasy. No horror. No none-genre.  Meh.

Let’s hope that the next 6 months do me more favours. I have a number of books on the ‘to read’ pile which I have high hopes for:

  • Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux
  • The Adjacent by Christopher Priest
  • The Year of the Ladybird by Graham Joyce
  • The Chosen Seed by Sarah Pinborough
  • Intrusion by Ken MacLeod

 I also hope to pick up the new Lauren Beukes and Neil Gaimen. I also plan to re-read American Gods. I will try to get a hold of Adam Robert’s Jack Glass and Blackout by Mira Grant.

So here’s to the second half of 2013.


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