Wednesday 4 March 2015

January and February Books

After a really, really shit autumn  (hardly any reading) I needed to get back into good habits. My plan was to shake off the cobwebs, and try to get writing again. I've managed a bit but trying to cram in all the books on the Kitschies shortlists means it's been hard!

Elizabeth is missing - Emma Healey
Very good

The First 15 Lives of Harry August - Claire North
Also very good!

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August-Claire North

Thrill Power Overload - David Bishop
Needed a bit of 2000AD nostalgia so I've been rereading this. Essential stuff. 2000AD/Judge Dredd enthusiasts should also read John Newsinger's The Dredd Phenomenon

Ethan Frome - Edith Wharton
Needed a book full of snow! But what do we make of Zeena?!

We were Liars - e lockhart
The 6th formers read this for their book group and pestered me to read it. The writing is fine but the structure is awful. 40 pages in you know there's going to be some kind of shock/mystery ending and any experienced reader will know what it's going to be. The first half is a tease, the second half is all reveal and there is far too much telling rather than showing. DULL and annoying.
The Door that led to Where - Sally Gardner
This is the new Gardner after the very good Maggot Moon. We took some of the Yr9s to see her at another local school. Great writing - indeed it made want to read some Dickens but the plotting lets it down a little - the ending feels rushed and forced. It might have benefited from being slightly longer with more time spent in the Dickens' London. Enjoyable.
The Race - Nina Allan
Brilliant. Requires a reread and more thought. Hoping it wins the Kitschies.

A Man Lies Dreaming - Lavie Tidhar
REALLY great! Review here.

A Man Lies Dreaming

Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel
Brilliant. Requires a reread and more thought also!
Grasshopper Jungle - Andrew Smith
Oodles of verve and personality AND original. Austin is such a strong voice and such a brilliant character.  I felt uncomfortable at various points about the portrayal of Shann but I'm not sure how Smith could have written it differently. Great to see such a strong YA novel on the Kitschies shortlist.
The Lie Tree - Frances Hardinge

Brilliant. As always - not that I will ever take Hardinge for granted. Review here.

Lagoon - Nnedi Okorafor
Ummm. Review here

Harvest - Jim Crace
Great. Review here.

The Way Inn - Will Wiles

Great, but still thinking and need to reread some of the slightly less satisfying sections. Would be a worthy Kitschies winner if Allan doesn't win.

The Girl in the Road - Monica Byrne

Here - Richard McGuire
I don't have the time or, more importantly, the money to buy loads of graphic novels but I read Chris Ware's review in the Guardian and treated myself. Read Ware's review. I'm only on my second read through but I suspect it's every bit as good as Ware suggests

Also rereading parts of Robert McFarlane's The Old Ways in preparation for Landmarks and have started to dip my toe into Paul Gravett's Comics Art.

On the TBR pile for March and April:

Kelly Link
Robert McFarlane
Kazuo Ishiguro
BSFA shortlist
More Jim Crace

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