Tuesday 2 February 2016

January reading and Costa award.

I'm not very good at sticking to a reading plan but this is not too bad.
January and February is usually about catching up with last year's sci-fi and fantasy ready for the prize shortlists but I decided to read various things to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day too - so I've lots to do.
6 men, 7 women. All white I'm afraid. Will try to turn that around over the next couple of months.

Still, some very good novels here - nothing has disappointed. I love the Atkinson. The things she does with time helped me to think in new ways. Melissa Harrison's novel is almost as good - seriously good in other words - swirling through a community, consciousnesses and time.
Anne Charnock's novel is unlike anything I've read in some while - beautiful in its sensitivity to history and its small moments of grace and imagination. And it's kind in all the right ways.
Dave Hutchinson's novel is flawed but brave and political in ways most contemporary novels don't dare to be. I can't stop thinking about Adam Roberts' The Thing Itself: he just gets better.
And since I'm there, how on earth did Roberts' Bete and Lavie Tidhar's A Man Lies Dreaming not get on the major Sci-fi shortlists last year? Weird. And wrong.
What a good year for the Costa awards. Still have various bits to read but so glad Frances Hardinge won. She's been producing brilliant novels for some years now and should have been recognised way before now - for Fly By Night, Gullstruck Island or A Face in Glass.

Marceline Loridan-Ivens' memoir is heartbreaking and beautiful. Sarah Helm's history of Ravensbruck is, I suspect, going to leave an indelible mark on my consciousness and my vision of the future. 

Also, I'm going to try and get through most of le Carré during the year, presumably two a month from now on. [I'll never do it!]

Adam Roberts - The Thing Itself
Jeff Vandermeer - Annihilation
Kate Atkinson - A God in Ruins
Anne Enright - The Green Road
Melissa Harrison - At Hawthorn Time
Colm Toibin - Brooklyn (reread)
Jeff Vandermeer - Authority
Jeanette Winterson - The Passion (reread)
Dave Hutchinson - Europe at Midnight (read and reread)
John le Carré - The Spy who came in from the Cold
Anne Charnock - Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind
Marceline Loridan-Ivens - But You Did Not Come Back
Sarah Helm - If this is a Woman: Inside Ravensbruck: Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women (10%/ongoing)

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