Monday 27 January 2014

Quarter Past Summer and other weekend reading.
Quite a busy weekend so not a huge amount of reading got done, however I did manage to finish my hard copy of 'Quarter Past Summer' by Mandy Baldwin. Rather a lovely little book, that for me, benefited from being read as an actual book rather than an e-book. This is a complex story of a cursed family, touched by conflict. There are some vivid and totally human characters who leap off the page, as well as some gorgeously written sections set in the long hot summers of the mid 1970s. each character's story forms a thread in a much larger picture that stretches a long way from the fictional Sussex town of Westering. I did feel that some of the characters could have been fleshed out a little and given whole novels of their own, and would have happily read more about the majority of them. This isn't a long book at only 266 pages, and I would have been glad to read more. There are moments when the storyline follows a rather traumatic bent, and these are sometimes difficult to read, however I promise you that the novel finishes on a hopeful note and is well worth reading to the end.
Alongside 'Quarter Past Summer' I made further headway into my advance copy of 'Descent' by Ken Macleod. As would be expected from this author this is a SF fantasy with a decidedly Scottish flavour. Set in a future not too far removed from the present this is a interesting story, and I'm not totally sure that I know where Macleod is going as yet. I found Intrusion far more straight forward in it's execution, with Descent I don't know quite what is going to happen next. I am only halfway through now though so there will be a big reveal soon I'm sure.
As part of my random digging about on the Internet I came across a very interesting blog discussing Jo Walton's 'What Makes This Book so Great'. This is essentially a collection of Walton's blog posts discussing the SF and Fantasy books she has read and loved. Books like this and like Nick Hornby's 'Stuff I've Been Reading' are of obvious interest to bloggers everywhere, it's one thing to pour out your inner rambles about whatever topic to a faceless (and possibly non existent) audience. Lots of us do it, and we rarely know if many (or any) actual people read what we write. However to have these musings gathered up and given the recognition of an actual book is pretty special. Jo Walton evidently knows her stuff, you can see that just from a reading of 'Among Others' which is essentially a huge wish list of SF and Fantasy classics with a magical story wrapped around it. There is only ten days to wait now before Walton's 'Small Change' novels are published in the UK by Corsair, and  I am VERY excited about reading the whole series. In the meantime I have lots to read including 'Tooth and Claw' so really had best get my nose back in a book!

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