23.The Neil Gaiman Reader, edited by Darrell Schweitzer
Quasi-academic essays on Neil's output to 2006. A mixed bag, as these things always are. I think I preferred The Sandman Companion
, but there's a mattress in front of the bookcase where (I think) it is, so I can't flip through and do a quick comparison.
24. Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris
Thanks to spitecandy
for the heads-up. She was discussing Harris's "Southern Vampires" series, about which I'm not convinced as it sounds like it strays a little too close to the "Romance" label for me; but I discovered that the same author writes a detective series about a woman who was struck by lightning and consequently has the ability to know the cause of death when she gets near a corpse. Supernatural crime stuff = exactly my thing.
This was OK, but probably the least substantial thing I have read in a very, very long time, not excepting Harry Potter. The writing neither grabbed me nor turned me off. I won't be rushing out to read the rest of the series right away, but will certainly give it at least one more chance at some point.
25. Matter by Iain M Banks
I made the mistake of starting this when I had The Lurgy back in March, thought it was too hard & that I hated it. Do not attempt with head full of snot.
Actually, it's one of Banks's better recent Culture novels; it is, however, not as good as The Algebraist (on the other hand, it is neither as hard going or as long).