So much for not doing this. I can barely remember the first couple.
28. Cold Mirrors by CJ Lines
, I've finally read it!
This is a spiffing collection of short stories, mostly, but not all, in the horror vein. I've read some of them before - Lambkin
was in the Tiny Terrors
collection, CJ put The Trending
up on line some time before the book came out, and I was one of the test readers for Patrick O'Hare: King of the Freaks
. I particularly like The Trending - the idea of using Twitter to do ritual magic is simultaneously genius and blindingly obvious. Extra credit for giving a story the title In Every Dream Home a Heartache
, and having it be a completely suitable title for a really creepy little number. Clownn Stations
is just dowright disturbing.
I was most impressed by the variety of the stories, and of the style and voice used. CJ writes characters you actually care about (except maybe in Dream Home
, but I've known more than a few people like them), a real achievement in such short pieces.
I can't recommend this book highly enough, and I'm honestly not just saying that because I know the author. I did have some more constructive thoughts but my appalling memory strikes again.
If you're going to read it on my recommendation (please do!), don't buy from Amazon - CJ loses money on every copy bought through them - go straight to the source - www.adramelech-books.co.uk
29. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
I'd been putting this one off becuase I'd been led to understand that he's a bit of an arse in it.
Well, maybe, but given that I largely agree with his opinions on the wrongness of the status given to religion in our supposedly modern and rational society even by non-religious types, I thoroughly enjoyed this. There's a lot more evolutionary biology than I'd been led to expect, which was fascinating.
I've read The Selfish Gene
and possibly The Blind Watchmaker
, but now I want to get the rest of his books, not to mention the huge reading list to check out at the back of the book.
30. Snuff by Terry Pratchett
Samuel Vimes goes on holiday to his wife's family's country home, and discovers all sorts of nefarious goings-on.
It starts out unpromisingly with a fairly un-funny couple of chapters about how Vimes doesn't want to go on holiday, and his fear and loathing of the countryside (which I share, but it still wasn't very amusing).
It gets better, though. While Ankh-Morpork is any big city, the countryside is definitely England. There is a neighbour family who are clearly the Bennetts from Pride & Prejudice. The scene where Vimes tells all six daughters that they should get off their lazy backsides and get jobs nearly made me choke, it was so funny and I was reading in a public place.
As usual, Pratchett's message is applied with a sledgehammer, but since it's about tolerance and Generally Being Good to Others, I can let that slide.
31. Stonemouth by Iain Banks
Kind of a cheat - before it was released, this was the Book at Bedtime on Radio 4, read by David Tennant, so I read the whole thing with his voice in my head, and knew where it was going.
It's about a young artist who'd been run out of his home town by one of the local crime families 5 years before being granted dispensation to return home for a funeral, and gradually reveals what led to his being exiled in the first place. Which doesn't sound much, plot-wise, but it's still hard to put down.
For a coming-of-age novel, it's a very mature and thoughtful work.
Another one I liked very much indeed.