Tag Archives: China Mieville

That Lovely ‘What To Read Next’ Feeling…

Having finished my latest read last night before I went to sleep I awoke this morning and stretched with that lovely feeling of ‘ooh I can browse my bookshelves at whim and read whatever I want to next’. Sometimes that can be a daunting prospect when you have a rather massive Mount TBR however this morning it feels much more like I have a world of endless characters, places, situations and stories ahead of me and that is the perfect feeling on a chilly, yet sunny October morning.

In fact as yet I have still not decided what I want to read next (and people have been very helpful in adding to the TBR of late which you may see in a separate post today or later in the week) thought there are about five major contenders at the moment.

   

  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Still Missing – Beth Gutcheon
  • The City & The City – China Miéville

I don’t want to rush to choose what my next book will be yet (so it might not be any of the ones I am mulling over) or even rush to start another, though I am not in a reading funk; I just want to enjoy this feeling for a little longer instead. Sometimes I really think this is one of the loveliest feelings in the world, don’t you?

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Library Loots & Latest Incomings

I do find it odd that only a few months when my ‘refurbished’ local library reopened its doors I was a little bit snobbish about it. I didn’t like the fact that it was self service and though the building still has its old exterior I weirdly missed the old interior and the fact that trying to find a book published after 2000 was pretty much impossible. However over the last week or two I have been converted and have been visiting a lot.

Unlike the library I did like (especially as it has a new swanky supermarket next door killing two birds with one bus journey) one tube stop away the one just down the road now always seems to have just the books I want or have been mulling over. It also helps they have been lottery funded and so they keep getting the latest books in pristine condition. It’s almost like going into a book store which as I am on a book buying ban and can cart a load off for free is ideal. This week I got four new ones to read…

  • The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington – I had not heard of this Penguin Modern Classic until I got an email from a reader last weekend telling me that the tale of Marian Leatherby’s committal to an institution by her family would be just my cup of tea, low and behold the library had it in pristine condition.
  • Solo by Rana Dasgupta – Libraries are great for taking risks with books and I have been watching the Not The Man Booker Prize with interest this year and was actually going to see if I could get any of the books listed for this year, I couldn’t but I did get last years winner which I have mulled over before.
  • The City &The City by China Mieville – I asked you all if I wanted to read this, pretty much all of you said I did and the library had it so it seemed like fate.
  • The Big Four by Agatha Christie – A graphic novel of Agatha Christie which sounds like it could be a James Bond novel only with Poirot. I think I will either love this or hate it but its something different to try.

I have also been lucky enough to get some more unsolicited books in the last week or four. Actually no I tell a lie two of these books I had emails asking if I fancied and indeed I did (I will pop a star next to those) but that’s not asking which I have banned myself from. A few I had already but are now in lovely new editions (such as the Atwood) or paperback editions have come out, so maybe I will do some more giveaways over the next few weeks – don’t forget there is a giveaway here at the moment.

  • Angels of Destruction by Keith Donoghue
  • Ransom by David Malouf
  • Waiting For Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk*
  • London Labour & The London Poor by Henry Mayhew
  • The End by Salvatore Scibona
  • The Alchemasters Apprentice by Walter Moers
  • To The End of the Land by David Grossman
  • Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indridason
  • Small Memories by Jose Saramago
  • Begginers by Ramond Carver
  • Balthazar Jones and the Tower of London by Julia Stuart*
  • The Complete Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • The Dogs & The Wolves by Irene Nemirovsky

The David Grossman has a bit of a funny story attached to it, not as in the story of the book which is apparently heartbreaking… let me explain. I was banging on about ‘To The End of the Land’ to one of my friends saying how much I wanted it and how I couldn’t ask for it or buy it myself only when I then, less than 24 hours later, finally sorted through all my latest books and other books I had been moving around the last week or two proceeded to discover I did indeed have it already! Oh dear, a sign of too many books on the TBR? Actually I don’t think you can have too many books on a TBR.

So what lovely library loots have you got recently? Been bought any books or treated yourselves to any? Have you read any of the above?

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Do I Want To Read…?

Do you have books that you think you really want to read but aren’t quite sure? Some books you read about or hear about have you instantly wanting to give them a read and then other books you waver a little. Its not that they don’t sound good it that you just want a helpful nudge either way. Well that’s where my ‘Do I Want To Read…?’ posts come in and today I have three books that I wondered if you could give me your thoughts on plus a few thoughts on the authors too.

First up is a book I heard discussed on a podcast (and more on those soon) though I now cannot remember which one annoyingly. Initially for some reason I thought that I had already read it because the premise sounded so familiar, like bookish déjà vu but I am certain I haven’t. Anyway the book is ‘Dark Places’ by Gillian Flynn and from the blurb it sounds utterly brilliant. Has anyone read it that can back my imaginings of the book up?

Libby Day was just seven years old when her older brother massacred her family while she hid in a cupboard. Her evidence helped put him away. Ever since then she has been drifting, surviving for over twenty years on the proceeds of the ‘Libby Day fund’. But now the money is running out and Libby is desperate. When she is offered $500 to do a guest appearance, she feels she has to accept. But this is no ordinary gathering. The Kill Club is a group of true-crime obsessives who share information on notorious murders, and they think her brother Ben is innocent. Ben was a social misfit, ground down by the small-town farming community in which he lived. But he did have a girlfriend – a brooding heavy metal fan called Diondra. Through her, Ben became involved with drugs and the dark arts. When the town suddenly turned against him, his thoughts turned black. But was he capable of murder? Libby must delve into her family’s past to uncover the truth – no matter how painful…

Now the first of two books which I would not only love to hear about but any suggestions of other books by them that I might like and you have read. The first I have read nothing by and yet have always thought I would enjoy and that is China Mieville. I have ‘Un Lun Dun’ by him from the library already, which is young adult fiction, and yet of course it’s the titles I don’t have about me that are calling to me the most. The book that I thought might be a good place to start is ‘The City & The City’ as sounds like it has a crime edge to it.

When the body of a murdered woman is found in the extraordinary, decaying city of Bes el, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks like a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he probes, the evidence begins to point to conspiracies far stranger, and more deadly, than anything he could have imagined. Soon his work puts him and those he cares for in danger. Borlu must travel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own, across a border like no other. With shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984, “The City & The City” is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights.

It also sounds like it could completely throw me, so any thoughts on this would be great. I also really fancy ‘Kraken’ too if any of you have read that, or anything else by Mieville for that matter.

Finally an author I have read one work by, though all I can say about it at the moment is that I thought it was very good and nothing more. Douglas Coupland is an author I had always fancied reading and thought would be too difficult for me but ‘Generation A’ which I read and we have long listed for ‘The Green Carnation Prize 2010’ and another podcast I heard mentioned ‘JPod’ which I think sounds really interesting and maybe that would be a good book to try next though its had mixed opinions on it, what do you think?

Ethan and his five co-workers are marooned in JPod, a no-escape architectural limbo on the fringes of a massive game-design company. There they wage battle against the demands of boneheaded marketing staff who torture them with idiotic changes to already idiotic games. Meanwhile, Ethan’s personal life is being invaded by marijuana grow-ops, people-smuggling, ballroom dancing, global piracy and the rise of China. Everybody in both worlds seems to inhabit a moral grey zone, and nobody is exempt, not even his seemingly strait-laced parents or Coupland himself.

Anyone read that? I did see ‘All Families Are Psychotic’ in the library and couldn’t decide if I would like that one or not. I also wondered if the renowned ‘Girlfriend In A Coma’ or ‘Generation X’ should be my next dalliance with Coupland? As you can see I am in a ‘Coupland Confusion’ so any help would be good.

Right… so thoughts on ‘Dark Places’, ‘The City & The City’, ‘JPod’ and any additional thoughts on the authors of the latter two, China Mieville and Douglas Coupland and your experiences with them would be wonderful. I am off to catch up with comments in the meantime, I have been a bit slack, I do apologise.

Oh and before I forget… Do any of you have books you would like to hear peoples thoughts on that you are umming and ahhing about? If so I could compile a selection and do a post on ‘Do You Want To Read…?’ so if you have any books like that let me know those too!

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