Books mid Nov.’06 to mid Feb.’07

Can’t quite believe I’ve read 23 books since I last wrote a reading update here! I do sometime have 2 titles on the go at the same time, but this is due to spending up to 18 hours a week reading – in fact if it was always that much I should have got through a lot more than 23 books in 13 weeks…

War of the Worlds – HG Wells The decision to read this was partly prompted by the start of a sci-fi reading scheme in SFX magazine, this was the first book on their list, and one I’ve never read, despite being intrigued by the story since buying Jeff Wayne’s landmark album in the late 1970’s. Recently I’d seen the Tom Cruise movie version, and been reminded of the more chilling aspects of the story, the disruption of society and ordinary life and the isolation of the hero. This is a strong theme in the book, especially the extreme reactions of the survivors, who become anti-social and selfish in their struggle to survive. There is no doubt that this book is now somewhat dated, if for no other reason than astronomy and science has moved on so much since Wells wrote this that some of his observations strike the modern reader as ridiculous. There is also curiously local feel to the plot development, set as it is in south-east England, very close to London, with little or no sense that this is a global threat, perhaps this is a deliberate decision by Wells, it certainly gives the reader a feeling of claustrophobia, as the Martians dominate this landscape and the hero is trapped unable to travel beyond their field of influence. One can only image the impact of this book when it was first released, read by Victorians at the height of their power, dominating the globe, brought low by a force they cannot comprehend.

Twelfth Card by Jeffery Deaver is another Lincoln Rhyme/Amelia Sachs story, and although it has his trademark inventiveness, twists and clever reveals, I was not convinced by this book. Maybe Deaver has written too many of these twisting tales, maybe I have read too many and am less easily amazed by them. I can recommend many of Deaver’s books, but this is not one I’d want anyone to read as an introduction to his great body of work.

Monstrous Regiment – Terry Pratchett
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid – Bill Bryson
Sharpe’s Gold – Bernard Cornwell
Dry Bones That Dream – Peter Robinson
iWoz – Steve Wozniak
Two Minute Rule – Robert Crais
Tolkien’s Gown –
Lost Japan – Alex Kerr
Deadly Edge – Richard Stark
Until I Find You – John Irving
Bone – Jeff Smith
Cider With Rosie – Laurie Lee
Sharpe’s Escape – Bernard Cornwell
To The Nines – Janet Evanovitch
Redemption Ark – Alastair Reynolds
S is for Silence – Sue Grafton
Going Postal – Terry Pratchett
Sharpe’s Fury – Bernard Cornwell
Innocent Graves – Peter Robinson
Buzz Cut – James Hall
The Progressive Patriot – Billy Bragg

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