Tag: books

April 8, 2010
I like to read, and when I have something good to read, I can get through a book pretty fast.

However, I do have a tendancy to only have one book on the go at any one time, and if I am not enjoying it, it can take me forever to finish. I feel I have to finish the book, but reading starts to seem like a chore, and I am reduced to a grudging few pages a day.

November 12, 2009
A few years ago, I picked up a copy of Nightshade, by Jack Butler. It was only a quid, and the back cover blurb sounded fun –  “There’s a vampire on Mars, and he’s the good guy”. However, when I got it home, it was added to the pile of books that were probably crap, and I would read if I was desperate.

The other day, I wasn’t desperate, but I had bought a new reading lamp, so I picked up a book at random to find a good position for the lamp. Of course, it was Nightshade, and the book grabbed me immediately.

July 25, 2009
Have just finished this excellent book, a fantasy novel set against historical events.

In 1845, Sir John Franklin led an expedition to find the fabled Northwest passage, an artic sea route between the Atlantic and Pacific. The two ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were fitted with steam engines as well as traditional sail, retractable screws and rudders, and had reinforced bows of oak and iron, for icebreaking.

December 7, 2008
This morning I finished reading The Count of Monte Cristo. I was quite familiar with the overall story, having seen at least two movie adaptations, and also having read Tiger! Tiger! by Alfred Bester, which is very much a retelling of the tale, against a science fiction background.

However, I had never read the original novel before, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though it took me over 2 months to finish it.

Here was something that was unusual for me. Normally, although I may dip in and out of non-fiction, when reading fiction, I tend to read only one book at a time. If I happen to put a book down, and start something else, I usually find it difficult to pick it up again, unless I leave it for a while, and then start again from the beginning.

But with The Count of Monte Cristo, I found it very easy to put it down and pick it up again. A week may go by without reading, and yet when I resumed the novel, I could pick it up from where I had left off with no problem whatsoever. Part of this must be due to the great story, but I think it significant that the book was originally written as a serial, in 18 parts. Thus some aspects of the plot are recapped throughout the book, although I found this was done in a subtle way, that didn’t feel like a great deal of repetition.

The only difficulty I had at all was remembering who everybody was – this book has a large number of characters, compounded by many of them changing their names (either due to achieving position and title, or through subterfuge) throughout the course of the book. But a couple of notes in the front of the book took care of that.

All in all, an excellent read. Many years ago, I read The Three Muskateers, and I will probably re-read that soon.

August 18, 2008
This book may be old news to some of you, as it has been out for a while.

It’s been on my reading pile for a while, and I picked it up last night, intending to read for half an hour before I went to sleep. I finally put the book down at 2am, read a bit more when I woke up this morning, and then finished it this evening.

A truly wonderful satirical thriller, about an ex Prime Minister of Great Britain (totally fictional, of course), who is trying to write his memoirs (with the help of his Ghost-Writer), while under the threat of being accused of war crimes. You do get the feeling that the author is settling some old scores with his depictions, but that does not detract from the novel at all.

Amazon.co.uk: The Ghost: Robert Harris: Books

August 8, 2008