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CollectionsYour library (115)

Reviews48 reviews

Tagsscience fiction (28), sequel (25), fantasy (19), (reread) (16), New Weird (10), Vorkosigan Saga (8), first novels (8), humour (7), translations (7), speculative fiction (6) — see all tags

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About meI'm currently taking a PhD course in pure mathematics, as well as being engaged in a slightly desperate effort to raise the standard of my chess from "embarrassingly sub-par" to ... well, merely sub-par would be a good start.

Between these two activities, I'm really not sure how much time I'll be able to devote to reading (at least reading fiction). But hopefully writing down everything I _do_ manage to finish will function as a useful tool to encourage me to keep finding the time when I can.

Still pretending to read : Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Currently actually reading (Septmeber 1st): The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

About my libraryUm. So, yeah, this isn't actually a collection of all the books I own (a rough count of which comes to approximately "too many", or at least "too many I haven't actually read yet"). Instead, I'm hoping to catalogue all the books I read (or reread) throughout the year, as well as jotting down some (very brief) reviews of them all.

Whether or not I stick to this plan - well, we'll see ...

Update (June 30th 2008)

Six months have passed since I started this plan, so it seems as good a time as any to take stock of where I am with it. One thing I'm surprised by is how few books I've managed to read. While I've never kept track of what I've read to any real extent before, I'm sure that just a few years ago I was managing to read somewhere between one and two hundred books a year. This year I'll be lucky to manage fifty (and a large fraction of that fifty will be rereads).

Something else I've noticed is that I have a habit of writing much longer reviews than I'd planned to; by itself this wouldn't be a problem, but the time these reviews take to write is starting to eat into the time I have to actually read (and frequently there's rather too long a gap between finishing and reviewing a book). So from here on I'll be aiming for quicker, shorter reviews.

Finally, I've decided that I might have a bit more focus in working on the to-read pile if I keep an updated list of books I've yet to read on this page (and see also above, where I'll be keeping an update on what I'm presently working on).

To-Read List

Joe Abercrombie - Last Argument of Kings
Italo Calvino - Invisibile Cities
M. John Harrison - Viriconium
Cormac McCarthy - The Road
Herman Melville - Moby-Dick (yeah, I know)
Gene Wolfe - On Blue's Waters

(I'd say that I plan to read more new books than just these, but at this point that's looking a little optimistic...)

I'm also planning to reread a few books, including but probably not limited to:

Scott Lynch - The Lies Of Locke Lamora
China Mieville - The Scar
Gene Wolfe - The Fifth Head Of Cerberus

Update 2 (November 8th)

I'm not dead...

It turns out that doing a PhD occasionally requires actual work, however, so the amount of time I've had to read fiction or update entries here has massively declined over the past few weeks. I still plan to record any books I finish here as and when I do, but any reviews - including those still outstanding from the past couple of months - will probably have to wait until I have a break over Christmas.

I might have to start to take my vow to write shorter reviews seriously too ...

Update 3 (December 25th 2008)

After a full two months without finding the time to read any fiction at all, it looks like, as of yesterday, I'm finally back and (sort of) on track. Looks like I'll end up reading 43 or 44 books this year, which isn't that bad, I guess, considering, though it still seems like a lot less than I normally manage. The to-read list I posted in my first update worked out mostly okay, too, though (unsurprisingly) I didn't actually get around to reading Moby-Dick. Maybe next year ...

Accordingly, I'll finish this last update of the year with another list or three.

Books I own, and plan to (re)read soon

Steven Brust - Jhegaala
Mark Z Danielewski - House Of Leaves
Ekaterina Sedia (ed.) - Paper Cities
Jeff VanderMeer - City of Saints and Madmen
Gene Wolfe - In Green's Jungles
Gene Wolfe - The Fifth Head of Cerberus (reread)

Books I'm looking forward to

Some (lots?) of these are already out, yes, but I don't have a copy ... yet.

Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale
R Scott Bakker - The Judging Eye
Emma Bull - Bone Dance
Octavia Butler - Parable Of The Sower
CJ Cherryh - Forty Thousand In Gehenna
CJ Cherryh - Regenesis
Hal Duncan - Escape From Hell!
Mary Gentle - Ilario: The Lion's Eye
Ellen Kushner - Swordspoint
China Mieville - The City & The City
Richard Morgan - The Steel Remains
Terry Pratchett - Nation
Tim Powers - Declare
Neal Stephenson - Anathem
Catherynne Valente - The Orphan's Tales

... and quite a few others, but these are the ones that stand out, today at least.

And books I (still) have sitting around...

I'd be pleasantly surprised if I got around to reading either of these, but you never know...

Franz Kafka - Complete Short Stories
Herman Melville - Moby-Dick

Update 3b (January 1st)

Looking at the lists above I can't help but notice they skew rather more toward genre fiction than I'd necessarily like, though possibly not much more so than the books I actually read last year. As I'd like to convince myself that I do occasionally read Proper Serious Literature (TM), I've drawn up a list of a dozen examples of that category, with the aim of averaging one of them a month (reading them alongside the material on earlier lists). All are from the 20th century, but they are hopefully reasonably varied given that condition. I haven't read any of them before, of course; in fact, with three exceptions I haven't read anything by the authors before.

Jorge Luis Borges - Ficciones
Italo Calvino - Our Ancestors
Albert Camus - The Plague
Günter Grass - The Tin Drum
James Joyce - Ulysses
Toni Morrison - Beloved
Haruki Murakami - The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Iris Murdoch - The Sea, The Sea
Salman Rushdie - Midnight's Children
Evelyn Waugh - A Handful Of Dust
Edith Wharton - The Age Of Innocence
Virginia Woolf - The Waves

Update 4 (May 3rd)

So ... my plan to read 50 (or more) books this year ... not looking too promising, is it? Oh well. Still working slowly on the list above, and I'll go back and write the missing mini-reviews too if I can find the time.

Or not, of course.

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