X Marks Wolfy's Spot in the 12 in 12
This topic was continued by X Marks Wolfy's Spot in the 12 in 12 (Part 2).
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Introduction to my challenge
Heath (Bass - replaced Taiji), Pata (Guitar), Yoshiki (Drums & Piano), Toshi (Vocals), Sugizo (Guitar, Violin - replaced hide (represented in spirit by large plushie))
X Japan are the only band I’ve been to see live for far longer than I can remember. I’ve seen them twice in the last 4 years, once in their homeland for their reunion concert and once in mine. They play a mix of speed metal / hard rock with symphonic influences thrown in for good measure. Not everything they play is on the heavy side as there are quite a few ballads to be found in their catalogue as well. Each of my category titles will be a different song and will link to a live video of that track. These videos have been chosen to show different periods in the band's history. Do not click these links if you don't like flashing lights or loud noises.
Here's the category list and more information about their content will be given in their individual posts
1. Sadistic Desire
2. Drain (2 of 2)
3. Dahlia (2 of 3)
4. Silent Jealousy (2 of 4)
5. Art of Life (3 of 5)
6. Rusty Nail (3 of 6)
7. Joker (4 of 7)
8. Scars (3 of 8)
9. Kurenai (5 of 9)
10. X (4 of 10)
11. Forever Love (6 of 11)
12. Endless Rain (9 of 12)
13. Say Anything
As always, everything is subject to change. Comments and suggestions also welcomed.
1. Sadistic Desire - One big book
Reason for this song: Don’t you have to be a bit of a sadist to tackle the big books? At some point in time I do have a desire to read each of the options listed.
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
2666 by Roberto Bolano
The Passage by Justin Cronin
Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
2. Drain - Omnibus editions - Completed
Reason for this song: Each of the options will drain my time for this challenge.
1. The Books of the South by Glen Cook (Msg92 13/02/12) 3★'s
2. Into the Nightside by Simon R. Green (Msg230 26/05/12) 3½★'s
3. Dahlia - Short Stories and Anthologies
Reason for this song: Shorties and Anthologies are like a garden where I hope to find a few flowers.
1. Tales for Canterbury edited by Cassie Hart and Anna Caro (Msg106 29/02/12) 3½★'s
2. Stories by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio (Msg252 16/06/12) 3½★'s
Songs of the Dying Earth by Various
Dark Alchemy by Various
Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro
Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley
The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
Continent by Jim Crace
We Can Remember it for You Wholesale by Philip K. Dick
Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
4. Silent Jealousy - Masterworks
Reason for this song: I’m jealous of authors who can write this well. Selections will be from the Masterworks series of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Crime.
1. Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick (Msg137 30/03/12) 4★'s
2. Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin (Msg203 07/05/12) 4★'s
Cities in Flight by James Blish
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson
The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
Timescape by Gregory Benford
The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin
The Book of the New Sun: Volume 1: Shadow and Claw by Gene Wolfe
The Choirboys by Joseph Wambaugh
Mockingbird by Walter Tevis
5. Art of Life – Absolute Sandman
Reason for this song: For some illustrators, art is their life.
1. The Absolute Sandman Volume Two (Msg59 17/01/12) 4★'s
2. The Absolute Sandman Volume Three (Msg116 11/03/12) 5★'s
3. The Absolute Sandman Volume Four (Msg233 04/06/12) 4★'s
4. The Absolute Sandman Volume Five
5. The Absolute Death
6. Rusty Nail - New Weird / Steampunk
Reason for this song: Surely there must be some in these genres.
1. Above the Snowline by Steph Swainston (Msg83 30/01/12) 4★'s
2. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Msg120 15/03/12) 4½★'s
3. City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer (Msg168 22/04/12) 4½★'s
The Affinity Bridge by George Mann
Scar Night by Alan Campbell
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
The Difference Engine by William Gibson & Bruce Sterling
Predator's Gold by Philip Reeve
Kraken by China Mieville
7. Joker - Tickling the Funny Bone
Reason for this song: Couldn’t be anything else.
1. Shooting Sean by Colin Bateman (Msg105 25/02/12) 4★'s
2. Past Mortem by Ben Elton (Msg162 13/04/12) 4★'s
3. Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure by Dave Gorman (Msg222 17/05/12) 4★'s
4. And Another Thing... by Eoin Colfer (Msg261 22/06/12) 2½★'s
El Sid by Chris Haslam
Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
Queenan Country by Joe Queenan
Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins
Winkie by Clifford Chase
Triggerfish Twist by Tim Dorsey
Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G.Wodehouse
Unread Nick Hornby
Unread Bill Bryson
Unread Colin Bateman
Unread Ben Elton
8. Scars - My Very Own Menagerie
Reason for this song: Animals could leave scars if not handled with care.
1. Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore (Msg128 20/03/12) 3½★'s
2. Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov (Msg195 30/04/12) 4★'s
3. King Rat by China Miéville (Msg228 22/05/12) 4★'s
The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa
Monkey by Wu Ch’eng-en
The Camel Club by David Baldacci
Armadillo by William Boyd
And the Ass Saw the Angel by Nick Cave
Raven Black by Ann Cleeves
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami (also fits Short Stories)
Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong
Red Rabbit by Tom Clancy
Bring the Monkey by Miles Franklin
The Night Buffalo by Guillermo Arriaga
9. 紅 - Kurenai - Lost in Translation
Reason for this song: One of only a very few songs that are named in Japanese and certainly my favourite of those.
1. Roseanna by Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo (Msg71 20/01/12) 4★'s
2. Almost Transparent Blue by Ryū Murakami (Msg101 24/02/12) 3½★'s
3. Seeking Whom He May Devour by Fred Vargas (Msg212 10/05/12) 3½★'s
4. Autofiction by Hitomi Kanehara (Msg223 19/05/12) 3½★'s
5. Happy Birthday, Turk! by Jakob Arjouni (Msg272 29/06/12) 3½★'s
Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada
Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones
The Twelve Kingdoms, Vol.4: Skies of Dawn by Fuyumi Ono
The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo
The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson
The Crossroads by Niccolo Ammaniti
Missing by Karin Alvtegen
Snow is Silent by Benjamin Prado
The Snowman by Jorg Fauser
Snow by Orhan Pamuk
The Queen of the South by Arturo Perez-Reverte
The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri
In the Name of Ishmael by Guiseppe Genna
Ring by Koji Suzuki
The Castle by Franz Kafka
The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco
Purge by Sofi Oksanen
The Helmet of Horror by Victor Pelevin
The Mind's Eye by Hakan Nesser
10. X - Starter for Ten
Reason for this song: The song that defines the band fits nicely with the Roman numeral for ten.
1. The Gunslinger by Stephen King (Msg95 22/02/12) 3★'s
2. The Devil You Know by Mike Carey (Msg160 11/04/12) 4★'s
3. Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard (Msg186 26/04/12) 4★'s
4. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (Msg215 12/05/12) 4½★'s
Cold Granite by Stuart McBride
Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon
Poet in the Gutter by John Baker
Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore
Ratking by Michael Dibdin
Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth
The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
Don’t Look Back by Karin Fossum
A Firing Offense by George Pelecanos
The Broken Shore by Peter Temple
Shadow Man by Cody McFadyen
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
The Dead by Ingrid Black
Murphy’s Law by Colin Bateman
The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
Still Life by Louise Penny
Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling
Winter Rose by Patricia McKillip
Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler
The Wimbledon Poisoner by Nigel Williams
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Hollywood Station by Joseph Wambaugh
Every Dead Thing by John Connolly
Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin
Forty Words for Sorrow by Giles Blunt
The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman
Hood by Stephen R. Lawhead
Sharpe's Tiger by Bernard Cornwell
A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane
What's A Girl Gotta Do? by Sparkle Hayter
Engines of God by Jack McDevitt
River of Gods by Ian McDonald
A Fire Upon the Deep by Verner Vinge
Temeraire by Naomi Novik
Nights of Villjamur by Mark Charan Newton
Cop Hater by Ed McBain
Shinju by Laura Joh Rowland
Snow Angels by James Thompson
Heresy by S.J. Parris
To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer
The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
11. Forever Love - Book Watch
Reason for this song: This category has featured year in, year out for my challenge and with the number of options I already have I can’t see that ending anytime soon.
1. The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson (Msg31 06/01/12) 3½★'s
2. True Grit by Charles Portis (Msg133 27/03/12) 4★'s
3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Msg146 02/04/12) 4½★'s
4. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (Msg164 20/04/12) 3½★'s
5. The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham (Msg238 07/06/12) 4★'s
6. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (Msg251 14/06/12) 3★'s
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Inconceivable by Ben Elton (Maybe Baby)
The New Centurions by Joseph Wambaugh
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Choice of 3 by Graham Greene
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
K-Pax by Gene Brewer
The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope
American Psycho or The Informers by Brett Easton Ellis
The World According to Garp by John Irving
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
Intimacy by Hanif Kureishi
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (The Ninth Gate)
Man and Boy by Tony Parsons
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
The Tesseract by Alex Garland
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
The Lost City of Z by David Grann
The Bone Collector by Jeffrey Deaver
Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini
The Postman by David Brin
FlashForward by Robert J. Sawyer
12. Endless Rain - Continuations
Reason for this song: I have so many series on the go that it sometimes seems like an endless torrent of them raining down on me.
1. The Devil in Amber by Mark Gatiss (Msg43 09/01/12) 3★'s
2. The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde (Msg93 16/02/12) 3½★'s
3. Half the Blood of Brooklyn by Charlie Huston (Msg114 02/03/12) 4★'s
4. Fables: The Deluxe Edition Book Four by Bill Willingham (Msg115 07/03/12) 4★'s
5. Every Last Drop by Charlie Huston (Msg129 22/03/12) 3½★'s
6. My Dead Body by Charlie Huston (Msg129 24/03/12) 3½★'s
7. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Msg156 04/04/12) 4★'s
8. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Msg156 04/04/12) 3½★'s
9. Fables: The Deluxe Edition Book Five by Bill Willingham (Msg268 25/06/12) 5★'s
Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson
Fugitive Prince by Janny Wurts
The Darkest Road by Guy Gavriel Kay
Count Zero by William Gibson
The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett
Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indridason
The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Aberystwyth by Malcolm Pryce
Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs
Trouble in Paradise by Robert B. Parker
Sovereign by C.J. Sansom
Bones of the Hills by Conn Iggulden
Fractured by Karin Slaughter
The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith
Die Trying by Lee Child
And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer
Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card
Hung Out by Margaret Weis & Don Perrin
The Gates of Noon by Michael Scott Rohan
Map of Bones by James Rollins
A Red Death by Walter Mosley
Last Seen Wearing by Colin Dexter
Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith
Rides a Dread Legion by Raymond E. Feist
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
The Man Who Went Up in Smoke by Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo
Purity of Blood by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
A Loyal Character Dancer by Qiu Xiaolong
The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
First Lensman by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
Pollen by Jeff Noon
Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
Johannes Cabal the Detective by Jonathan L. Howard
The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly
Rebellion by James McGee
13. Say Anything - Out of the Box
Reason for this song: Anything that doesn't fit in my other categories will go here.
Wow, I wasn't expecting to find another J-music fan on LT. This looks like a fun challenge, and you've listed a lot of books I have on my own TBR pile. I'll definitely be following along!
Yeah, I followed the route that so many of us Westerners followed several years ago and got into the music through watching anime. Some of the theme songs were becoming just as appealing as the shows and everything just spiralled from there. I'd say that 70% of the music I listen to now comes from Japan.
Some of the options will disappear as there are a number of recurring categories from my 11 in 11 challenge and will be reading some for that. Just have to remember to get rid of them here when I do.
Hi Dave - Great to see you here for the 12 in 12 and I love the fact that you have a new weird / steampunk category for 2012! More books to add to my TBR pile I am sure!
Great categories and the illustrations really crack me up! Scumbag College is a favorite, of course: "I've got a Porsche....It's not an automatic --"
Love your categories and your books are getting me excited to start the challenge. Some I have read, some I am planning to read and there still lots that I have yet to discover. Looking forward to following your reading during 2021.
Glad you didn't lose the Scumbag U photo! Love your categories, and it looks like we have a fair number of books in common on our would like to read someday lists. Are you in on the Windup Girl group read?
Thank you all for stopping by.
14, It was a choice of that or graphic novels as I do want to explore both more thoroughly but as I also included the Sandman category then I thought that combining new weird and steampunk was the way to go.
@15 & 17, Finding the piccies is part of the fun for setting up this challenge but it's hard to lose some of my favourites.
@16, I'm sure there's some options in the lists that are there precisely because you read them. Hope to still be here in 2021 (might take me that long just to clear off what's on my tbr shelves) but I also hope you'll stay with me for next year too. ;)
@17, When Victoria proposed the group read, I put a tentative yes down as I had no idea of my categories at the time. I think I'm still a tentative but more hopeful now that The Windup Girl has made my options list.
18 & 19, Hope you'll do more than just lurk and follow.
Looks like another intersting year to follow your reading. Especially excited to see you delving further into Steampunk and New Weird. Another star!
Some anime tunes are catchy, although the ones that are half in English and half in Japanese are hard to sing along with. I'm more of a Yoko Kanno girl myself but I'll be looking into X Japan now so I can keep up with you, Wolfy.
... and Yay for The Windup Girl!
GingerbreadMan, Thanks. I really do want to read more New Weird and Steampunk and I think it's the category I'm most looking forward to.
VictoriaPL, Yoko Kanno was a big part of my earlier discoveries with her involvement with Cowboy Bebop but it wasn't until I heard this one that I thought I needed to delve deeper.
For some reason (I messed up the html but don't tell anyone) the links to the videos weren't working but they've been fixed now.
Wolfy, I was surprised you called out Cowboy BeBop and not Wolf's Rain!
I do love her work on BeBop. I used The Egg and I for a ringtone of a friend that was expecting but only my husband knew the name of the song so nobody except him got the joke. What is your favorite BeBop tune? I think mine would be Slipper Sleaze or maybe Goodnight Julia
Well Bebop was a much earlier show than WR.
Heh, good story with your friend. Hard to say which is my favourite. Hardly ever listen to any of those tunes any more even though I have pretty much all the music on my media player. Having about 80 days worth of music on their means it doesn't pop up very often when it's on random play. I still love the ending theme though The Real Folk Blues. Never get tired of hearing that one.
Interesting...very interesting! I'm just joining this group. Everyone's different ways of naming categories is fun. I look forward to following your reading adventures.
Book Watch - The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson
The story of a bunch of journalists that oversee the end of an English speaking newspaper in Puerto Rico in the late 1950's. Not much news gets reported on, just the amount of booze and hamburgers they manage to consume and the freeloading they manage to pull off. One of these jounos is Paul Kemp, the narrator of this account. Recently arrived from New York he manages to fit right in with the others but he starts questioning his chosen lifestyle when he sees how those around him operate and compares with the more successful people that he meets.
A decent early effort from HST that owed its release to the more successful later books. I've read (and much preferred) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas but this read has not put me off from watching the recent movie adaptation which I hope to get to in the not too distant future. 3½★'s
Interesting review of The Rum Diary and one I will be curious to read. As I was reading your review I was saying to myself "Hey, if Dave likes this I should recommend that he read The Imperfectionists." - a book I really enjoyed. I then make a quick visit to the book page and what do I find..... The Rum Diary is recommended for me based on having read The Imperfectionists.
So, sometimes the LT 'Books recommended for you' is spot on! LOL!
Not fair, Lori! I'm not supposed to get book bullets from my own thread.
I must get round to reading more Thompson as we have 5 or 6 on the shelves and the only one I've read is fear and loathing in las Vegas is the rum diary film out soon?
Good review of The Rum Diary. I love your choice of categories and will be following your 2012 reading with interest.
is the rum diary film out soon?
It gets a UK DVD release around March I think.
Speaking of recommendations: LT just let me know that it with very high confidence predicted I wouldn't like Behemoth (which I gave four stars.) I wonder what it based that on - I keep wondering what key book I gave a low rating to?
Anders, if it is any consolation, LT's "Will You Like it" predicted the following for me for Behemoth:
LibraryThing thinks you probably won't like Behemoth (prediction confidence: very high)Given how much I enjoyed Behemoth, I consider that widget to be on par with the Ouija board for accuracy of predictability - minus, of course, the forced manipulation of results by the players!
Got that exact same prediction :)
I never did do the Ouija board. My mum is so into that spiritual stuff (I'm not) and she sternly warned me. It might actually be the one warning from my teens I actually heeded - where I completely ignored the don't drink, smoke, wear that to school, hang out with that crowd etc. Seems strange when I think about it.
That's odd, LT says I probably will like Behemoth (confidence very high). I want to read it even less now!
I too am getting the "LibraryThing thinks you probably won't like Behemoth (prediction confidence: very high)" and I've already rated it a 4.5. It does indeed sound as if it's recommended for you, stay away!
"not supposed to get book bullets from my own thread"
Just when we thought we were safe, eh? :)
Continuations - The Devil in Amber by Mark Gatiss
The second book in the Lucifer Box series. This one is set 20 years after The Vesuvius Club and gets off to a really slow start. I just about managed to hang in through the first 60 pages and then, thankfully, things improved. Lucifer is feeling his age (as well as the bellhop at the hotel he's staying at) and goes to great lengths to let his audience know about it. Once he quits complaining and gets on with his job he's back to his usual likeable self. This time around he's tasked with watching Olympus Mons, the leader of a fascist movement that's making waves on both sides of the Atlantic, and find out what his plans are. This simple assignment soon goes awry when he's betrayed from within his own organisation and left to take the fall for a murder he didn't commit. Managing to escape from custody, can Lucifer follow the clues to stop Mons from literally raising Hell and also get revenge on his betrayer at the same time?
Once past the slow beginning then the rest of the book flies by and that's why I'll probably continue with book 3 at some point (as long as it pops up cheap somewhere) but I'm in no hurry to rush out and buy it immediately. Just on a precautionary note, this book does contain scenes of a sexual (MM & MF) and violent nature so be warned if that's not your cup of tea. 3★'s
Thanks for that review - thumbing - I have The Vesuvius Club on deck for this year's challenge, which I am looking forward to.
Oh goody - I get to visit Dave's thread and leave without being hit by a book bullet.... **phew**
Have you seen the new Sherlock Holmes Mr. Gattis is writing at the moment? - very enjoyable
Eva, the first book is excellent and I hope you enjoy it when you get to it. Can't recommend it's sequel though.
Lori & @Annalisse, yes you can safely give this one a miss. There are better books out there.
Claire, I remembered your warning from after I'd read The Vesuvius Club that this one didn't match up but I picked it up fairly cheap so no harm done. Did you ever move on the Black Butterfly or did you stop after #2?
psutto, I enjoyed the first series of Sherlock last year and I have the 2 episodes of the new stored to watch at some point. Looking forward to it.
I am waiting for you review of Black Butterfly :) No seriously I was put of a bit, if I saw it cheap I might pick it up.
Prompted by Linda's celebration I thought I'd check on my own as I knew it was fast approaching and lo and behold, today (now it's after midnight) I am 6! My join date was 14th January 2006. I haven't been fully active for all those 6 years but still, the time has flown by. This site is amazing and what makes it so are the people that it is populated by. Thank you all for being here and it continues to be a pleasure to call this place home.
Happy Thingaversary!! I've never paid attention, but it looks like I'm only a few months behind you at May 26, 2006.
Happy belated Thingaversary!! Wow - 6 years! I won't hit mine until this summer when I am 4.
Happy Thingaversary, Wolfy. Like Lori, I am going to be 4 this June.
My Thingaversary was last week 1/6. 4 years for me - doesn't seem like it.
Let me add another belated Happy Thingaversary, Wolfy. (and also to majkia!)
Absolute Sandman - The Absolute Sandman Volume Two by Neil Gaiman
This volume covers issues 21-39 of the series and contains 2 main story arcs: Season of Mists and A Game of You. Both of which are excellent. The first of these sees Dream's return to Hell to right the wrong he inflicted on Nuala, the woman he loved and who spurned his offer of becoming his wife and so sentenced to eternal damnation, and free her from Lucifer's clutches. Not even sure he will succeed in his quest, even Dream is surprised by Lucifer's actions as he once again enters Hell. A Game of You features the return of Barbie (as featured in A Doll's House). The Land of her childhood dreams is in trouble and needs her to come back and save it from the Cuckoo. Dream is not so heavily featured in this one. While trying to protect her friends there her friends in the real world try to help as best they can. As well as these two major arcs we get several stand alone stories as well featuring various historical characters and situations including the self styled Emperor of the United States, we go to the time of the French Revolution with Johanna Constantine and to Ancient Rome with Emperor Augustus. We join one of The Folk on his hunt and also meet Marco Polo on his early travels.
An Absolute edition wouldn't be so without some extras and here's what's on offer this time around: A fun set of contributor biographies, a never-before-reprinted story about Destiny, articles on Sandman Month and the statue produced for the same, A Gallery of Dreams which show Dream as portrayed by various artists and the full script with original pencil drawings of issue #23. Overall a fine collection of additional material.
This book certainly belongs on the horror side of fantasy and it's definitely not for kids. There are some rather gruesome elements contained in some of these stories. I really enjoyed the Season of Mists and the majority of the singular tales. I wasn't totally enamoured with A Game of You but it's still Gaiman so was still very good. The artwork on the oversize pages is a treat and for this edition has been reworked and retouched as required. 4★'s
I've said it before - I so crave to own that set, but I just can't justify buying the books again. :( Glad to see you're enjoying!!
Oo that review is whetting my appetite for yet another reread :)
Was in a rush and forgot to post the review on the book page which I've now done.
Eva, they are not on the cheap side are they? But as I don't have any other copies I thought that with it being Gaiman then it was worth the expense.
Claire, I'll definitely be re-reading at some point as I'm sure there were lots of stuff I missed out on.
Belated congratulations on your Thingaversary!
I've enjoyed Gaiman's novels and short stories but I've not read any of graphic novels. I will have to check these out.
Happy belated Thingsgivery all of you! What a nice tradition! I have another anniversary coming up - I expect february will see my 200th review on LT.
Haven't read Sandman in over ten years. I'm with Claire, it might be high time for a reread!
Thumbed!! If I hadn't already have copies, I absolutely would spend the money for these editions!
There's a new release of the Sandman books and they're annotated. Could spend an eternity reading those.
At the risk of repeating myself: I want. I want. I want. I want. I want. I want. I want. I want. :)
I think it has been overwhelmingly proven that Amazon is indeed the master of ESP. :-)
Lost in Translation - Roseanna by Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö
The Göta Canal needs dredging as it's becoming a bit of a slog for the work and pleasure boats to pass through. When a dead body of a young woman surfaces the police think they may have caught a break as the corpse is reasonably fresh and has probably only been there a few days. Hoping to discover her identity quickly they are soon disappointed when she does not match the description of any missing person and so begins a case of dogged investigation to discover who she was before they can even think about putting together a list of potential suspects nevermind actually solving the case.
Written in 1965 the only thing that really dates this book is the technological aspect or more specifically, the lack thereof. Every step of the investigation takes time. Whether it is in dealing with other authorities in Sweden, or especially so when potential leads head out to other European countries and even America the feeling of time passing is very evident and the chances of catching the killer grow smaller with each passing chapter. This is an extremely good police procedural and starter of a ten book series with a very dogged and sombre lead detective in Martin Beck. Inspiration for the series is said to come from the likes of Ed McBain and Edgar Allan Poe but the husband & wife team have provided the groundwork for many a Scandinavian crime writer since. I doubt that fans of Henning Mankell or Arnaldur Indridason wouldn't fail to recognise elements in this book. A good starter and certainly a series I will want to continue. 4★'s
Your list of translated works is really good inspiration for my 12 in 12. I wasn't quite sure where to start for that category!
I've had some practice for that category as it's the third year it has been part of my challenge.
I had graphic novels in my challenge in 2009 and The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes was my favorite. It's a category for me in this year's challenge and nice to see your review here as I definitely want to continue with The Sandman.
I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of the books in the series and I'm glad I gave them their own category. Will be interested to see what else you read in your GN category as it's an area I want to explore more from in the future.
In Sweden they keep making TV-versions of the Martin Beck series, so I've never gotten around to reading the books. That's a lame excuse, I know, but the suspense is a bit missing now. :)
It is indeed a bit embarressing - I haven't read any of the Beck books either. I cling to the fact that a don't read a lot of crime fiction. And, like Eva, I feel that the TV movies produced by the dozen (not based on the books) sort of bring my enthusiasm down a notch. You're completely right though, Sjöwall and Wahlöö were the ones who started the whole Scandinavian way of crime writing. They were both very politically active, and decided to use a "low" genre like the crime novel to talk about political and social issues. Much like what I feel a writer like Miéville is doing with the fantasy genre right now.
If only we all had the time to read everything that we would really want to. Real life just seems to get in the way though. I hardly ever get any reading done at weekends during football season. Been watching games straight through from 1pm today.
Who are you rooting for, Dave? City, United, or another team altogether?
I'm a long suffering City fan but enjoying the good recent times. Used to go to the games but haven't for quite a while now though. Just an armchair supporter these days.
New Weird / Steampunk - Above the Snowline by Steph Swainston
This book is a prequel to the Fourlands trilogy I read last year and features Jant's early life as one of the immortal Eszai. Raven Rachiswater, brother to the king of the Awians, has been exiled to the Darkling mountains but his new manor house is purported to be in contravention to the edicts of the Emperor and has also encroached onto the hunting grounds of the Rhydanne and Shira Dellin has appealed to the Emperor for help. He sends Jant back with Dellin in order to mediate a truce and find out what is really going on in Darkling.
The story is told from the point of view of whoever is the main focus for the current chapter so the reader gets to see the motivations of each of the main players throughout and each has their own distinctive voice. The world is beautifully portrayed and imagined and nothing really feels out of place, even when our own modern day accoutrements invade what seems to be a fairly standard fantasy setting. The different facets of the plot are interwoven nicely as the story builds to the climactic ending. There are some quite grisly scenes portrayed in this book and details of animal butchery is probably not the worst of it but if you can handle that kind of detail then this and the aforementioned trilogy are definitely worth a visit. 4★'s
and above the snowline is already on my WL so I dodge the book bullet (sort of) this time
Even though Above the snowline is a prequel it's probably a good thing to read The Castle books first. This book assumes you know a bit about some characters and races and places. Good review, Dave!
So, how many books bullets did I just get hit with if I want to read Above the Snowline and the Castle books????? Maybe you better not tell me, I have a sneaking suspicion I have been hit enough times to be in critical condition.......
"4 book bullets = ICU for the next 48 hours for recovery"
They went on my wishlist too, so I'll join you!
At least you'll have books to keep you company while waiting for the surgery team :)
Omnibus Editions - The Books of the South by Glen Cook
The remnants of the Black Company, led by Croaker, are heading southwards. Lady is now a fully fledged member and the Company is picking up new recruits as it moves. Croaker is determined to head on down to Khatovar which, rumour has it, is the origin of the original Black Company so it will be good to see where it all began. On the way they get conjoined into a local conflict as there's no way of going around to get where they want to go. Some familiar faces turn up as adversaries most of which were left for dead in previous encounters.
That campaign takes up the first two books of this collection and feels very much like a rehash of the previous stories collected in The Chronicles of the Black Company which I'd read a couple of years ago. Glad I'd put some distance between the books.
The third story takes a diversion in following those that were left behind when some good-for-nothings decide it might be a good idea to steal The Silver Spike which contains the essences of The Dominator and sell it to the highest bidder. The Limper is resurrected in this one and Raven chases after him while he goes after Lady. Bomanz also feels the disturbance in the natural order of things and goes off to fetch Darling and bring the forces of the Tree God into the fray.
The tales still have a part of what made the first collection so good about them only suffering in the freshness but there are still moments to really get your teeth into in all three of these stories. With that in mind I will pick up the next collection at some point. 3★'s
Continuations - The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde
My first encounter with Mr. Fforde's work didn't set my reading buds tingling but as I already had the sequel to The Big Over Easy I thought I'd give it another go as I do like the concept idea of poking fun at the crime/mystery genre. The Nursery Crimes series certainly does that with the NCD (Nursery Crimes Division) of the Reading police investigating various cases which include competitive cucumber growing, unlicensed porridge deals amongst the bear population & the disappearance of Goldilocks. The one case that wasn't given to the department though was the escape of the notorious Gingerbread Man. Seven foot of psychotic, mass-murdering biscuit (or should that be cake) is once again loose on the streets and despite being one of the officers to catch him last time, Jack Spratt can't officially get involved and has been put on sick leave pending a psych evaluation after events in his last case didn't exactly go that well. Red Riding Hood and her grandmother didn't appear to enjoy being eaten by the big bad wolf apparently.
The humour in the book seemed to gel with me more this time around but I think it was also that the narrative flowed better that made this one more enjoyable than the last. The characters were fleshed out some more and the off-the-job asides were well interjected. Punch and Judy as new neighbours anyone? Or perhaps having qualms about going on a date with an alien. Problems that Jack and Mary Mary have to deal with in their respective home lives. A third book is due in about 2014 and I now feel much happier about continuing with this series and will pick that one up when it's released. 3½★'s
I have the first two in that series and now that I know that a third (and final) is coming, I can look at them in the bookcase without feeling guilty since I clearly can't read them until the series is complete... :)
Starter for 10 - The Gunslinger by Stephen King
First book in the sprawling epic of The Dark Tower series that took 12 years to write. We follow the titular anti-hero as he chases after the Man in Black. Various encounters along the way give him clues as to what to expect when he finally catches up to him. We also learn some of the Gunslinger's past through flashback sequences or telling parts of his tale to others that he meets or travels with. Lots of foreshadowing of events to come later on in the series make this a decent starter book. I will pick up the 2nd book and see where it leads. 3★'s
@95 - I read the gunslinger series a few years ago - I'd read the first many years ago and enjoyed it and eventually got round to reading the rest. I only have the first on my shelf still, the series is very uneven and has that horrible "I started this series x years ago and put it aside then went back to it later after some books have been in print for a while" feel - i.e. the later books are different to the earlier books....
Seven foot of psychotic, mass-murdering biscuit... I resent that! ;-)
#96 I have to agree with psutto. The first few books are great, but the last few felt like King just wanted to end the series. I still have them all and I have preordered a prequel coming out in a few months. I did enjoy the ending. Very clever.
Lost in Translation - Almost Transparent Blue by Ryū Murakami
An almost stream of consciousness account of a sex and drug fuelled passage in time of a group of young Japanese late-teens/early twenty-somethings. We follow their hedonistic lifestyle of partying hard and the subsequent crash and burn of the comedown afterwards. There is no plot and definitely no moralistic standpoint either. There are, of course, moments of introspection for the almost detached protagonist that we follow along with but you are never quite sure how much his vision is clouded by the degenerate lifestyle he leads.
An award winning début novel that is a very short and quick read. Not one I could recommend due to the subject matter and gratuitousness of the content. Not my favourite of those that I've read so far from the other Murakami but far and away not the worst. 3½★'s
Ah, thanks for the loan of your book-bulletproof vest. I needed that. The plot or lack thereof description sounds familiar, so I know I've almost put Almost Transparent Blue on my WL before.
Claire, Miso is still my favourite too. Haven't given up on the hope of finding another just as good but I would put Almost Transparent Blue at the better end of the line of his books that I've read so far. The others being Piercing and Audition.
Katie, some scenes are also quite graphically depicted. It's not a pleasant read but it was one I'm glad to have picked up.
Tickling the Funny Bone - Shooting Sean by Colin Bateman
This is the 4th book in the Dan Starkey series and while it's not quite up there with my love of Christopher Brookmyre offerings this one is probably the closest yet. This time around Dan is hired to write a book on local boy turned Hollywood star Sean O'Toole preferably finished just in time for Sean's funeral. Dan's employer has taken it for granted that the target of Sean's newest film project will take a certain amount of umbridge and take care of the arrangements sooner rather than later. Being that Michael O'Ryan was one of the biggest mass killers known to patriotism Dan thinks he might not be far wrong. Things start off well for Dan but you just know that with his track record there will be trouble just around the corner. 4★'s
Short Stories and Anthologies - Tales for Canterbury Edited by Cassie Hart and Anna Caro
This collection of 34 tales released as a charitable venture to raise money for the Christchurch earthquake victims is split into three sections, Survival, Hope and Future. Each of the stories fits well into one of these places. As I've never really been a fan of the short story oeuvre I felt that most of this collection exemplified what I feel in that there just isn't enough within each story to grab you into the tale. The length and quality of the entries varies quite a bit but there were only 2 or 3 of the whole that I didn't really like at all. Most of the collection sits happily under the speculative fiction banner with some outright science fiction and others on the edges of fantasy, new weird and cyberpunk. The only one that didn't seem to fit was a tale of arranged marriage that fits firmly in the Bronte period. Coincidentally, it was also the one I most disliked. The two longest contributions were also the ones I liked best, one from Jeff Vandermeer confirmed a place on my wishlist and the other from Gwyneth Jones added a new entry to that list. Other authors who I now want to read more from include Jesse Bullington, Brenda Cooper, RJ Astruc, Lynne Jamneck and Angel Leigh McCoy. There are some others that I wouldn't be averse to reading more from but they don't quite make the actively seeking list.
Overall this is a decent collection of stories and one I'm happy to recommend (especially as it's for charity). 3½★'s
Sounds like a great collection. I do want to try Jessie Bullington's The Enterprise of Death but I have heard that The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart is all over the place and not very good. hmm.
and yes you should read Jeff Vandermeer! I would start with eclectic collection of City of Saints and Madmen
I third it. I'm fairly certain you'd enjoy VanderMeer a lot. And in my humble opinion, sensationally good as City of saints and medmen is, it only gets better from there. Shriek: an afterword is so smart and all things amazing my head swims.
Thanks you three. City of Saints and Madmen is the one that's on the wishlist but never found it cheap enough to pick up as a trial for a new author. Gonna have to bite that particular bullet soon though I think.
I'm with you, I have a really hard time with short stories as well. The last one I read was Looking for Jake and I read one story at a time, inbetween other books and that is probably the only way for me to get through and enjoy a collection.
It took me the better part of 2 months to get through the book. Hardly ever read more than 1 of the stories at a time even though some were less than a handful of pages. Looking at my options for that category and considering it's not my favourite medium then I seem to have accumulated a fair few.
A clickety on the "short story" tag for my library yields 102, so I too accumulate more than I read, apparently. :)
Continuations - Half the Blood of Brooklyn by Charlie Huston
This is the third in the Joe Pitt vampire/noir series of books so if you're thinking of reading these it might be a good idea to miss out the next paragraph if you want to avoid potential spoilers as it is definitely one best read in order.
Now working for The Society, Joe is sent to Brooklyn on a recruitment mission. Something big is brewing and his boss, Terry, wants some new allies to help when it comes down. As Manhattan is pretty much squared off that leaves over the bridge and Joe is sent to bring back a representative from a clan called the Freaks. Even by vampyre standards these guys really do deserve their name. But with Joe being involved events don't transpire smoothly and he finds himself caught up in a local family squabble. Along with that little problem he also has the ongoing struggle of his rapidly dying Aids infected girlfriend to deal with. The decision to try and replace one disease with another is rapidly approaching and there's no guarantee that she'll survive the process or be happy about the outcome if she does. Added to all this is the complication of Amanda, the girl Joe saved in the last book. She wants to use her inheritance to find a cure for the vyrus and she wants Joe to be a part of it. So there's quite a lot going on in this book and I've not even mentioned the usual complications of The Coalition or Enclave dealings that Joe has.
Despite having quite a few blood and guts moments I feel this book is more of a set-up novel for the remainder of the series and although it leaves you wanting to jump into the next book to find out what happens next I think I'll wait until I have the final volume on tap as well before I do. 4★'s
Continuations - Fables: The Deluxe Edition Book Four by Bill Willingham
Book four is split into 3 sections and oversees the changeover of administration of Fabletown as well as seeing the departure of a few characters for their own adventures. It kicks off with a two-parter called War Stories in a kind of homage to the Commando books I used to read in my youth. It deals with one of the missions Bigby undertook during WWII to invade a Nazi castle and take care of rumoured experiments to make a secret weapon. The second section, The Mean Seasons, deals with Snow White gives birth, the mayoral election and the changes that ensue afterwards. Time flies in this four-parter and by the end we reach a one-year birthday party for Snow & Bigby's kids. The final section is not part of the ongoing story arc of The Adversary but a companion piece that sees Snow White being sent to another Fables realm as an envoy to drum up support for the forthcoming invasion. Arriving at the Arabian Fables world she is treated almost like a prisoner. Finally, after many entreaties and demands, she gets to meet the sultan who intends to make her his bride for a night and then dispose of her in the morning as he has done with so many other treacherous females. Snow manages to put off the grisly deed by relating a tale to the sultan each night thus earning a stay of execution. "This sounds familiar", I hear you cry and yes, this is basically a precursor to Scheherazade though Snow relates tales from Fabletown characters' pasts. We learn of what happened to Snow White and the dwarves after Prince Charming came along, a tale of Renard the fox, the frog prince, the meeting of Bigby's mother and father, an event from the bunny wars, Frau Totenkinder's past, an adventurous woman who just wants to see all the world has to offer and how King Cole became so respected.
While the first two sections of this book continue in similar vein to the previous books of the series the third part is quite a bit more dark and gruesome. Some of these tales deal with the spoils of war, baby sacrifice and other similar occurrences. I have said before that this is not a series for kids but I think this volume raises the bar another notch. You have been warned! Having said that I still enjoyed the tales that were set out here. The insights into certain characters' past lives are appreciated and gives meaning to how they got to be where they were at the start of this series. It's a shame that some major characters have now left Fabletown but this will allow them to have greater adventures on the outside so I look forward to seeing how they do.
There's not much room for extras in this book but they do manage to include some pencil drawings and artwork from Mark Buckingham as well as biographies of all those who worked on the included stories. Roll on book five. 4★'s
Absolute Sandman - The Absolute Sandman Volume Three by Neil Gaiman
Covers issues 40 to 56 of the Sandman series as well as The Song of Orpheus special. Featured in this volume are two main story arcs, Brief Lives and World's End as well as a couple of other single-shot stories. The Song of Orpheus is a prequel of sorts to Brief Lives and we learn how the son of the Lord of Dreams ends up in the state he was in when featured in the last volume and of the estrangement he has with his father. Brief Lives has Delirium enlisting Dream's help in searching for their missing brother. Having being turned down first by Desire and then Despair, Delirium turns to Dream expecting the same rebuttal but is surprised when he agrees to assist. Dream, of course, has reasons of his own for going on the quest. World's End has many a tale to tell when travellers find themselves sheltering in an inn of that name to avoid the worst from a very strange storm. The other stories are The Parliament of Rooks which features Cain and Abel and Eve telling tales to a human child and Ramadan which is Gaiman's homage to the Arabian Nights.
Extras: There are a couple of galleries which feature different representations of the Endless by other artists, a short story of Desire, a feature on other products available from the Sandman range, a couple of pages on hoe the Little Endless became a fan hit, the script and thumbnails for Ramadan and a feature on the subsequent products created from that story. An afterword from Neil Gaiman and the biographies of those who worked on these issues round everything off.
Loved pretty much everything in this collection and it moves into my favourite of the 3 editions I've read so far. 5★'s
It's the same series. Absolute editions just collect several volumes of the original into one package. The artwork is often retouched and/or recoloured with author and artist approval. It's also printed on a higher quality paper and larger than the original with a faux-leather cover and a hard slip-case to keep them in. There is always bonus material (such as described in my review). If you already have the series then it's probably not worth buying again unless you have plenty of cash burning a hole in your pocket as they don't come cheap. They've also just started releasing an annotated version (see Msg69 for details and preview) which might interest some.
My 1st Sandman was Worlds End, such a late point in the series but a great place to start really, stories within stories and all that. I keep toying with getting the absolute series but I already have them so I am not sure I can justify the cost.
New Weird / Steampunk - The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
What happens when fossil fuels have been exhausted and bio-engineering has led to plagues ravaging the globe after global warming has become a reality instead of just the fear hanging over our own time? While calorie companies try to control the world's staple foods and keep up with the constantly mutating diseases that threaten to engulf everyone, they are constantly searching for new seed-banks to supplement their own stocks. One such seed-bank is located in the Kingdom of Thailand and this has managed to keep them from under the sway of the company men that desperately want in. The story is set during a time of political unrest in the Kingdom, almost all the officials are corrupt and the two main parties are at odds. The Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Trade want to head off in different directions and the company men see this as an opportunity for a way in.
Meanwhile, the titular Windup Girl, a genetically engineered servile creature, has been abandoned by her former master and is suffering every degradation known to man (and woman) in a pleasure house as a novelty attraction. If the wrong people find her then she will be destroyed but circumstances come to a head for her personally and the country as a whole when her previously unknown self-preservation programming is triggered after a particularly brutal night she spends in the company of an important political figure.
The world building is excellent for the microcosm of the setting. Characters are all well fleshed out and believable in their actions, no-one is truly good but all follow their own motivations for what they do. After a slightly slow start the action really hots up and I felt compelled to keep reading and fairly rushed through this book and devoured its content. I will certainly look forward to reading more from this author. 4½★'s
Great review Dave.... The Windup Girl was quite the interesting page-turning read for me as well!
Now that I have posted my review, I have come around to read yours. I had a very similar reaction to yours. I found it a slow start and often had to re-read pages for them to sink in, but then about halfway through, it just seems to take off and I couldn't leave it alone. I will certainly be looking for more from this author.
#121 - Lori, now I am off to read yours as well.
All I'm hearing is about the fantastic world building and the realisticly flawed characters tells me that I will love Windup - can't wait to get to it!
> 116 Brief lives is one of my favorite Sandman stories. I just love Delirium! I really must get down to re-reading the series one of these days. Can't say I remember much of World's End. And even though I've read many parts of the series both two and three times, I don't think I've ever read the whole thing in order.
I was very stoked at reading The Wind-up girl when it came, until a few luke warm reviews put me off a little bit. Your review has rekindled my interest. Thanks!
I gave the wind-up girl an average review last summer although my comment was I do wonder if I’d found this without hearing so much hype if I’d enjoyed it more?
I also found it a slow start with not much happening until about half way through the book...
> 126 - You have hit the very reason I tend to avoid most books as soon as they come out that have a lot of hype attached to them... I am usually disappointed, just like I am with some prize winners but that, of course, is a different story! No hype does give the reader freer reign to establish their own judgements/opinions....
My Very Own Menagerie - Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore
Samson Hunts Alone had to leave the Crow reservation because he killed a cop so now he goes by the name of Samuel Hunter and lives in Santa Barbara as a very successful insurance salesman. At the time he meets and falls madly in lust with Calliope, Sam's long forgotten spirit helper also makes a re-appearance in his life. Coyote, the trickster, causes nothing but turmoil in Sam's life and he's quickly about to lose everything he's worked hard to attain. His home, his job and even his very freedom are jeopardised at the arrival of Coyote. But when Calliope leaves to chase after her ex and father of their child who has taken their son on a motorcycle rally, Sam realises his feelings are much deeper and follows after to help her get him back. For this he needs the trickster's help and that story is never going to end well.
Mixing a lot of different myths and mythology along the way this is an amusing tale of self-discovery with some interesting characters met along the way. Having previously read A Dirty Job it was good to see the back-story from a character featured in that novel and a cameo appearance of another from a few other of Moore's work. As with his other books that I've read, the humour is quite irreverent so I do not advise reading this if you think it might offend your religious sensibilities. I kind of liked it though. 3½★'s
Continuations - Every Last Drop and My Dead Body by Charlie Huston
Thought I might as well read the last two of the Joe Pitt series back to back and I'm glad I did. The fourth book is more of a set up book for the fifth rather than just a stand-alone story in its own right. This unfortunately weakens the overall effect for book four. It's basically just Joe getting beat up by every one who has a gripe about how things have gone previously and as he's got under the skin of just about everyone of any import in the past then that's a lot of trouble in store. By the end of the book, Joe has just about managed to turn everyone's attention to each other rather than focusing on him.
My Dead Body picks up a year later but things haven't settled down too much. Joe is still persona non grata so he's hiding out until an old acquaintance manages to locate him and asks him to look for his missing daughter. He also provides the motivation for Joe to get involved in events once again. A lot happens in this book that is similar to the previous with just the level of violence ratcheted up a notch. Joe is once again forced to play each side off the others to get what he wants but he doesn't come out of each encounter unscathed. Can he fend off every one who wants a piece of him to get to his ultimate goal?
These two books are not quite as good as the previous three but they do provide a decent enough conclusion to the series. Joe Pitt as a lead character was starting to become a bit tiresome but I'm certainly glad to have read the series overall. Every Last Drop and My Dead Body both get 3½★'s.
I've only read Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings, but I do have quite a few of Moore's books in the shelves and I'll be adding Coyote Blue to the wishlist - sounds fun!
Ah, another positive review for The Windup Girl! I really need to move this up in my TBR list.
@-Eva-, It's still possible I might read at least another of his works this year. We'll see how it pans out.
Paulina, Hope You enjoy it as much as most of us did in the group read.
Book Watch - True Grit by Charles Portis
This book has spawned two movies (both pretty good, imo) with the latest being a particularly faithful adaptation. Unfortunately, the John Wayne version seems to be responsible for the book no longer being regarded required reading for English class (at least according to the introduction in my copy provided by Donna Tartt) right up there with Walt Whitman and Nathaniel Hawthorne. I think the story will be familiar to most so I'll just provide a quick outline here. Mattie Ross, a fourteen-year-old daughter of murdered Frank Ross goes seeking justice/revenge for the crime and employs the most ornery of the US marshals to track down the killer and they set off in company of a Texas Ranger, also on the man's trail, to bring back the man for a hanging.
The tale is told by Mattie when she is a much older woman recalling the events from the adventure of a lifetime and remains true to the vernacular of the time and is filled with surprisingly humorous moments. It is a very quick read with strong characters with a good sense of time and place. Recommended to fans of westerns in general or either of the film versions in particular. 4★'s.
"spawned two movies"
I've somehow managed to miss both of them, although the latest version is on Mt. TBW. Maybe I'll just go straight for the book instead. :)
It's on my shelf awaiting a read another positive review bumps it up he list
Masterworks - Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick
What happens when you wake up and find out you no longer officially exist when you live in a police state? This is what Jason Taverner, a singer who also has his own TV show, finds the answer to when, after an encounter with a former protégé, he wakes up in a flea-pit hotel room with no identity cards and where no-one, for the first time in 20 years, recognises his face. His agent totally disavows all knowledge of him as does his current lover and fellow singer, Heather Hart. Along with Heather, Jason has another secret that if anyone found out would see them sent to a forced labour camp. They are Sixes, the product of top secret government experiments 40 years earlier but now there's not many of them left.
Is the memory of his life up until this point just a sham and he's gone insane? Is it a plot to discredit him? Has someone found out his secret and now it's just a matter of time until his internment at one of those camps? Jason sets out to get some answers and also to get his life back along the way.
The feel of this book is very reminiscent of The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester examining the question of who a person really is. Written in 1974 and set in a 1980's dystopian future some of the technology is a little dated but the amount of ideas contained in this short novel more than make up for that. This is a very quick and readable story with interesting characters but does have a slightly weak ending but very enjoyable all the same. 4★'s.
Very good review of Flow my tears... You have to admire Dick's boldness when it comes to weaving a plot! Can't remember the ending of the book, though. Figures, I guess!
1st quarter summary
A total of 20 books for the first quarter keeps me just on target to complete the challenge. Only one really large book included though and there were a few shorter ones that might mean a drop off over the coming months. Only one 5★ read but plenty of 4 & 4½★’s were given and nothing below 3★'s so overall it’s been pretty good.
1. Sadistic Desire (0 of 1)
2. Drain (1 of 2)
3. Dahlia (1 of 3)
4. Silent Jealousy (1 of 4)
5. Art of Life (2 of 5)
6. Rusty Nail (2 of 6)
7. Joker (1 of 7)
8. Scars (1 of 8)
9. Kurenai (2 of 9)
10. X (1 of 10)
11. Forever Love (2 of 11)
12. Endless Rain (6 of 12)
The Absolute Sandman Volume Three by Neil Gaiman
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Roseanna by Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo
The Devil in Amber by Mark Gatiss
The Gunslinger by Stephen King
The Books of the South by Glen Cook
I missed your review of The Books of the South ... doesn't bode well for my eventual reading of the Black Company books.
Great review of Flow My Tears, might start with one when I read Dick, one day.. been promising to try him long enough.
Clif, it was just that the 2nd collection suffered in comparison to the first as the stories seemed to just follow the same pattern as the earlier with the same enemies resurrected rather than new ones to offer up originality. I still plan on picking up the next omnibus at some point so it can't have been that bad really.
Claire, I wouldn't have a problem in recommending Flow My Tears or The Man in the High Castle as PKD starter's.
Nice review of Flow My Tears. I'd read several of Dick's books many years ago and liked them very much, but I've not read this one. Perhaps it's time for me to rediscover Philip Dick.
Thanks! I probably should try one of his weirder efforts at some point as so far I've restricted myself to the more accessible of his books.
Book Watch - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
A lot has already been said about this book so I'm not going to go through the story here. I will say that it was a very engaging read and easy to stay with for that one more chapter. Similarities do exist between this and Battle Royale but you could say that about any number of books. There is enough room within the basic framework for different enough stories to emerge and that is what I found to be the case here. The world-building is pretty good and you can see how each of the district tributes have their own particular strengths and weaknesses because of the environments in which they live. It's a shame that some of the characters themselves weren't as fleshed out but as the action centred around Katniss then this is to be expected. Any more would probably have slowed down the pacing of the story and that is where this book really shines. Even when you get a lull in the action there is no real feel to any slowing down of the reading experience and that does the author credit.
An enjoyable YA dystopian story that was very easy to become ensnared within. 4½★
@-Eva-, I think that Flow My Tears might just be a better option. I know that I've read Androids but just can't remember much of the book because the movie made from the story just blots out my recollection of it. You won't have that problem if you choose one of his works that haven't been adapted as yet.
Edit for spelling
That's a good point - I have seen Blade Runner and, even though it was quite a while ago, I do absolutely have expectations on the text.
Thanks for your review of The Hunger Games Dave. I am still sitting on the fence about that series but keep edging closer and closer to considering reading it........
>148 I think I agree. Other good starting points could be Ubik or the aforementioned The man in the high castle.
I've gotten behind on my threads. A lot of great reviews here! Thanks for reminding me that True Grit has been on my WL since the Coen brother movie came out. I knew I wanted to read it when one of the actors said they read the book and thought "this reads just like a Coen brother's script." I heard most of the dialog for the move was taken verbatim from the book, which is very unusual. Most of the time movies can't even take the plot straight from the original book, let alone the dialog.
I've got Demolished Man on mount TBR, & after reading The Three Stigmata..., I'm feeling PKD deserves more of my time. Alas, most of my SF slots have already been used for the year!!! I'll have to find a way to squish them into other categories. & I have to say, destroying his identity is polite for a police state! I reading a book set during Trujillo's regime. If they wanted you gone, you were gone.
One more point on PKD. Don't go into any of his books expecting what was in the film adaptation. Most of the movies vary wildly in how they follow the original story with often just the basic plot idea being used only.
Lori, it's good YA stuff
Katie, the Coen brothers adaptation is certainly very true to the book and if you've seen and liked it then you'll enjoy the book. More PKD would not be a bad thing, neither would reading the Bester book.
Totally agree on your comments about PKD - I love Do Androids and Blade Runner - but I look at Blade Runner as "inspired by" the book rather than as an adaptation. & hopefully, I'll get to True Grit & Bester at least by the end of 13 in 13. :)
"Don't go into any of his books expecting what was in the film adaptation"
Yes, I think that's what I would do if I read Androids, so I'll just pick one of his books I haven't seen.
Continuations - Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Avoid these comments if you haven't yet read the first book and intend to and want to avoid spoilers.
Continuation and completion of The Hunger Games trilogy. In the 2nd book, the author manages to expand the world building amid political upheaval caused by the actions at the end of the 1st book. To regain control and stop the unrest President Snow threatens Katniss with pain and suffering to all she cares for if she can't stop the uprising of the Districts by not being the figurehead that the rebels want her to be. A special Quarter Quell Games are due so when everything Katniss tries backfires she once again finds herself along with Peeta competing in the Hunger Games only this time they will be facing other winners from previous years. Can Katniss get what she wants and help Peeta survive even at the expense of her own life and how will these games affect the outside world?
The 3rd book sees the revolution in full swing and Katniss and the rest of the survivors from book 2 are being used by the rebels to front the propaganda war. Katniss becomes disillusioned with her role and wants to be where the action really is and maybe get her chance at removing President Snow from the picture once and for all. There's quite a slow start to this book with Katniss' recovery time followed by the readjustment to her new role before the action heats up once again.
These books, like the first, are very easy to read and while they do have some lulls in the action once it starts it usually runs along at breakneck speed. I'm not sure that the ending really did justice to the rest of the series and some of the more prominent deaths could have been given more emotional impact. I'm still glad to have completed the series and will more than likely get round to watching the movie adaptation at some point. Catching Fire 4★'s, Mockingjay 3½★'s.
I'd be interested in hearing what you think of the movie when you get around to watching it. I'd enjoyed the books so much that I was sure the movie would be a disappointment, but I was pleasantly surprised.
I skipped you're review as I plan to start book 2 soon - in the next couple of weeks. But I did notice the stars.
I read Hunger Games before the other parts came out, so I didn't realize it was part of a trilogy and I'm slightly resenting the series because of it. I will read the whole thing eventually, I suppose. Or I'll just wait until the all of them are made into films... :)
Starter for Ten - The Devil You Know by Mike Carey
Felix 'Fix' Castor can see ghosts and other things that go bump in the night. He's not the only one but he does have a talent of moving them on. He should too considering he's an exorcist though due to an unfortunate occurrence he's kind of given up. Circumstances intervene however and he's forced to take on another case. The Bonnington Archive is being haunted by the ghost of a young woman and she seems to have turned nasty and Fix has come personally recommended to get rid of her. It seems to be a straightforward job and despite warnings to the contrary he takes on the assignment and sets to work trying to get a handle on the spirit. But the thing is with those seemingly straightforward jobs is that they quite often aren't. This one proves to be no exception.
This is the first in an urban fantasy series so there is quite a lot of setting up involved throughout the narrative. Back-story to be created, recurring characters to be introduced etc. but there is enough interest in the tale to make you want to carry on as it unfolds. Good pacing makes the story flow and the action set-pieces are nicely written too with plenty of humorous patter thrown in for good measure. Will definitely be on the lookout for the next in the series. 4★'s
Tickling the Funny Bone - Past Mortem by Ben Elton
Detective Inspector Edward Newson has been friendzoned by his rather attractive sergeant, Natasha Wilkie, and has to settle for covert glimpses of her shapely legs and hope she doesn't notice. Natasha's taste in men seem to run to the typical bad boy type and being a 5'4" ginger and all-round nice guy, Ed feels his chances are pretty close to zero for elevating that status. While investigating their newest case, a pretty grisly murder of a brute of a man, Ed is feeling a bit lonely so decides to look into his past and see how his old schoolmates are doing in the hope of reconnecting with the class queen, Christine Copperfield, whom he spent one glorious week with back in the class of '88. He manages to reconnect with a couple of people via the Friends Reunited website and creates a profile there for himself. Not long after he does there are a few more that join up too and one of those is Christine and it seems she want to organise a class reunion. Dare Ed get his hopes up for something more?
Meanwhile, back on the investigation, it seems like a few more cases have turned up that might relate to the one Ed & Natasha are working on but there's not too many clues as to the identity of the killer. Can they solve the mystery before another victim turns up dead? How will his burgeoning social life and interest in the past affect Ed's investigating technique?
Not really a laugh out loud comedy offering from Mr. Elton this time around, as this one is more of a social commentary, though there are genuine moments of mirth especially in the exchanges between Ed and Natasha. The mystery element isn't that hard to figure out but there are a couple of twists to throw the reader off the scent. Those of delicate sensibilities should give this one a miss as the murders are not for the faint-hearted and there is one particularly sordid and gratuitous sex scene described quite vividly. Personally though, I did enjoy this book and I do like the author more as a writer than I ever did as a comedian. 4★'s
Nice review of The Devil You Know by Mike Carey.
Gosh I haven't read any Ben Elton for many years, for some reason I want to go and watch Blackadder again now :)
Book Watch - I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore*
Nine children and their guardians were sent to Earth to escape the world-ending devastation being wrought on Lorien by the Mogadorians. They manage to evade capture and death by continuing to move from one place to another and keeping a low profile wherever they go. Any hint of danger and they move on again, changing identities as they go. Three of the children have been caught and this story centres around the fourth in line (they must be killed in order) as he assumes the identity of John Smith in the small Ohio town of Paradise. John is just coming into his legacy where he gains special powers which he must also keep hidden. Starting at his new school John quickly attracts the attention of Sarah which also brings the unwanted baggage of her former boyfriend and top jock who isn't quite happy with the former part of that relationship.
This was quite a fast paced read and although aimed at a much younger audience than myself I found it quite enjoyable. The tension mounts with each passing chapter that John remains in Paradise and you know that discovery can only be moments away. The allure of a normal life holds a great attraction for him though and he is loathe to leave his burgeoning life behind. 3½★'s.
*Pseudonym of James Frey and Jobie Hughes
James Frey? As in Million Little Pieces-James Frey? LT's author page has three Freys and I can't tell which is which. :)
Yep, that's him. At least according to Wikipedia anyway. I've not read any of his or Jobie Hughes' other books so can't say how much each contributed to this or the follow-up books.
I've not read anything by Frey either and only know of him because of the Million Little Pieces-kerfuffle. This sounded very different to that whole mess, though. :)
New Weird / Steampunk - City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer
This was not an easy book to read and think it's going to be even harder to review. It sometimes reads as a history book and sometimes as normal fiction. Each part of the book is quite different to the others but the work must be read in its entirety to fully appreciate each of the elements. The whole really sucks you in to the fictional city of Ambergris as you travel through the history, geography and characters contained in the stories and other items contained here. The author has really put some work (even managing successfully to insert himself as a character) in to create this world and the detail is quite stunning. I'm definitely looking forward to continuing with this series and probably any other book that Mr. VanderMeer has been involved with. 4½★'s
Well, I am intrigued by City of Saints and Madmen. My local library has a number of books by VanderMeer but not this one so it will have to reside on the more casual Books of Interest list.
I love the rich, varied City of Saints and Madmen (well apart from the average 1st story) and I have always wished it would be reprinted as a luscious illustrated version. I do like the other books in the loose trilogy, all so different from each but still good.
Lori: Shriek: An Afterword is a great novel & I think could be read by itself without problem, or there is his 1st book Veniss Underground which quite good if not brilliant.
Oh and there's free online comic based his The Situation over at http://www.tor.com/stories/2012/01/the-situation
Hooray for VanderMeer love! But I think I disagree with you, Claire, when it comes to Shriek: an afterword as a standalone. It's my favorite of the Ambergris books, but don't you think one would want the background on the Grey Caps and their disappearance before reading it? I would recommend reading them in order - even if City of saints and madmen isn't a story per se.
An illustrated version of City of Saints and madmen, keeping with the concept of a design elaborately different for each part, would indeed be to die for.
Well I will concede it would be less rich and nuanced but from reviews people seem to get on ok and if you cant get hold of the 1st one it would be a shame to miss. Finch however I think would just be mystifying. I think we may need to experiment on an unsuspecting LT reader :-)
If I recall correctly, Lori, you liked Miéville's Bas-Lag books, so I'd say there is a very good chance you'll like Ambergris.
City of Saints and Madmen is already on the wishlist, so happy to have dodged a bullet - I'm looking forward to getting to it!
Thanks all. Oh! I forgot to say that I didn't bother deciphering the encoded story. Did anybody? I should probably google to see if it's there.
Lori & Eva, hope you enjoy it as much as I did when you get to it.
It's the end of The Strange Case of X. Just a list of numbers which probably refer to page & word numbers but I haven't got the patience to give it a try right now.
Oh no there is one than one edition! The 3rd one had the story decrypted and it was called "The Man Who Had No Eyes" . I am going to have to look later and see which one I have.
Anyway to cheat http://www.oivas.com/ambergris/man.html and follow the link..
Yay for more VanderMeer fans :-)
We do have the one with the encrypted story
I'm happy that mr VanderMeer had problems publishing novellas so invented the format for city of saints and madmen to get it published :-)
Lots of nods to Borges and Nabakov too which is nice
Lots of nods to Borges and Nabakov too which is nice
I'm sad to say that my reading to date includes neither of those worthies. Something I'll have to rectify at some point.
Starter for Ten - Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard
An awkward start to the story sees Johannes Cabal try to get his soul back from Satan to whom he exchanged it for necromantic skills. Satan agrees by way of a wager, Johannes must get a hundred souls to exchange for his own with a time limit set for one year. Satan will furnish a carnival to help him in his undertaking. If he wins the bet then Johannes gets his soul back, if he fails then he loses his life. By chapter three things pick up a little with the arrival of Johannes' brother, Horst, and chapter four had me laughing out loud at one point and by then I was hooked. Johannes is a driven character, not particularly that likeable, but often darkly humorous and the ending gives reason to his obsession with death and trying to outwit it. As the year passes and the souls are collected the tension rises can Johannes collect the 100 that he needs and at what cost? Will Satan ever play fair? (easiest question in the world to answer) And how will it all turn out as the year reaches its conclusion?
So, a lead character who isn't particularly a nice chap yet you end up rooting for him in his quest which is quite an achievement by the author and is mainly achieved by the dark and intelligent humour. A lot of the back story is only hinted at or quickly glossed over as are the actual collection of the majority of souls but this makes for a quick read and you don't feel short changed with these at all. I will certainly be continuing with the series as it will be interesting to follow the further adventures of this particular necromancer. 4★'s
Very nice review! Rooting for a character collecting souls for Satan seems like quite an achievement, yes!
picked that up and wondered a few times, may give it a go now from that review :-)
Wait, so which edition of City of Saints and Madmen should I get?? I want the one with the coded story (3rd ed?), but the 2nd edition has an extra story on the cover?? What? :)
ETA: Never mind, I want that shiny hardback from Prime! :)
Darn it all - Johannes Cabal the Necromancer looks good and my library has this one and book two in the series..... looks like I am adding another series to my reading! ;-)
There's nothing earth shattering about the Johannes Cabal book but it is a fun read.
Well, outwitting the devil has been done to death, but hey Johannes Cabal looks like a reason to flirt with death again. WL. May not get to it soon, but it sounds like a good one for the WL, and a good deal for the devil. He's counting on 101 souls I'm sure.
May not get to it soon, but it sounds like a good one for the WL
Well do I know the too many books not enough reading time dilemma.
Catching up on threads. Darn! I missed the PKD discussion!
Glad you enjoyed The Devil You Know...
My Very Own Menagerie - Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov
Viktor is a frustrated aspiring author but his short stories are often too short and any sign of a novel is so distant it might as well be the other side of the world. And that's pretty much where his constant companion, Misha the penguin, comes from. The zoo couldn't afford to keep all their animals and asked the public to take some off their hands so that's how Viktor and Misha came together. One day Viktor gets a job offer from a local paper. They liked his writing style though couldn't publish a story he'd submitted but thought his technique suited a new kind of obituary they wanted to try. Viktor starts writing them for notable personages that aren't quite dead yet so doesn't immediately see the fruits of his labour and it's only when one of those he's written about dies in suspicious circumstances that Viktor gets an inkling of what his new position is all about. His fears are increased when one of the people who provide his work asks him to take care of his daughter as he has to disappear for a while. After no immediate reappearance occurs, this necessitates the employing of a nanny to help him look after the little girl and so a family unit is born. When this family starts to become more of a reality will Viktor start questioning what he does for a living? And what will it get him if he does?
This fairly bleak story is riddled with dark humour. Set in the post-Soviet era Kiev with a lot of political manoeuvring (off-stage) which affects the main protagonists life dramatically but he seems to readily accept his situation no matter how much he's put upon. He tries to make the best of events while trying to keep as low a profile as possible. It's not that easy to lie low with a penguin in tow. The story follows Viktor in his day-to-day life but it's the relationship he has with Misha that really infuses it with warmth and feeling as his dealings with other people are quite cold and distant.
I definitely want to read more from this author and will, at some time, be seeking out the sequel to this particular story. 4★'s
That ones on my wishlist thankfully but it's great to see a nice review!
Great review, thumbing! I read and enjoyed Death and the penguin some years ago, thanks for the reminder of the sequel!
I've also already taken that book bullet but another thumbs up on the review
Thanks for the positive comments and those thumbs. That's now two of Andrey Kurkov's books I've read and enjoyed (the other was The Good Angel of Death) and wouldn't hesitate to recommend him if you're looking for a more modern author from that part of the world. Forgot to mention that the translation from George Bird was pretty good as well.
Great review of Death and the penguin Dave! I have had my eye on that one for a while now..... might need to finally break down and commit to reading it.
Masterworks - Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin
Abner Marsh runs the Fevre River Packet Company for what it's worth. Most of his steamboats have been lost and all his company consists of now is one small old bucket of a boat that's not got too much longer left to sail the mighty Mississippi. That's why he jumps at the chance when he is offered almost unmitigated wealth to build his dream boat. A paddle steamer to match and even best the Eclipse, the biggest, fastest boat on the river. All it will take is for Abner to take on a new partner and accommodate his unusual living habits and to ask no questions thereof and to allow Joshua York, his new partner, to make infrequent stops as he deems fit and allow passage for his companions and others he may bring aboard. Having no other recourse for his business to stay afloat Abner agrees and so the boat, Fevre Dream, is built and crewed and sets sail on the river. At first everything goes well and Abner is looking forward to building his reputation back up so that he can get to race against the Eclipse and prove that he has the fastest ship in existence. But it's not long before rumours surface about his mysterious partner. He's never seen in daylight and the stops he orders the boat to make seem to coincide with grisly events onshore. Abner gets a might curious as to the sort of character his new partner is and despite his promise starts to snoop and question his activities. Will he like what he finds out?
This is a very atmospheric novel set in the Deep South of the 1850's. Pre-abolitionism so slavery is is a subject that is touched upon throughout the story and features the language of that time and place so avoid if that doesn't suit your reading tastes. There is also plenty of blood and gore (this is a vampire tale after all) but usually told of from a third person point of view but what is there can be quite brutal and unforgiving. This novel is not just a horror tale involving the tried and trusted vampires of many another story. There is a slightly different take on show here but what really makes the book is the relationship between Abner and Joshua through initial misgivings to trust and friendship that defies many an obstacle set along its path. A pretty darn good read. 4★'s
oooo I've had Fevre Dream on my list for some time ... your review just bumped it way up!!
You got me! Fevre Dream sounds like a nicely twisted take on the vampire tale.
Glad to see a vampire tale without bodice ripping or sparkling. & Death and the Penguin is going on the WL for sure. I'm just riddled with book bullets today.
Fevre Dream is one of my favorites. Happy to hear you enjoyed reading it.
Lost in Translation - Seeking Whom He May Devour by Fred Vargas
Sheep are being killed up in the French Alpine villages and the recently re-introduced wolves are the logical suspects. The only thing that goes against this assumption is that the bite marks seem to suggest an abnormally large specimen. Could it be something else instead. A cry of werewolf goes up and when the first person that raised this possibility is then murdered it adds fuel to the fire especially as the most likely candidate has also suddenly disappeared. Soliman, the murdered woman's adopted African son, along with Watchee, an old shepherd, and Camille set off in a battered old sheep truck in pursuit. The first part of the book follows their attempt to track and locate the werewolf with only minimal inclusion of Adamsberg as he follows the story from afar. It's only when the small group reach an impasse in their search that Camille turns to her former lover, Adamsberg, for assistance that he becomes the central figure in the investigation. As the loss of life of sheep and humans alike increases can they catch the killer before he gets away?
My second entry into the world of Commissaire Adamsberg sees another strange eclectic bunch of characters that worm their way into your hearts and it's this that will drive me back to more of Ms Vargas' work rather than the plots of her stories. Don't get me wrong, the plots aren't bad but, for me, they are only there to allow the characters to grow and shine. This is not the tautest thriller nor is it the most riveting of mysteries. The dialogue is often clunky (whether the fault of the author or translator I have no idea) but it is an engaging story that should please those that have come to the book seeking more of the same quirkiness in the author's other work. 3½★'s
Probably clunky translation - it's really hard to translate dialog well. She sounds like an author to watch for.
I'll definitely be continuing with the series as I already have two of the later books already sitting on the tbr shelves. Shame that not all books have been translated from it yet.
Starter for Ten - The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Classic noir mystery as Philip Marlowe gets a début outing where the body count is almost as high as the amount of raindrops that fall. He has been hired by General Sternwood to look into a simple case of blackmail and the general mentions that he hopes the missing husband of his eldest daughter isn't involved. Someone has some gambling debt notices from one of his daughters and wants to collect on them. The case isn't too difficult for Marlowe to track down but just as he's about to confront the blackmailer he turns up as the first in a long line of stiffs. Marlow follows the trail through the seedy world of pornography and gambling joints while fending off the attentions of both the general's daughters as well as the cops who aren't too happy about Marlowe keeping secrets from them. Will he find who's at the end of the trail while staying in one piece? And how many guns will he collect from people who insist on sticking them in his face?
A thoroughly enjoyable novel from one of the instigators of the hard-boiled detective stories that now seem to abound on the mystery section of bookshops. It will be interesting to compare with Dashell Hammett's Maltese Falcon when I eventually get around to reading that. Great fast paced pulp fiction full of one-liners that refreshed some of the bleakness of the situations that Marlowe found himself facing. 4½★'s
Claire, I have the next 3 Marlowe books on my tbr shelves already. No doubt I'll get round to them and the rest at some point.
There's no-one quite like Chandler - I also have a few on the shelf I need to get to
I confess too that I've not read any Chandler, though I claim to be a mystery fan. This year, I've got a British classic mystery category. Maybe next year, an equivalent American category is in order.
Tickling the Funny Bone - Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure by Dave Gorman
Dave Gorman had just turned 31 and made the rash decision that he wanted to be taken more seriously. He decides the best way of accomplishing this is to grow a beard and write a novel and so makes a call to his agent who, in turn and wholly unexpectedly, sets up a meeting with a publisher. The publisher likes the idea and a contract is signed and an advance is paid. Now that he's committed though Dave can't seem to get past the distractions, CD collection alphabetised, fridge defrosted etc. But by far the worst was the computer he was sat at trying to write. It just so happened that this computer was connected to a thing called the internet and the internet contains everything in the whole wide world ever. One of the things you can do on the internet is check your e-mails and on one particular day that Dave was procrastinating an e-mail arrived asking him if he knew that he was a googlewhack. Not knowing if that was a good or bad thing he enquired further into the subject and found out the answer. If you put two words into the Google search engine and it only returns one result then that is a googlewhack. There are a couple of supplementary rules to go along with it but that's the general upshot. Having been told he was one (Francophile Namesakes) he now had to find one himself and become a proper googlewhacker. This he does and even arranges to meet the person on the end of the one he found. He in turn finds another and this turns out to be someone that Dave recognises. A certain Mr. David Gorman! No, it's not him it's someone with the same name who Dave met while on another adventure (see Are You Dave Gorman?). And as he could do with a few days away in the South of France he arranged to meet back up with him and tell him what a googlewhack was. David then challenged Dave to see if he could find 10 googlewhacks in a row before his 32nd birthday. As with every good challenge there were rules to abide by. Every googlewhack was to supply another two googlewhacks and the time limit was set for Dave's next birthday.
This set-up provides the backdrop for a humorous travel adventure where Dave follows the leads provided by the googlewhacks and sets off to meet a varied cast of people from all around the world. Reality often exceeds his expectations about these people and his own emotions are laid bare throughout his commentary of events. Can he succeed with his latest madcap adventure and what will happen with the unwritten novel? Read this (or watch the show) and find out. 4★'s
Lost in Translation - Autofiction by Hitomi Kanehara
Autofiction is a combination of styles which combine autobiography and fiction and this book describes the thoughts and feelings of a recently married young Japanese woman and her burgeoning writing career. Her obsessive behaviour for her new husband is quite scary. Even contemplating killing an over-friendly stewardess on the return flight from their honeymoon. We then travel back in time over successive sections of the book to times in her life that might go some way to describe her current state of mind.
Quite similar in feeling to a Ryū Murakami novel and if you combine something like Audition with Out then you would probably get something like this. Powerful and disturbing but not an easy read despite its shortness of just over 200 pages. 3½★'s
I found Out to be disturbing, yet I had trouble putting it aside too. I'll have to keep an eye out for Autofiction.
>222 I had a googlewhack for a while. "Somnambulist archrivals" if I recall correctly. The trouble with googlewhacks is that they don't tend to stay googlewhacks for very long.
@224, it's not a book that I would easily recommend and Autofiction is more explicit in its portrayal of sex than either of the other titles I compared it to.
@225, I'm not a radio person but I am tempted to give his show a listen. My only experience prior to reading Googlewhack were a couple of his madcap adventures being shown on TV.
@226, An update from the Googlewhack site: As of noon 13 Feb 2010, Google offers a new set of definition links, from a new source. There may be new Whackfactors...
D'oh! Definitions again are being offered only for SINGLE words. Pursuing a workaround this week; stay tuned...
My Very Own Menagerie - King Rat by China Miéville
Début novel from China Miéville takes the reader on a dark fairy tale of a story. Neverwhere crossed with Brother's Grimm if you will with a setting of London's underground both physically and metaphorically speaking. Saul wakes up to the police hammering at his door and is immediately treated like a criminal upon their entry. What's he supposed to have done? Just the small matter of killing his father! Broken out of jail by a mysterious figure who claims to be king of the rats as well as being Saul's uncle, he is taken in and has his mysterious heritage explained to him as well as the fact that someone wants him dead. As Saul's abilities begin to burgeon he finds out that he wasn't rescued for purely sentimental reasons after all and his uncle wants to use him as a weapon against an old adversary and to win back the respect of his disaffected subjects.
The vivid pictures that the author paints bring to life a darker and more mysterious London as we clamber over the rooftops and through the sewers with a drum and bass soundtrack playing in our ears. I'm sure a previous knowledge of that particular music scene would add greatly to the story's appreciation but unfortunately it's one that passed me by. It's not something that detracts from the narrative though so don't be put off with that little snippet. Those with a nervous disposition may however be deterred by some of the more gruesome scenes or disturbing events in the book (especially the climactic scene). Excellent first novel that should be enjoyed for what it is and not compared too critically with the author's later works. 4★'s
It is so completely different from his other books its weird, still fun though.
Omnibus Editions - Into the Nightside by Simon R. Green
This book contains the first two stories of the Nightside series. An urban fantasy in the style of the Dresden Files or Felix Castor. Overall, probably not as good as either but still a fun read if you like that kind of thing and it appears that I do.
Something from the Nightside is the first of the stories and introduces the main character of John Taylor, a private investigator who has a gift for finding things within the Nightside. A place he left behind 5 years ago to lead a more normal and safer existence in the real world. Unfortunately his gift doesn't work there and so his detective business is only just about been keeping afloat. As with all good noir tales it's about now that a dame walks in and this one proves no exception. She wants John to go back to the Nightside and find her missing daughter. It's a job he can't afford to refuse and if truth be told he really misses the place he left behind (even if at least half the denizens want him dead). As well as being introduced to the Nightside we get to meet some of the populace and those that survive seem destined to become recurring characters in future stories.
Agents of Light and Darkness follows on from shortly after the end of the first and finds John still working in the Nightside but not living there (it's safer that way). His new client wants him to find something that seems to have made its way to the Nightside and it would be better for all concerned if the wrong hands don't get hold of it. The Unholy Grail has resurfaced and if it isn't found soon then Armageddon might be the next stop as heaven and hell are mobilising their hosts and woe betide anyone who gets in their way. The other major players in the Nightside are also interested in possessing the relic also so John will have his work cut out on this job especially as he can't use his gift without attracting the wrong sort of attention. Looks like he might have to go all old school on this one.
The cast of characters in these stories are quite good, the pace is fast and the stories don't outstay their welcome. The author does sometimes make use of the same tired old clichés a bit too often. If you're up to date on the Jim Butcher series and have read all the Mike Carey ones then this might fill in a gap until something better comes along. 3½★'s
Death and the Penguin and Fevre Dream are going on the wish list for sure. I've been looking at the Fire & Ice series, but it's a bit daunting, so getting a smaller introduction to the author sounds like a great idea. Glad to hear you enjoyed King Rat - I'm not a fan of D&B music, but I've heard enough to sense the beat in the book. Excellent first novel, even if a bit Gaiman-ish.
D&B isn't exactly near the top of my music tree either tbh. So it's a good job you don't need an appreciation of the style to enjoy the book. Enjoy the other two when/if you get to them.
Absolute Sandman - The Absolute Sandman Volume Four by Neil Gailman
This volume contains the longest story arc of the series, The Kindly Ones and the next arc, The Wake but starts with an extra story where a dreamer (you, perhaps?) gets a tour of The Castle (from Vertigo Jam #1). Guided by Lucien with interjections from a few of the more recognizable inhabitants of The Dreaming. Then follows the 13 episode story in which the Furies have a score to settle with Dream. Lots of the old story arcs are revisited here with many great characters returning to create an ending and leave enough hope for a new beginning. This hope is further enhanced with the 4 episodes of the wake which has everyone coming to terms with previous events and their continuance, or not, in the scheme of things. Exiles sees Dream encounter an old Chinese philosopher who's been sent away from his emperor for the misdeeds of his son. The volume closes with a revisit to William Shakespeare as he completes the second play promised to Dream and so produces The Tempest.
Another excellent bunch of extra material follows which includes a Sandman timeline which goes through the major events from story pitch to the end of the stories published in this volume. Scripts (with thumbnails, pencils and promotional art) are provided for issue 57 (Kindly Ones Part 1) and issue 75 (The Tempest). There's also a couple of features on the collectibles that were made available over the course of this series' production (some of which I wouldn't mind owning). And finally the obligatory biographies of the people that made it happen.
This won't go down as my favourite book, the artist's style for The Kindly Ones I don't think did the story justice but was excellent for The Wake. Oh! I really wish they'd put spoiler warnings in the introductions. Don't read this one if you don't know what's going to happen in the stories contained in this volume. 4★'s
I hate the spoiler introduction, why can't people view it as a teaser rather than assuming you've read it already. I've been caught out enough times to now only read introductions AFTER I've read the book
Enjoyed your King Rat review. I've read some of Mieville's later works and plan to go back and start from the beginning sometime.
I am afraid to read introductions for exactly that reason (spoilers without warnings). Drives me to distraction and makes me wish editors/publishers would consider non-spoiler introductions with, if need be, a closing remarks with spoilers. *Sighs*
Book Watch - The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham
A classic science fiction horror tale set in a remote English village circa 1950's. Rather than an overt takeover by conquest this is a tale of a more invasive alien infiltration told by a second hand narrator, Richard Gayford, and may be better known from the film name of The Village of the Damned. Returning home from a trip to London, our narrator and his wife encounter a military exclusion zone set up around the village. Attempting to circumvent this blockade they, like (they later learn) the rest of the inhabitants, fall unconscious as soon as they enter the restricted area. Having been directed to remain at the pub of the next village over while investigations into the cause of the incident, it is where he coincidentally meets an old war buddy who it seems will be handling things from the local end. It is with these connections that Richard can tag along and gather the information recounted in this book. What appears to be a UFO is spotted at the centre of the zone but no-one can penetrate to investigate more. The affected area soon dissipates after the disappearance of the UFO and it's not long that we learn all women of child-bearing age that were inside the zone are now pregnant. Nine months quickly passes and the babies are born. Despite initial misgivings all seem to be normal healthy babies with only the eyes showing any outward difference from normal human babies, shining golden eyes. The babies grow and learn at an accelerated rate and it seem the force of their will can overpower that of the people in their vicinity and it is this ability along with a hive-mind like quality that causes concern with the local population and the military and government powers that have been content just to observe. How long before they must take action to limit or quash this talent while they still can?
The book briefly examines religious, evolution, social and moral issues with regards to how we as a human race would deal with an event like this but it is all done in a very British underplayed way which makes the inevitable finale all the more shocking when it happens. There are a few things that date the book but they do not detract from the read at all. Another excellent tale from a master storyteller. 4★'s
I have Day of the Triffids on my want-to read list, but I think I'll add this one too. I vaguely remember seeing the film, but I can't be sure - I may just have seen some imagery from it.
The Midwich Cuckoos and The Big Sleep are going on the wl. Did you see the cover art LT has for Cuckoos. OMG!!! It looks like it's a comedy, or a retro-shopaholics with babies.
As for The Big Sleep, did it make more sense than the movie? I don't think Chandler was as worried about tying up all the threads as modern thriller/mystery writers are.
I've yet to read Wyndham, but can see from all the rave reviews and descriptions he's very likely to be exactly my cuppa. MUst make sure to make room for his work in 2013! Nice review, thumbing!
@244 Yes, you should find a place for him in 2013 - maybe a Vintage SF&F category is in order. :) Ya know, people have been saying 13 or 18 categories is too many. I'm not having any problem thinking up great categories! 25, well that's a bit much.
243, that's the cover I have on my book. As far as The Big Sleep goes, I can't remember having a problem following the plot from the book or still having questions at the end of it. Can't remember enough about the movie to compare though unfortunately.
@244, I'm pretty sure you would enjoy his writing. 2 of the 3 I've read had post-apocalyptic settings whereas this was the first set pre end of the world. He handles both very well.
245, I've yet to struggle with finding enough categories myself either. It's usually been a case of winnowing down the options in previous years.
Did you see the cover art LT has for Cuckoos. OMG!!! It looks like it's a comedy, or a retro-shopaholics with babies.
LOL.... I thought the same thing when I went to the book page. I was trying to figure out how Dave could call this one a science fiction/horror with a cover like that. ;-)
246 - I thought the book would hold together better than the movie - The movie is classic, but it also has the feeling that the whole case whacked Marlowe across the face.
247 - but it is sf/horror!!! Did the marketer read the book? & I'm thinking the guidance to the artist was "We need a cover with lots of babies. Pregnant women everywhere. And it's all about the babies." The cover is an absolute riot.
Yikes that *is* one bad cover. Lovely review though.. I must squeeze a reread of Wyndham books somewhere next year.
Thanks Claire. Thanks for all the thumbs everyone. Nice to see my name in the hot reviews column.
Book Watch - Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
What goes on at a carnival when there's no punters marvelling at the attractions? That's what two 13 year old boys want to know but learn a little too much for the good of their health. While spying on a mysterious carousel that seems to have the power over time they manage to cause an accident and damage the machine while it is in operation. This does not bode well for the ride's only occupant, Mr. Cooger, as he is aged to that of a wizened old man clinging to the last vestiges of life. Can the boys escape vengeance at the hands of Mr. Dark, partner and proprietor of Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show, as he employs all the freakish talents at his disposal to find them?
This is a young adult coming of age horror story which also examines the father/son dynamic that took me a long time to get into. Normally I'd rip through a book like this within a day or two but I often found myself putting it down and finding other things to do instead. You do get to feel the fear emanating from the two boys as the search for them intensifies but there is no real momentum to the story and it's not until a showdown looms that I felt like I really wanted to continue turning the pages. I'm glad this wasn't my first encounter with the author as I'm not sure I'd willingly seek out another if it was. 3★'s
Short Stories and Anthologies - Stories by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio
This is a collection of 27 short stories by some very well known authors. Who would of thought that Gene Wolfe would be sharing book space with Joyce Carol Oates or Chuck Palahniuk with Jodi Picoult. The work page details all the contributors and so I'm not going to go through them all especially as most of them were only fair to middling in accordance with my taste. I'll just give a few details on my favourites from the collection.
The stand-out story for me was Neil Gaiman's own, The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains which has a dwarf searching for a legendary cave of gold but he may have ulterior motives. The two closing stories were also very good. The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon by Elizabeth Hand details an attempt to recreate a lost film of a pre-Wright Brothers flight as a tribute to a dying past love and The Devil on the Staircase by Joe Hill looks at the evil that man is capable of committing to get what he wants or to stop others from having it instead. The former of these is the longest story of the book while the latter employs different formatting to represent the stairs the main character traverses as he recounts his tale.
I also enjoyed Human Intelligence by Kurt Andersen which tells of a visitor sent to spy on planet Earth who has seemingly been forgotten by those who sent him and the Arctic explorer who finally discovers his existence. Jeffrey Deaver's The Therapist and Lawrence Block's Catch and Release take a look at the dark side of humanity while Samantha's Diary by Diana Wynne Jones is a light-hearted take on the 12 days of Christmas. Meanwhile, Walter Mosely offers up a different kind of vampire tale with Juvenal Nyx.
I'm surprised I didn't enjoy more of the inclusions considering there was hardly any of the authors that I hadn't at least heard of before and was somewhat disappointed by quite a few. I'm sure others will find different stories more to their taste than mine but I will be surprised if many enjoy all of this collection. 3½★'s
Too bad about Stories. It sounds like a really eccentric collection, but at 3 1/2 stars, I'm not going to run out & get it! With all those highly respected authors, you'd expect it to be fabulous.
To be honest I couldn't even be bothered to finish it, it's still languishing on my book shelves. I had high hopes but amongst a few goodies it was all a bit too dull.
Oh well, take it to a used bookstore and reclaim 3 inches of shelf space.
Definitely not one I could recommend in its entirety. There are a few good ones but not enough to make it a worthwhile purchase unless you spy it cheap somewhere.
That's a shame - that collection has been on my wishlist a while, mainly because of the Gaiman name (and a little because of the cover....), but I think I'll move it to the get-from-library list. Guess that means I can move something else up the wishlist - there's always a silver lining. :)
Sloppy and random short story collections are never fun. What was Neil thinking?
Its an odd book idea, get non genre (well except crime) to write speculative fiction but none of these writers ideas seem very interesting, no immersion in what can be done I guess. Perhaps if you have never picked up a horror or fantasy book but surely that type of person is becoming rarer.
Too bad the collection was so disappointing, given the list of authors involved. It had sounded promising.
Tickling the Funny Bone - And Another Thing... by Eoin Colfer
It's been a while since I've read the H2G2 series by Douglas Adams so I'm not going to compare this tacked on addition to those. I've also never read any of Eoin Colfer's other books either so can't compare styles either but this did seem like he was trying to write in a similar vein. Unfortunately that will dispel any hopes of originality a new author could bring to tired characters that probably should have been left for dead. It's not a bad book and there are a few laughs to be had but you can't hope for something just a little better. 3★'s
@259 clfisha - you may be on to something. There are techniques/skills specific to each genre. Walter Mosley is a fantastic crime/thriller writer, but his sf work 47 is a real disappointment, and the main reason is the fantastic element doesn't mesh well with the rest of the story. There's some odd little technique to blending the fantastic with the realistic that people like Toni Morrison (non-genre) and Holly Black (genre) know.
...and Wolfy, I must ask, did Colfer's characters leave home without their towels? ;)
I am absolutely skipping And Another Thing... - I did want it to be great, but it never really had a chance, did it? :)
I think I was a little harsh with my rating for And Another Thing... so I've upped it by ½★. Still not recommended though.
@262, Towels were in evidence but too often draped around cardboard characters.
@263, Not really, no.
Just spotted your 12-in-12 challenge and it looks like you are interested in a number of the same authors I also read. Looking forward to reading more of your finds and recommendations.
I've avoided and another thing even though I'm a massive Adams fan and glad to have done so judging by your review...
Continuations - Fables: The Deluxe Edition Book Five by Bill Willingham
This review contains slight spoilers for earlier volumes in the series
This collection covers episodes 34-45 and contains two major arcs and a transitional two-part story. The latter of which kicks off this book and has Jack's departure (along with Jill) from Fabletown and recounts what he did with some of the treasure he stole when he left. He plonks himself down in Hollywood and sets up a production company in order to make himself the most loved Fable that ever was or will be. As it is one of the forbidden professions though it's bound to have repercussions when his plan comes to light.
Homelands covers Boy Blue's return in search of the real Red Riding Hood and he's not going to let anyone get in his way. Armed with the Vorpal Sword and the Witching Cloak he's off to find someone who knows where she'll be. Even if that someone is The Adversary himself. There's also a brief interlude in this tale where Mowgli returns to Fabletown and catches up with the new Mayor and Sheriff.
And finally there's Arabian Nights (and Days) where Sinbad arrives at Fabletown as an envoy for the Arabian refugees as they seek a place to live as an escape from The Adversary as he starts the invasion of their world.
The book concludes with original character designs by Mark Buckingham and biographies for all involved with this work.
This has been my favourite book of the series so far. The overall story arc has seen some major progression as well as concluding some and starting other sub-plots that I look forward to see developing in future issues. One quick reminder: Although these books contain some very recognisable characters that we know and love from our childhoods, they are involved in some very adult storylines throughout this series. 5★'s
You keep reminding me of how much I like these books - I think I'll schedule a reread for Thanksgiving or the Xmas holiday!
Thanks for the spoiler warning Dave! I managed to skim right down to the bottom of the post to see the 5 star rating and have made another mental note to consider Fables as one of my categories for next year.
Lost in Translation - Happy Birthday, Turk! by Jakob Arjouni
Classic hard-boiled private investigator tale that uses most of the tropes of the genre with one exception. The woman who hires Kemal Kayankaya is neither young or beautiful but she does want him to find out who killed her husband who was stabbed to death in Frankfurt's red-light district and she doesn't hold out much hope of a proper investigation by the police due to his Turkish descent. Even though he was raised by a German family, Kayankaya knows all about the prejudice received by migrants because of his own Turkish heritage. It's not too long into the investigation that he's either being threatened, beaten up or getting the girl though and all with a glib remark not far from his lips. Drugs, prostitutes and crooked cops all feature as the search for the killer continues.
This is a good, quick story that flows very well so a nod to the translator is in order. While offering up nothing wholly original it's still worth a look if you like books of this kind. I'll be adding More Beer, the 2nd in the series, to my wishlist to pick up at some point. 3½★'s
Very good - I put that on my wishlist too after IrishHolger's post and it sounds like a good read.
Wow, you didn't wait long to follow up on my recommendation. Glad you enjoyed it enough. You're probably right that it doesn't add all that much new to the genre. It's more a question of seeing a hard-boiled story published in Germany of all places, a country that at least until time of publication (about 20+ years ago) didn't have a history of that crime sub-genre.
@273, Hope you enjoy it when you get to it.
@274, It's been on my tbr shelves for a couple of years and fits in 3 of my categories. I guess you just gave it a final push with your review of another of his works.
2nd quarter summary
A total of 23 books for the second quarter keeps me just ahead of my target to complete the challenge. Only one 5★ read but still plenty of 4 & 4½★’s were given and nothing below 3★'s though only after a bit of overnight contemplation. I also completed my 2-book category but still have to get round to picking out my One Big Book.
1. Sadistic Desire - One Big Book (0 of 1)
2. Drain - Omnibus Editions (2 of 2)
3. Dahlia - Short Stories and Anthologies (2 of 3)
4. Silent Jealousy - Masterworks (2 of 4)
5. Art of Life - Absolute Sandman (3 of 5)
6. Rusty Nail - New Weird / Steampunk (3 of 6)
7. Joker - Tickling the Funny Bone (4 of 7)
8. Scars - My Very Own Menagerie (3 of 8)
9. Kurenai - Lost in Translation (5 of 9)
10. X - Starter for Ten (4 of 10)
11. Forever Love - Book Watch (6 of 11)
12. Endless Rain - Continuations (9 of 12)
Fables: The Deluxe Edition Book Five by Bill Willingham
City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Stories by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantino
@277, Phew! Always something of a feeling of relief when ir works out like that. Hope it remains so through to the end and perhaps more people will pick up on the series from your threads.
This topic was continued by X Marks Wolfy's Spot in the 12 in 12 (Part 2).
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.