Weekly Round Up 28th May

Okay, so some books are a quicker read than others, sometimes life, children and work get in the way of reading and finishing a book. Half-terms always seem like a good time to catch up on that eternal TBR pile … but then life intervenes and you end up standing in a river in glorious…

Three Moments Of An Explosion, China Miéville

Okay, so short stories. Part of me loves short stories. The precision, the concision, the economy of language within them – read The Dead by James Joyce. Part of me, however, longs for the lengthy, relaxed familiarity you get with the characters in a novel, even in the best of the genre. In the worst collections…

The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde

  Oh I’m in two minds about this book.  I so wanted to like it.  A alternate history world in which the borders between reality and books is flexible and malleable. Who would love to pop to Wuthering Heights for a cup of tea with Nelly Dean? Or stroll through the 100 Acre Wood? Or play hide-and-seek…

Embassytown, China Miéville

Hmmm… where to start with this one? It’s a book on which I am still ruminating and which is still rattling away inside my brain after a couple of days. Nagging at me. Gnawing at my consciousness. And Miéville’s writing does that: it dwells and lingers and questions and challenges you. That is why Miéville…

The Scar, China Miéville

Miéville is one of my favourite authors: acutely political, wildly imaginative and linguistically sparkling. I discovered him through Perdido Street Station and adored the sprawling city of New Crobuzon: mercantile, rapacious, brutal but utterly compelling. It is a city populated by renegade scientists, scarab-headed khepri, eagle faced garuda, the amphibian vodyanoi, the cactacae and brutally…

More Than This, Patrick Ness

I am a huge Patrick Ness fan! Let me put that out there at the start of this. I hugely admired his Chaos Walking Trilogy but was utterly blown away by the visceral emotion and mythic scope of A Monster Calls. There are few books that dig inside you as much as that one. This…

The Long Earth, Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Miniature review due to absence of Internet and wifi. In fact, only now possible because phone can – sometimes – get some reception… I can imagine the genesis of this novel. It seems to have started as an idea, a concept. A damned good idea but very much an idea rather than a novel. I…

The Girl With Glass Feet, Ali Shaw

There are some books that revel in plot, action and events. Other books – perhaps quieter books – are content to develop narrative: characters and settings, relationships and language. This book by Ali Shaw is very clearly and very effectively one of the latter: little really happens, but so much is created. Lets take the…

Mortal Engines, Philip Reeve; Railsea, China Miéville

Right, following on from seeing Philip Reeve in person – gabardine clad, animated and inspirational – and having had the question posed to me of how you could not read a book whose opening paragraph is “It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town…

Railsea, China Miéville

There are some authors for whom a new book is more than just a new book on the shelves of W H Smith. It’s an event; it’s anticipated; it generates a frisson when you see the spine waiting for you, calling to you, beckoning you. China Miéville is an author like that for me. There…