Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November update: What we're reading

Nik's update:

You'd have thought that 3000 miles would be a suitable buffer zone against being nagged. Nope, Jay has worn me down over not posting what I'm reading. I could tell you that what I'm reading is nagging emails from Jay, but then she might turn nasty. Hell hath no fury like a woman with an empty blog page and a stiletto heel.

So, I've just picked up The Day Aberystwyth Stood Still again. I say again, because I left a copy on a flight and had to order a new one. I love the Aberystwyth* novels, they're a fantastical blend of film noir, murder mystery, comedy, and parody of Welsh traditions. They're much funnier if you've been to Wales and/or know an enthusiastic Welsh patriot. The Druids are a mafia-like criminal sect; call girls wear authentic Welsh dress of red tunics and stovepipe hats above their stockings and suspenders; and there is a thin line between mythology and real life.

They're also very human books, a joy to read and completely life-affirming.

The titles say it all: From Aberystwyth with Love; Don't Cry for Me, Aberystwyth; Last Tango in Aberystwyth

Great fun.

*Jay insists that I provide a pronunciation guide here. So here goes: ab-err-rist-with. Though the final syllable ends with a very soft "th", rhyming with pith rather than with, er, with. And if you think that pith rhymes with with, then I give up.

Jay's update:

And he wonders why I don't send photos...

So, Nik and I are writing two books - when he's not mocking me, he’s taking the lead on the crime thriller (working title: Holding Company) while I start on a middle grade scifi novel (working title: none). Progress on both seems to be a little sluggish lately, what with the summer holidays long gone, and for me, school and work and life taking over my brain. 

To jumpstart things again, I have stack of middle grade fiction scattered throughout the house for a quick read here and there. 

Here’s what’s on top: 

This Book is Not Good For You (Pseudonymous Bosch): I’m reading this with my oldest son and it’s slow-going. (Just received an overdue notice today from the local library, oops! Was apparently due a month ago.) We only read a few chapters a week, partly because he has at least two other books for school each week and partly because I just don’t find it all that captivating so we end up doing other stuff in the evenings, like playing Minecraft and watching inappropriate Smosh videos on YouTube. 

The story itself is okay, a kids-solving-crime kind of thing, and the footnotes and author interjections are a hoot. And to be fair, my son thinks it’s hilarious. But for me, it’s just not one of those kids books that are equally entertaining for adults - not bad, by any means, just okay. 

On the other hand: 

The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman): Amazing. Wonderful. Don’t want to put it down. One of those rare kids books that are completely enjoyable for an adult to read. Love it, love it, love it.

By the way, there’s a new tumblr site where people post photos of themselves reading Neil’s books in the bathtub (don’t worry, totally SFW!). Here’s the link - funny stuff!:
And since I’m off on a Neil Gaiman tangent at the moment, did you know he’s written another Doctor Who script??

But back to my book list:

Artemis Fowl (Eoin Colfer): Took me a couple of chapters to get into, but now totally hooked. Colfer does an amazing job developing his characters and the action is non-stop. Really enjoying this one, will re-read with my son after we get through the Bosch book.

Magyk - Book One (Angie Sage): Just a few pages in so far. Not something I’d ordinarily pick up, but I think I’ll like it.

And for a change of pace and because I have a penchant for post-apocalyptic fiction:

School’s Out Forever (Scott K. Andrews): I picked this up on a whim because I liked the picture on the front cover and the quote on the back:
“After the world died we all sort of drifted back to school. After all, where else was there to go”
Two chapters in and I had to force myself to put it down. Could happily spend the day reading it cover-to-cover. In fact, perhaps I will....

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