Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Need To Read

I am without book! I hate not having a book on the go, something to read on my short commute to work in the morning and last thing at night before I go to bed. I tend to get through books pretty quickly, and have no problem re-reading books that I enjoy, so I often mix it up with a mixture of old and new.

In the past week or so I read the young adult novel Un Lun Dun by China MiƩville, and re-read The Arrival of Fergal Flynn and Roman Song, both by Brian Kennedy. But the nightstand queue is now empty!



Un Lun Dun was quite entertaining, but didn't engage me as much as MiƩville's adult works have. I felt like he switched protagonist about a third of the way into the book, which felt a bit odd. Where he excels is in imaginative settings and characters, and this book was no exception. Un Lun Dun, or UnLondon, is an abcity. A alt-London. A topsy turvy version of London, accessible only through indirect means, through sliding through the cracks of the London above. Sister city to other abcities such as Lost Angeles, Parisn't etc. He takes delight in creating Un Lun Dun, and one of the most fun aspects of the book are the puns weaved into the settings and characters. For instance, the little leaping bin guy on the cover is one of the crack team of rubbish bin men bodyguards, the binjas.

The Arrival of Fergal Flynn and the sequel Roman Song are lovely books by Irish singer/song writer and novelist Brian Kennedy, both of which I have read a bunch of times. There is a very good review of The Arrival of Fergal Flynn on this blog. I guess you could call them gay romance novels on one level, but they are also a moving coming out story and ultimately quite joyous. I'm hanging out hope for a further sequel, but I haven't heard any news of one yet.

So, an empty nightstand is almost unheard of. Time to go and haunt my favourite bookshops tonight and see what takes my fancy. I'm going into hospital on Monday for that sleep thing that I already wrote about here, and the thought of being sans book is especially unapealling.

[Updated: I stopped off at my favourite bookstore on the way home and bought The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta. The same author who wrote "Election", which was made into a very black comedy starring Reese Whitherspoon and Matthew Broderick. I've barely started it, but so far so good!]

8 comments:

Cozalcoatl said...

I really like China Melville, nicely twisted, but very adult...or so i thought.
When we were back in Oz and visiting Kate and Co. She asked Soph who is 10 to go and get the book she just finished and show it to me. She wouldn't tell me what is was. Soph came out with that book. She really liked it and told me the good bits about the plot. (i haven't read it yet)
I love my family....

The Other Andrew said...

That's cool. It was quite enjoyable, I can see how kids would love it. Cool kids that is!

yani said...

*makes furious notes about what books to buy next*

A friend of mine is currently reading the Dexter books (the ones that the teevee series are based on) and he says they're excellent... of course they might not be the right thing to guarantee a good night's sleep at the clinic...

Michael said...

All those books you have and none of them unread? Pick one of those that you always pass over. There's a neglected treasure in there, I know it.

Hmmm, have you read The Time Traveler's Wife? Gobs of mindbending fun and seems very YOU.

I'm STILL getting in touch with my inner infidel. I've segued from The God Delusion (most excellent) to Letter to a Christian Nation.

Ur-spo said...

no book?!
might as well go without food!

mrpeenee said...

I liked Un Lun Dunvery much, but not as much as Perdido Station. Try Paladin of Souls, excellent and unusual.

John C said...

I just finished re-reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy which is one of my favourite novels but not necessarily one you can recommend to too many people, it's a tad violent. And when it's not being violent it's just plain nasty.

If you like China's books I'd be tempted to recommend M John Harrison's Viriconium collection which influenced the Bas-Lag books. Many fantasy fans pick them up expecting more post-Tolkien drivel then go away disappointed but I like them a great deal. Harrison is pretty much the anti-Tolkien, as is (in a different way) Mervyn Peake.

the fox said...

to read of another alternate London you couldn't do much better than heading for William Gibson's The Difference Engine, a CyberPunk novel set in Victorian Britain.
(WikiPedia Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Difference_Engine