Novels read between April and June 2014

In April I blogged about the books I had read in the first three months of 2014. I haven’t offered an update for the second three months, until now.

I found that I read far less and also dipped in and out of things and so caught up with a few short stories I had wanted to read as well as resorting to some poorly-chosen, slightly pulp-y, fiction. I mostly binged on Charles Stross’ entertaining brand of science fiction, which I find an entertaining form of escapism. All of my reading has moved to the Kindle I bought earlier this year – mostly cos its back-lit and therefore doesn’t wake a sleeping baby…

So, first, I ended up finishing Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth in April – some interesting characters and a peculiar use of the statistical curiosity called the Monty Hall problem as a plot device makes for an entertaining read.

Subsequently I read:

  • MaddAddam, Margret Attwood – the third novel in the Oryx and Crake cycle, with some gaps filled in the story, as mostly told in The Year of the Flood, interspersed within the post-apocalyptic ‘present’. I was rather disappointed with this book, it wasn’t a particularly satisfying read and the characters were less vital than the previous books. The ending, as with any apocalyptic tale, is rather depressing.
  • Overtime, Charles Stross – a funny little short story, playing on the theme of Father Christmas as a nightmarish supernatural ‘Bringer of Gifts’, in the world of Stross’ paranormal spy agency The Laundry.
  • High Time to Kill (007), Raymond Benson – after reading Boyd’s Bond book earlier in the year and having previously given Faulks’ and Deaver’s 007 novels a go (on planes) I tried Raymond Benson’s modern Bond. Absolute cack. Not recommended!
  • Down on the farm, Charles Stross – another amusing short story in the Laundry cycle (pun intended) in which the protagonist Bob has to visit the funny farm apparently run to house those who have looked into the abyss a little too often, but all is not as it seems.
  • Equiod, Charles Stross – Lovecraft and parasytic unicorns. Disturbing and darkly humorous. Another Laundry short story.
  • Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross – space opera meets hedge fund economics in a fast-paced and entertaining sci-fi novel. Good bit of escapism.
  • A Tall Tail, Charles Stross – the final short story (for me) by Stross published by Tor that explores bonkers rocket fuel chemistry to invite you to rethink Chernobyl.
  • The Ghost, Robert Harris – a well-written fast-paced conspiracy-thriller in which a ghost writer is brought in to help an ex-prime minister write his auto-biography to a tight deadline. Lots of non-too-subtle and critical allusion to Tony Blair, but entertaining and very easy to read. Also a film with Ewan McGregor apparently.
  • King Rat, China Miéville – a weird and unsuccessful Gaiman-like exploration of the nether-regions of London. I thought this poorly-written and rather derivative. Not recommended.
  • The 100 year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared, Jonas Jonasson – a very entertaining story, full of action and good characters in which a seemingly-frail 100 year old man reflects on a remarkable life while escaping his old folks home. Well worth a read. Also now a film – I have no idea how they could have realised this..!

That’s it for April – June. I am now reading lots of Simon Brett’s Charles Paris mysteries, which are good fun.

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