dancefloorlandmine: (Words)
Thursday, May 11th, 2017 09:59 pm
Currently reading ... Paul Cornell's 'Shadow Police' series (I've just finished the first, and have pretty immediately started the second).

They're dark, they're scary, and they're gripping. Supernatural police procedurals, but considerably darker than many in that genre seem to aim for. For those familiar with the 'Rivers Of London' books, imagine how terrifying those would have got if Nightingale and the Folly weren't around, and the cops were trying to deal with the occult without any actual knowledge. Or defences. Yeah. [wince]

In London Falling, the first of the books, there's a unit working on a case that's going nowhere, and is rapidly running out of budget and likely to be wound up. And then it gets ... messy.

I'll not say more, to avoid spoilers, but there are a bunch of interesting characters and seriously nasty folk, all well-written in a way that keeps you turning the pages.

(On a scale where 'Dresden Files' are akin to 'Castle', these are more in the line of 'Taggart' or 'Luther'. You have been warned. Damn good, though.)
dancefloorlandmine: (Books)
Sunday, February 12th, 2017 07:21 pm
One reason why I like buying books from The Book Depository is that each is delivered with a bookmark, ready to mark where you've paused.

I find that this encourages the practice of reading in odd moments - even if it does also encourage the tendency to have several books 'on the go' at any one time.
dancefloorlandmine: (Words)
Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 01:47 am
And the other book I've recently dashed through is Unseen Academicals, by Terry Pratchett. It's good, but it's sadly not as coherent as some of his earlier works (for, possibly, rather depressing reasons). While there are whole slews of excellent concepts, many of them, in common with his other recent works, musing about deeper societal issues than merely pastiching comic fantasy, there are also, to my eyes, some gaps, where it seems things have been left not quite completely filled in (and one bit which either means I missed something salient, or was a continuity error) - something which I'm less used to in Pratchett books. Still, another good addition to the Pratchett oeuvre, nonetheless, and again, includes some excellent characters about whom I'd like to know more.

"Foot-the-ball. It's not a matter of life and death. It's more important than that."

Warning: Comments may include spoilers for the above book.
dancefloorlandmine: (Words)
Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 01:39 am
Reading isn't something I do enough of these days, although my charity shop purchase of one book got slightly more expensive when I realised I'd have to buy a larger bag, were I to carry it to read on my commute.

That book was China Miéville's rather fine Perdido Street Station. (I'm now reading Un Lun Dun, and enjoying spotting similarities between the cities of New Crobuzon and UnLunDun - among them the thing Miéville obviously has for large railway stations.) Yes, yes, I know that, once again, I'm late to the party, but, now I'm here, it's a rather good one.

Some random thoughts: With some of the inventive names and sprawling architecture, the book reminds me of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast - making me wonder occasionally whether that was a conscious or unconscious influence. The whole imagined setting seems very coherent, and has me wanting to know more about it - my inner gamer wants a sourcebook or several, damnit!. The novel itself initially appears quite directionless, or possibly character-led, following a few individuals and offering a variety of potential plotlines before finally settling down on one about halfway through, which picks up elements of some of the others, and leaves the rest to head in different directions until out of sight. In certain passages, and in the general inventiveness, I can see why Miéville has occasionally been compared to Moorcock, but overall the writing is much more 'solid' - his concepts may be as imaginative, but they seem considerably more consistent, internally.

Warning: Comments may include spoilers for the above book.
dancefloorlandmine: (Words)
Wednesday, June 11th, 2008 10:37 pm
If you still haven't got yourself a copy of the rather fine Saying Goodbye to Amy, by Simon Brind (aka [ profile] s0b), get your skates on. The run's almost done ...


I'm almost tempted to order a second copy, so that I can lend one out to people (to save them having me go "It's brilliant, but you can't get copies anymore.") and ensure that I've got the other one safe.
dancefloorlandmine: (Books)
Tuesday, April 1st, 2008 10:51 am
The Temple of Death: The Ghost Stories of A.C. and R.H. Benson (2007, Wordsworth Editions)
A slim volume, this is a collection of gothic tales by the brothers of E.F. Benson, author of the Mapp & Lucia novels. Following a hard upbringing, the brothers both had strong faith, which is reflected in these stories. R.H. Benson's tales are very similar, being reminiscences of tales told by an old priest to the narrator - sometimes told to the priest by another priest in his youth. A.C. Benson's stories are mostly slightly longer, and fill the greater part of the book. Considerably more horrific than his brother's, they depict a variety of settings, from Roman Europe to the early days of electric light. The majority depict characters who have accidentally breached the wall between this world and another, often through disturbing the unquiet souls of a previous malefactor. In most cases the narrator, or primary character, is not the character directly afflicted, but an observer, often an old friend, who plays a part in their comrade's rescue, or at least their spiritual salvation in those cases where survival is impossible. Actually, they're rather good - short enough for reading while commuting, and quite dark, suitable for reading around a fire in an darkened room while the wind whistles across the moors outside - a bit like Poe, but with sharper, tighter writing and less love of gratuitous adjectives, closer to Conan Doyle in pace.

Coraline, Neil Gaiman (2003, Bloomsbury)
Most of you will probably have already read this - in brief, it's the tale of a young girl who opens a door, and finds herself on the Other Side. Another dark, scary story, engrossing and imaginative, with novel concepts and disturbing imagery. To an extent a similar concept to A.C. Benson's stories, but in this case the girl has to rely mostly on her own strengths, rather than the intercession of the Holy Spirit.
dancefloorlandmine: (Books)
Monday, October 8th, 2007 01:13 pm
[ profile] black_faery has just posted a nasty shock. She recently went to the cinema, and while there, saw the huge hoardings for The Dark Is Rising, allegedly based on Susan Cooper's amazing series.

Unlike me, she visited IMDB to find out more about it. And has now reported back on what she found.

It looks like it's been butchered - it's been updated to the modern era, some characters are now American (presumably to get the dollar involved) and they appear to have made some substantial changes to the plot*.

* Suffice to say, for those who know the books: They've cut out The Walker. That should tell you a vast chunk of what you didn't want to know.

Dear Hollywood, if you can't do a decent job of making a great book into a good film, please don't run it through the shredder in the dash for a bit of the Harry Potter-inspired cash. Now sod off.

I've not seen the Earthsea film they made a couple of years ago, for much the same reason of fear.
dancefloorlandmine: (Barcode)
Friday, December 8th, 2006 01:43 pm
For those of you who occasionally frequent the Aldgate East part of London, and have an interest in the kind of book on contemporary art kept in their flat by the befinned inhabitants of Hoxton, or alternatively the kind of tome which demonstrates why architects should be kept away from typewriters, Artwords, the specialist bookshop, is closing down the Whitechapel Art Gallery branch for a couple of years, while they rebuild the gallery to incorporate what used to be the Library next door. They've got a 50% off sale until the 22nd December, when they shut down. I have a nasty suspicion even I might succumb to some of the books on architecture next week ...