I’m pleased to say I managed to avoid buying anything on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday (albeit the latter’s not finished yet)… both days are examples of retail manipulation that, frankly, strike me as just another cynical ploy to prey on shoppers. Arguably, one could say the same for Easter, Halloween, and Chrimble, although this takes away a lot of the underlying meaning behind these days, and is probably a discussion for another time…
Anyway, it’s taken a wee while to get myself sorted for this week’s review updates as the archival Book Reviews section continues to grow into the sloshy, slimy little blighter it will inevitably become (or maybe that’s just the associated sub-menu I’m referring to… lol) — I don’t have any alternative method of doing things just now.
I’ve also posted the next three Ali B columns from the archives (parts 4 to 6), bringing them up to January 2015 — looking at my column for the beginning of this year (that’s when I wrote it rather than when it got published btw), it was definitely a fabulous time to be a reader with so many great titles and tales crawling out of the woodwork. Sarah Pinborough’s The Death House remains one of my very favourite novels for this year, but at time of writing I’ve not long finished reading Half a War, the final part of Joe Abercrombie’s Shattered Sea trilogy, and I must say that the characterisation he brings to all his tales is marvellous (and annoyingly, seemingly effortless!). Indeed, most of Joe’s stuff is pretty awesome, so I have no qualms in recommending you put anything by him on your Chrimble List if you haven’t already — the standalone Best Served Cold is one of my personal Abercrombie faves and particularly gritty/nasty if you like your fantasy dark, mean and menacing.
Other books I’ve recently finished reading include the truly imaginative The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard, and Maresi: The Red Abbey Chronicles by Maria Turtschaninoff (not due for release until Jan 2016), both of which were swift and easy reads, the sure sign of a good book imho — in this instance ‘easy reads’ means they’re gripping page-turners rather than somehow ‘dumbed down’, just in case you were wondering… Reviews of both of these titles will follow in due course, although whether they’ll appear here or on the British Fantasy Society website first I couldn’t tell you at the moment (they’re already sitting on quite a few of mine going back to September and have other priorities to contend with, so it may be time to find an alternative outlet in the meantime) — any takers? 🙂
At time of writing, I’ve also got a tidy stack of graphic novels to get through for December (all kindly provided by Titan Books), so am really looking forward to getting stuck into these and sharing my opinions, probably on the BSFA website — another graphic novel round-up of mine appeared on their website last month and will appear here shortly, but if you can’t wait that long just click here to read that one.
I’ll probably do a separate post covering my fave reads of this year, but I’ve been spoilt for choice with so much good material it seems — there’s certainly a lot to choose from for 2015 — so let’s just say it’s been an especially good year to be a reader and leave it at that for now…