Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2015 in books - first five

High time I got to reviewing/processing thoughts on books again... starting with brief reviews but I may well work my way back up. This year I am to read 100 books, I'm also hoping to improve the variety in them. Titles are Goodreads linked for your convenience.

These books were all enjoyable, I think Crash was the best of them but which I'd recommend would depend greatly on who was seeking the recommendation.

1 - Camelot (Fables #20) - Bill Willingham

There's really not much I can say without spoilering earlier books in the series. This graphic novel series has been great but a few of the volumes immediately preceding it were a bit lacklustre. This was a distinct improvement and I'm looking forward to continuing with the rest of the story which should be finishing up this year.

2- Crash (Twinmaker #2) - Sean Williams

The first Australian author in this year's list. I hope to read more Australian work as I noticed there was very little in my reading last year. In this book the situation starts out badly and rapidly degrades - the sudden removal of something people use daily and take for granted leaves them reeling and drives riskier decision making.
I enjoyed this more than the first book in the series, it felt less... preachy? Not quite the word but it'll have to do for now. With several conflicting points of view, all well presented, towards the end of the book my mind went to war with itself - I think that's a good thing. Making me challenge my own opinions with a new perspective rather than the same-old arguments I hear can help me identify flawed thinking.

3 - The Empire Striketh Back (William Shakespeare's Star Wars #2) - Ian Doescher

These books are made of fun and laughter. I'd love to attend/participate in a reading of this as I did with the first. There were many highlights, Yoda speaking in haiku was one, another is this passage:

Exogorth: Alas, another meal hath fled and gone,
And in the process I am sorely hurt.
These travelers who have escap'd my reach
Us'd me past the endurance of a block!
My stomach they did injure mightily
With jabs and pricks, as though a needle were
A'bouncing in my belly. O cruel Fate!
To be a space slug is a lonely lot,
With no one on this rock to share my life,
No true companion here to mark my days.
And now my meals do from my body fly -
Was e'er a beast by supper so abus'd?
Was e'er a creature's case so pitiful?
Was e'er an exogorth as sad as I?
Was e'er a tragedy as deep as mine?
I shall with weeping crawl back to my cave,
Which shall, sans food, belike become my grave.

Highly recommended to anyone who loves both literature and Star Wars.

4- Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3) by Laini Taylor

I don't normally enjoy books with such a heavy romantic theme, I generally find them insufferable and irritating. This one certainly has a bit of pixie-girl and absurdly-tall-man syndrome but all the same, the book was enjoyable. If you are into paranormal fantasy of the YA variety, I'd definitely recommend this one.

5- A Fork in the Road - Lonely Planet

First travel reading of the year, first short stories of the year... both things I enjoy. I enjoyed the majority of stories in this book, a few were a bit on the self-indulgent side but many of them were insightful or created wonderful images (or flavours) in my mind. It won't be going down as one of the greats of this year's reading but it was well worth the time.

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