What I’ve Been… #6


Over two weeks without a blogpost probably means you’re dead in this ‘instantly contactable’ world but I’m happy to confirm that I’m definitely not dead.

I’ve got my reasons for not blogging: the first Sunday, 19th July, (I try to post these updates on Sundays) I’d been working late at my new job most nights and I’d not read anything worth commenting on that week; The next Sunday, 26th July, I was in Sherwood Forest before driving down Bletchley Park. This was after driving up to Edinburgh via Manchester for an around the UK roadtrip. We ended up in Legoland before driving home to Wales.

A roundtrip of over 1000 miles and really good fun.


I have got some reading done. I finished my re-read of Sabriel by Garth Nix. Now I’ve not read it since 2004(?), which was before YA was YA. You could call Sabriel a YA book. It’s main character is 18 who goes in search of a her father, the Aboshen, whose role in xxxx is to keep the dead dead. But he himself is stuck in death and she sets out to rescue him. Sabriel grows up fast. Nix does a skilful job of engaging us with her quest while dealing with subject of death. He does it from the opening scene and carries on. He shows us the nature of corruption and how rot and decay effect the living as well as the dead. It’s a YA book because of how it’s structured and where it focuses. The end location couldn’t have been better chosen. It does feel a little bit too swift in places but ticks all the right boxes in the right way. Still worth another re-read when I get chance. Though I think I’ll have to read through to my first read of Clariel first, which if the forth book but set way before the events in the trilogy.

I almost started Lirael straight away but I’m foolishly putting it off. Do other people delay enjoyment of books?

I’ve just started Aye, and Gomorrah, and other stories by Samuel R. Delany. I’ve read his non-fiction in  About Writing but the opening story,”The Star Pit”, is my first exposure to his fiction. It’s surprising readable.

I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve had to go back to re-read the end of The Crimson Campaign to get to grips with the start of The Autumn Republic. It’s a great series so I can’t see how I’ve forgotten where I was. Maybe it’s the first signs of getting older….

…Adding to the TBR

While I was in Edinburgh @WordsofMercury tweeted a picture of the books in promotion that Vintage books are doing to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Warner’s Morven Callar, which was spooky as I was thinking about which Scottish author I should be taking home from EdinburghWest’s Waterstones. They love SF there btw:

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I did pick up Ray Bradbury’s Summer Morning, Summer Night, which ‘is a collection of short stories and vignettes based in Green Town, Illinois, the fictionalised version of Ray Bradbury’s native Waukegan, which also served as the setting for his modern classics DANDELION WINE, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, and FAREWELL SUMMER.’ 

But back to Scottish fiction. So a twitter exchange ensued and I’ve kindly been sent a pile of Scottish classics:


The two that immediately spring out are Morvern Callar and The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. Obviously   these are just a small, but from what I’ve heard, spot on selection. Other authors would include: Iain Banks’s non-SF. And Jenni Fagan gave me a starting list earlier:

The thought struck me during the exchange last weekend that I’ve got wary of trying new experiences in reading recently. I’ve loved and loathed books I’ve read for Hear.. Read This! podcast. Luckily, it finally got me to read The Driver’s Seat by Spark, after I picked it up thanks to John Self’s recommendation.

That leads me on to…


David Hebblethwaite posted a blog called ‘Moving On’ this morning. It’s a funny when bloggers get a little zeitgeisty. My blog has changed. These posts are a different way of how I  think about what I’ve read,  I’m reading or going to read and why. It’s reassuring when it’s not just you. I haven’t digested all the linked posts yet but the nature of social media, reading and reader’s interactions keeps changing. I wonder what will happen over the next 10 years? I’m looking forward to seeing David’s evolution.

Oh and next Sunday’s post is likely to have a lot of mentions about Nine Worlds, which kicks off properly on Friday! It’s my favourite genre convention.

What you been reading?

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