Merry Belated Christmas and a Happy New Year! Well, 2015 is almost over and (touch wood) there are still no signs of the Millennium Bug. Anyhow, while we wait for this century to reach the big 16, here’s what I’ve been reading:
1) Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. A very good retelling of the folk tale by the same name, set in 1920s Alaska.
(And if you’re after re-tellings of legends and folk tales in historical settings, have you bought this yet?)
2) When the Guns Fall Silent by James Riordan. Got this as a giveaway from the Portsmouth Bookfest (tickets for 2016 on sale soon!) A really good retelling of the Christmas Truce of the First World War, 101 years ago.
3) A Christmas Carol and Other Writings by Charles Dickens. Not only does this have the well-know story but other writings too, such as The Haunted Man.
4) Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie. Christmas is not complete without a ghost story or a murder mystery. I’ve not finished it yet so don’t tell me how it ends!
Anyhow, enjoy the rest of 2015 and have a very good 2016!
Autumn is sort-of arriving. Festival season has been and gone and for about two months shops have been selling Christmas stuff. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve read this month:
1) The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson. What if the Black Death had wiped out ninety nine percent of Europe’s population and the world was explored by the Mongols, the Islamic World and the Chinese? Read this and find out.
2) The Martian by Andy Weir. The film is out soon so I thought I’d read the book first. See what you think.
3) The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Ever seen the 60s film The Haunting? Read the book as well. It’s just as chilling.
4) Batman: The Killing Joke. I went to a talk on Graphic Novels laid on by the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub so I thought I’d do some revision.
5) Sacred Treason by James Forrester. A very good mystery set in the age of Elizabeth I. Give it a try.
6) Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. This was recommended at the Comic/Graphic Novel Workshop so I thought I’d give it a read. Very interesting so far.
Summer’s here… apparently. Well, they say a heatwave is on the way so here’s hoping.
Now, I bet you’re all wondering what I’ve been plundering from the local libraries, aren’t you? Well, here we are:
1) I Belong to the Earth by J. A. Ironside. Taking a break from historical fiction (‘Whaaaat?’ I hear you all cry) I enjoyed this very much. A classic ghost story with elements of fantasy added for good measure.
2) Assassins’ Creed: Renaissance by Oliver Bowden. Although I’ve not played the game I’m tempted to give the first one in the series another go and move onto this. A good adventure story with a good mix of historical characters and events.
3) Thief’s Tale by S. J. A. Turney. This is the first in the Ottoman Cycle series. Gives a good account of life in Istanbul shortly after the Ottoman conquest. If you liked the Marius’ Mules series, you’ll like this too.
4) Empire of the Moghul: Raiders from the East by Alex Rutherford. I’m glad I gave this a go. I know very little about this time and place so it’s good to try something new.
I also finished The Tower by Nigel Jones that I started last month. One of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a while. There will be a Tower of London post at some point. Honest.
Yes, my friends, a collection of dark tales, awoken and dragged from the vault of my computer have swooped onto the electronic shelves of Smashwords and Amazon.
If you want something to scare people with, cure your narcolepsy (I can’t prove that it will), encourage bed-wetting (but why on Earth you’d want to do that is probably something best kept to yourself) and give to family and friends for Halloween, then why not try this: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/362460 or this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Chair-other-Ghost-Stories-ebook/dp/B00FIOXBD6/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1382779278&sr=1-5 or, for those of you who like the scrape of a turning page to add to the haunting atmosphere, this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Chair-other-Ghost-Stories/dp/1492852996/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1382779278&sr=1-5
DISCLAIMER: I do not take responsibility for any disturbances you might have after reading these. Particularly if you notice the plumbing is more noisy and the floorboards just that little bit more creaky…
Enjoy and don’t have nightmares.