Whenever a book grips me I find it hard to put it down and get on with housework, cooking, gardening or other commitments. TV programmes get ignored; I disappear to bed very early for undisturbed chapters; rainy weather is welcomed!!!
So, thanks to my enforced inactivity following my surgery and the recent rainy weather, I have been reading ... A LOT!
Think "Dune" on a cocktail of steroids and Omega 3} This type of book requires a large investment of time to get in tune with - you have to cope with long, unpronounceable names for characters and locations (e.g. "Mawhrin-Skel", "Meristinoux"); you have to accept that robots have independent personalities and thought, that science has progressed to allow people to regrow body parts, change sex on a whim, and live for hundreds of years - which means that they have a LOT of time for sitting around philosophising! On top of all of this there were cons and double-bluffs within the story so some of the characters were nearly as confused as I was. I didn't like the rather selfish, self-centred main protagonist, "Chiark-Gevantsa Jernau Morat Gurgeh dam Hassease", and despite rooting for him in his adventures within a distant barbaric civilisation during the final ⅓ of the book, I don't think I'll be looking out for any of his further exploits or indeed any more Culture novels by Ian M. Banks
Next came "Blind Instinct" by Robert W. Walker. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! This book should be held up as a lesson to all authors not to set their novels in a foreign country without having spent a reasonable amount of time there. Walker has the decency to acknowledge the help he got from "British English From A to Zed" but it would have been better if, rather than add a phrase from every page, he'd watched some modern British TV programs if he was too lazy to come and research in person. British men in the year 2000 do not invite ladies to "alight" from a taxi no matter how gentlemanly they are and I can honestly say that I have never, ever heard anyone say ""Something is afoot!" outside of period dramas such as "Downton Abbey" or "Miss Marple". We might have avoided taking the Lord's name in vain back in the day of Sherlock Holmes and Mary Poppins, but believe me, there are plenty of Brits that use far stronger words than "Gor Blimey" and "bloody" even as long ago as the turn of the Millennium! Our own police are rarely armed and so I find it highly unlikely that a visiting FBI medical examiner would be allowed to even bring her gun into the UK, let alone walk around London with it in her handbag! I could go on ... the plot resembles a string vest ... this book is so bad that it is now in the recycling!
After that disaster, it was with some trepidation that I picked the next book from Hubby's section of the bookcase. "The Fire Baby" by Jim Kelly. Reading the cover synopsis I was expecting a supernatural tale of some sort but was pleasantly surprised to find a "normal" mystery story intertwined with a journalist, Philip Dryden, getting mixed up with illegal immigrants in East Anglia. A book set in Britain written by a Brit! There were lots of twists and turns, and while the characters often got themselves into scrapes (where would the story be if they didn't?) it was a darn sight more readable than my previous book. This was the second in a series ... I think I'll seek out "The Water Clock" in which Dryden's adventures begin.
My fifth book in a fortnight was Suzanne Collins' second book in the Hunger Games trilogy, "Catching Fire". This was as un-put-downable as the original story. We're introduced to more of the Districts surrounding the Capitol as Katniss & Peeta tour in the run-up to the 75th Hunger Games. The evil, scheming President Snow has threatened Katniss' family and friends if she doesn't do her best to suppress the stirrings of rebellion ... A great page-turner with lots of action, ethical dilemmas for the character, interesting settings ...
I've already started on "Mockingjay"!
What are you reading right now? Ever felt a book should never have been published?