There are eleven titles on my list of books read this month, which is less than I’ve been racking up just recently but I think that’s still a goodly number. It puts me on sixty-nine books read for the year, which apparently identifies me as a ‘heavy reader’. I have to admit that compared to most of my friends I do read a lot, though I’m not the most prolific reader within my (admittedly limited) social circle. As I mentioned last month, I just have a lot of spare time travelling to and from work five days a week. What else should I do with my time?
Of the eleven books I’ve consumed in July, my favourite has to have been Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters, though it only just beat Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné, a book which I’ve had a soft spot for since I first read the original paperback edition back in the early eighties. I also finally got around to reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years Of Solitude, a book which was first recommended to me by a very close friend over a decade ago; I have to say I found it to be quite enjoyable and will probably make an effort to read more of his work before too long. And so the to-be-read list grows even longer…
The Female Man by Joanna Russ is one of those seminal feminist sci-fi books that I first read many years ago (if I remember rightly I was in my early teens) and didn’t really get. This time around I thoroughly enjoyed it, and found myself engaging with the characters and the narrative in a much more profound way than I would have expected. Even though it suffers a little because of its age, I found that many of the points it raises about gender roles and sexuality still have some relevance to modern society and would happily include it on the list of science fiction works any half-serious sci-fi fan should read. Hell, I’d even suggest that non sci-fi fans read it.
The Neil Gaiman book on the list is a graphic novel my partner bought me for my birthday. It’s an entertaining take on the Marvel superhero universe set four hundred years ago at the end of Elizabeth I’s reign, and I believe is the only work that Gaiman’s written for Marvel. If you’re a Gaiman fan or a fan of the Marvel universe I’d say give it a try if you haven’t already. I also got The Ocean At The End Of The Lane for my birthday, which I’m planning on reading in August.
I only finished reading Astra (The Gaia Chronicles) this morning on the way to work. It’s the second book by Naomi Foyle that I’ve read (the first being Seoul Survivors back in June last year) and if I’m being honest I’d have to say that I found this one to be a much better read. Her style of writing seems to suit that science fantasy approach of the more recent book more than it does the cyberpunkesque feel of her first one. That isn’t to say that Seoul Survivors is a bad book; I just think Astra is better.
Finally, the rest of the books on this month’s list are from the back catalogue of Joe Konrath (or Jack Kilborn as he sometimes calls himself). As always, I’m finding them to be very easy to read with little or no heavy thinking required, so they’re perfect time fillers as far as I’m concerned.
Tipping the Velvet; Sarah Waters (1998)
One Hundred Years Of Solitude; Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1967)
The Female Man (S.F. MASTERWORKS); Joanna Russ (1975)
Timecaster; J. A. Konrath (2011)
Timecaster Supersymmetry; J. A. Konrath (2013)
Elric of Melniboné and Other Stories (Moorcocks Multiverse); Michael Moorcock (2013)
Afraid – A Novel of Terror; Jack Kilborn (2008)
Origin; J. A. Konrath (2009)
Neil Gaiman’s 1602; Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove (2003)
The List – A Thriller; J. A. Konrath (2009)
Astra (The Gaia Chronicles); Naomi Foyle (2014)
So that’s it, the eleven books that have helped me avoid awkward social encounters on public transport this month. Next month I have a few more Konrath books to read, along with the Gormenghast trilogy, a couple of Octavia Butler books and the aforementioned Gaiman title. If you think of anything else I might want to add to my reading list feel free to leave a comment to let me know about it.