Apr. 17th, 2014

allochthonous: (Default)
If your day so far has lacked joy, I highly recommend this photoessay about a young girl who is training to be an eagle hunter in Mongolia.

What are you reading now?


Finally out on kindle in the UK is Hild, by Nicola Griffith, which I have seen praised to the skies all over the place. Lovely so far, and what Griffith does very well is the sense of what it’s like living in the ruins of a far more advanced civilisation, which is something I have always thought must have been very strange in Dark Ages Britain. The book is set about two hundred years after the Romans have left Britain, and in Caer Luel (which it took me a while to work out was Carlisle) there’s a fountain that still works. Hild’s wonder at the fountain, a piece of technology so much more advanced than anything she’s seen before. I have to read it with google handy to work out the place names, but it has got me fascinated by a period of history I knew almost nothing about, which is never bad.

What have you just finished reading?

Also recently out on kindle was Blood of Tyrants, which is Temeraire… 8? Given that there’s only one more book, I’m in it until the bitter end, but I’m finding the books increasingly less interesting, with too many near-identical aerial battles and lightning visits to various countries to learn about their dragons, but nowhere near enough character development. The amnesia plotline here dragged like crazy, and they could have skipped the whole Japan bit. I love Laurence and Temeraire, but it would have been a far better series if it were all about Jane Roland and Excidium instead.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, which is an otherwise terrific book where the central conceit (of a woman living her life over and over again) is almost entirely unnecessary. The story works well enough without that, and the constant rehashing of events again and again without any apparent reason behind it began to irritate me after a while. The parts set in the Blitz will stick with me for a long time, though.

It took me until halfway through David Mitchell’s first novel Ghostwritten to realise that I had in fact read it before and I wasn’t just getting flashbacks to Cloud Atlas. Really feels like a dry run for the later novel, and while there are some lovely bit (the China and Mongolia stories were my favourites), it doesn’t really hang together terribly well and the stuff about technology and artificial intelligence feels pretty dated (I think it came out in the late 90s).

What will you read next?


A colleague gave me And the Mountains Echoed as a leaving present. I somehow haven’t read any Hosseini so far, so I’m looking forward to that.

Off to Prague tomorrow for the long weekend. Happy Easter to all who celebrate, and extra day in bed to everyone else!

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