World Book Day 2012

It really is true, time goes faster as you get older.  Presumably there will come a point where the years will stretch out again like elastic until they’re as long as they were when I was young, when Christmas would take for ages to arrive (a saying Thing 4 here is fond of. As in: Me – “Tidy you room.” Thing4 – “But that will take for ages“).  Now, though, if I don’t plan for Christmas people will be going without presents because it’s practically tomorrow.  But I digress.

World Book Day.  Celebrating books and reading, 2 of my favourite things in the world.  Last thing at night, to wind down and finish the day, my wife and I read to each other – hey, the kids get a bedtime story, why shouldn’t we?

My kids have all got things to do at school with their respective classes – writing about their favourite books, giving a little talk about them (Thing 3 has been practising his, about Tyrannosaurus Drip, for the past week.  He’s excited!).  So, without further ado, procrastination or other delaying tactics that might make you think I’m rambling to try and get the word count up (Simon R Green, I’m looking at you here – because that’s how it is… in the Nightside – I lost count how many times that phrase got used!)…

Some Books I’ve read since last World Book Day.

  • Terry Pratchett, Snuff

    The 39th Discworld novel sees Sam Vimes taking a Holiday at his wife’s country estate. Holidaying is not something that comes naturally to Sam.  The Discworld continues to evolve, a new race is drafted into the Watch, and there are plenty of laugh-until-you-cry moments.  It’s an excellent work but the Discworld is less and less something you can pick up and start anywhere with.  There’s enough of a coherent backstory and self-contained world there that you need prior knowledge to know who’s who and what’s what.  My advice is to start with Guards, Guards and work forward from there.  Snuff’ll still be there by the time you get there.
  • Jim Butcher, Ghost Story
    Ghost Story
    The latest in another series of novels, this time the Dresden Files.  (Potential Spoilers…) Dresden’s dead – ish – and back to find out the hows, whys, wheres, whens… This book goes deeper into Dresden’s past than previous ones, explains more about the mechanics of magic in the Dresdenverse and introduces both the spirit world and the landscape of the mental battlefield.  And it answers one of the questions posed by the ending of the last book.  Can’t wait for the next one!  If you’ve not read the Dresden Files before, for heaven’s sake don’t start here.  Jim Butcher does a good job of recapping important events so you’d never be lost (sometimes between chapters!) but you should really start with the first one and enjoy the ride in full.
  • Ben Hatch, Are We Nearly There Yet?

    What sort of a fool loads his wife and 2 kids into the car to drive around Britain for 2 months visiting just about everywhere that can be visited?  Ben Hatch does.  He’s visited places so that we don’t have to.  Peppered with memories from his childhood and early years at work, this book by turns entertains, informs, sings to the soul and dances along a line between laughter and tears.  Put very simply, if you’ve got a Kindle, kids and a sense of humour, you need this book.  Looking forward to the sequel!
  • Simon R Green, The Man With The Golden Torc

    This is one of those occasions where I’ve read a book so you don’t have to.  If you’ve read any of Simon R Green’s Nightside series of books, you’ll be familiar with his range of wonderfully eccentric characters, off-the-wall situations and judicious use of extreme force.  That’s part of the beauty of his books.  You’ll also be familiar with his other, less entertaining, habits.  In the Nightside books, it’s the repeating of the phrase “…in the Nightside.”  “That’s how things are… in the Nightside.”  “People are like that, in the Nightside.”  And on and on.  Eventually you develop a sort of mental filter and your brain just blurs past them as though they’re not there.  I can’t remember what the equivalent is in this one, but it was there and it was irritating as hell.  This book, unfortunately, was the final nail in the coffin for reading Simon R Green.  I’ve read several of the Nightside ones, and have Drinking Midnight Wine sat on the bookshelf ready to go but I’m not sure when I’ll get round to it.
    If you like Mr Green’s work already, you’ll like this and the books that follow (for this is the first in a series).  If you don’t, then I’d give this one a wide berth.  It’s not the urban fantasy James Bond I was expecting.
  • Ian Hocking, Deja-Vu

    Bought this one on a whim and I’m now following the author on Twitter, and he I.  It’s been ages since I read a good technothriller and one with a nice chunk of science fiction thrown in sounded too good to be missed (plus I was off on a training course and needed something to read that wasn’t ITIL or Green IT related).  If you’ve seen the film of the same name (which is  not a film of this book but an entirely different story), you might be expecting time travel.  You might say that, I couldn’t possibly comment.  The action races across the country, pausing to rest for a night in Northallerton (as you do).  It’s fast-paced, entertaining and believable.  There’s also a sequel available now, which is racked up on my Kindle ready to go.  This book hasn’t been filmed but it bloody deserves to be.
  • Tom Reynolds, Sirens (Or Blood, Sweat and Tea/More Blood, More Sweat and Another Cup of Tea)

    This, by contrast, has been filmed.  A collection of Tom Reynolds’ blog entries covering several years in the Ambulance Service covering London.  Funny, disgusting, ranty, angry, depressed, the whole gauntlet of emotions is covered.  Truly all human life is there.  A great one to dip in and out of as the mood takes you.
  • Tim Moore, I Believe in Yesterday

    Tim Moore must have a very understanding wife, that’s all I can say. After playing a game of Monopoly in each of the places mentioned in the game (Do Not Pass Go), cycling large chunks of the Tour de France route (French Revolutions) and walking the pilgrim trail with his donkey (Spanish Steps) amongst other things, he turns his attention to Living History, trying his hand at being a Roman soldier, a stone age man, a newspaper correspondent in the American Civil War…  Tim’s a very easy man to read, this book won’t take you long.  But it will make you think about how much we take things for granted.
  • It’s Just You, Everything’s Not Shit

    A celebration of everything wonderful in the world.  An A-Z of things that will make you smile, laugh and remember the good times.  And while you’re buying that for your Kindle, pick up a copy of 20th Century Dodos and find out what’s gone since you last looked at your childhood.

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