These are some of the books I plan to read over the next month. I like buying most of my books second-hand if I can and I’ve had a lucky run on eBay during the last few weeks; all of the auctions I’ve bid on I’ve won and I even found a couple of hardcovers I’d been trying to find all year.
The two books I’m looking forward to reading most are Water for Elephants and Restless; I’ve heard good things about both Gruen and Boyd but haven’t read them before. I’ve also had Greg Bear’s City at the End of Time since last year and haven’t read it yet; Bear is one of my favourite authors and this seems like a return to his best science fiction.
I probably won’t be able to read all of them due to my health but if I can read two or three in the month, I’ll be happy. I’ll post some reviews when I’ve finished them as well.
I wonder what you’re reading at the moment?
Water for Elephants
First Impressions: Unusual and beautiful. A dark, romantic story set primarily in a circus during the Great Depression; Rosie is a beautiful, sympathetic character as real as any of the human performers. Excellent so far.
Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life
First Impressions: Steve Martin’s memoir. Martin is one of my favourite comedians and a gifted writer. Should be a fascinating, insightful and funny look at his life and inspirations.
The Curse of Chalion
Lois McMaster Bujold
First Impressions: The first in Bujold’s Chalion series. Bujold is one author I’m not that familiar with, although she’s well respected in SF and fantasy. I thought I’d try this before her Vorkosigan novels.
Lord Valentine’s Castle
First Impressions: Silverberg is one of my favourite authors and this is supposed to be among his best novels. In tone it feels a little like Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness. I’ll be interested to see if I like it as much as The Book of Skulls, my favourite of Silverberg’s.
City at the End of Time
First Impressions: Bear’s latest and his return to hard science fiction. Bear is one of the few highly literate writers in SF and so far this looks very good, although I’m not sure I understand the concept yet. But that’s not unusual with Bear. I’ll read it next.
First Impressions: I know almost nothing about Boyd, although this is actually his ninth novel. He strikes me a little like John le Carré and Graham Greene, at least in tone. Looks excellent; an absorbing historical spy novel.
Just a quick note as well: next Tuesday is International Literacy Day and bloggers are being asked to write a post to highlight the falling standards of literacy in the world. It’s estimated that one in five adults around the world is illiterate, with more than 65% being women, and more than 75 million children are out of school.
As a writer literacy is very important to me, particularly indigenous literacy in Australia, and this is something I would have done even if it wasn’t being organised. If you’d like to take part as well, you can sign up here.