Inspiration's a bitch. I'm sure you know this already, but still. Inspiration's a bitch. I've said this many times already, but still. Inspiration's a bitch.
I've been reading a bit over the last couple weeks. Trying to get my mind off all the revision I'm meant to be doing. It hasn't worked too well, but I have had fun reading, nonetheless. There's been a load of fiction, and a load of graphic novels, and a bit of non-fiction, mainly my compulsory polit-theory reading but also some general econ stuff.
Firstly, the fiction:
In the middle of my third or fourth attempt at Catch-22. 'Tis hilarious, but still doesn't grip me. I like it's cynicism, and the characters are quirky and weir,d which is never a bad thing. But it just seems like a joke book, with one gag after another. Maybe I'll like it more once I've actually finished it. Maybe they'll figure out what to do with the dead man in Yossarian's tent.
First time in a while I picked up a random book because I thought it looked nice and bought it. I don't tend to do that, mostly because I don't trust new authors. But C J Sansom's Sovereign was terrific. It's the third of a series, set in Tudor England, round the time of Cromwell and people. He makes the world very, very believable, and makes the mystery mysterious without you having to have an in-depth knowledge of British history. Though some knowledge would probably not be a bad thing. It follows Matthew Shardlake, someone I was drawn to simply because I really like his name, who is a hunchback lawyer. Much loved it.
Then there was this rather short book; The Reluctant Fundamentalist, by Mohsin Hamid. It started off well enough, the way he writes the book is quite interesting. But it soon devolved into what can only be called a bleh of a novel. The main story grows dull, the lead character never really develops into someone we can relate to. Bleh, I say. Bleh bleh bleh bleh bleh. Bleh.
Also read The Immortals, by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. It's the tenth book in the Edge Chronicles, a series that's a) fantastically imagined, b) fantastically illustrated, and c) never ever gets old. Amma gave me the first book when i was ten or something, and I've never quite grown out of it. There's als a version of Neil Gaiman's Graveyard Book that's illustrated by Chris Riddell which is also rather well drawn, but the fantastic creatures of The Edge can't really be compared to anything else.
Secondly, the graphic novels:
I bought volume four of Planetary. Wow. The previous three volumes are really random, one issue is very rarely connected to the next, and the weirdness of the whole script is what keeps you wondering. In the concluding volume, however, the script is tight and focused, and there is no mistaking the fact that this is the end. We're not about to see any more adventures of the people who keep the world strange. The one thing I regret about the series is that it's so damn short. But it's better to go out when you're on top, nein?
There's also Fables, by Bill Willingham. Sure, the artwork isn't anything to write home about, but by the hammer of Thor, the story is the most gripping I've read in a very long time. It's a rather simple premise. What if fairy tale characters actually existed? But with that one supposition, Willingham creates an entire mythology of folk, from the Big Bad Wolf to Little Jack Horner, from Sinbad the Sailor to Prince Charming.'Tis a must read. If you're into graphic novels, anyway. Which I suspect you aren't.
And lastly, there's a little series by a man called Garth Ennis, called Preacher. You shouldn't let small children near it, you shouldn't let teenagers near it, you should probably not read it. It contains some of the most graphic, most offensive, most vulgar text and pictures you will ever read. But boy, is it good.
I find I'm a very irritating reviewer. I've just gone on about these things without telling you what they're about. But if you wanted to find out, you could very easily google them. This is just me recommending that you google them (In the case of Preacher, do so in some sort of sneaky way so that no one can recognise it's you doing it. Possibly in the same you way searched for other unsavoury items on the internet).