Category: General

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Summer TBR

Posted June 16, 2020 by Nicky in General / 8 Comments

Greetings folks! I’m all caught up with my backlog of comments and so on and excited to get back to visiting more blogs. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is books on your summer TBR… and while I’m really bad at picking out what I’m actually going to read, I love lists and planning what I’m going to read so I can ignore it, so… here goes! Links go to the GR page so you can read the summaries.

Cover of Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch Cover of Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid Cover of Pet by Akwaeke Emezi Cover of Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran Cover of Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

  1. Brit(ish), by Afua Hirsch. I’ve been wanting to read more books focused on the experience of being a person of colour in Britain; so much of the discussion on racism focuses on the situation in the US, and my feeling is that while there are commonalities, there are bound to be differences as well. I’d like to get a better feel for that (though Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book was a good starting point).
  2. Daisy Jones & the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo — or at least, I tore right through it, even if I had some more ambiguous feelings at the end. I have actually started Daisy Jones, but it hasn’t really hooked me yet.
  3. Pet, by Akwaeke Emezi. I’m super curious about this one, based on the blurb, so I picked it up recently. It’s a relatively short read, too, which is quite attractive for my easily distracted brain right now. There’s just so much that sounds awesome, though reviews from people I know have been a bit mixed. Still, a world where badness has been defeated… I’m really fascinated to see how the book deals with that.
  4. Queen of Coin and Whispers, by Helen Corcoran. This has been on my TBR for a while and my preorder finaaaally made it. I’m willing to bet it’s something my sister would love, too, but I get it first. Mwahaha, etc.
  5. Red, White & Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston. It sounds like so much fun and so cute. And like a world I want to be in right now, to be honest, where the biggest problem in US politics is apparently that the female President’s son falls in love with a fictional British prince.
  6. The Covid-19 Catastrophe: What’s Gone Wrong and How to Stop It Happening Again, by Richard Horton. On the other hand, obviously this is super-topical right now, but I think it’s going to be a really interesting take on it. Current affairs + public health, it’s right down my alley.
  7. This Is Kind of An Epic Love Story, by Kacen Callender. This is something I picked up recently as well, and it sounds really cute. Also, romance with a hard of hearing character? Awesome!
  8. Catherine House, by Elisabeth Thomas. This sounds creepy-weird! It was actually a rec in a Twitter thread and I kind of just went for it, so it’ll be interesting to see what I make of it.
  9. Boyfriend Material, by Alexis Hall. I have an ARC, and I really need to dig into it. It sounds so fun — fake dating is a great trope to play with. I’ve been eager for this since I first heard about it.
  10. Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders, by Aliette de Bodard. I really need to reread the first two books of the Dominion of the Fallen so I can read the third, but this stands alone and should be a lot of fun. I loved Asmodeus and Thuan, even is Asmodeus is… well, he’s Asmodeus; you’ll know what I mean if you’ve read The House of Binding Thorns. I have an ARC, and it’s probably close to the top of my TBR right now.

Cover of The Covid-19 Catastrophe by Richard Horton Cover of This is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kacen Callender Cover of Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas Cover of Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall Cover of Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders by Aliette De Bodard

So that’s one version of what I might be reading this summer. How about you?

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Weekly Roundup

Posted June 14, 2020 by Nicky in General / 7 Comments

Hey folks! Regulars around here might have noticed a small change over the last few days: I’ve changed the spelling of my name from “Nikki” to “Nicky”. WordPress won’t allow me to change it for my past comments, so you’ll still see it around in some places. “Nikki” just wasn’t quite me anymore. It’d be great if everyone can try to use the new spelling, but I know it’s not always easy to remember, so I won’t yell at you if you forget!

Also, I’m really sorry, but I’m still behind on comments. I’m still going to post my link to this week’s linkups and keep right on top of replying to comments here, while going back through my backlog to reply and visit folks in return. Thanks for understanding! Weird times we live in, huh?

Aaand yep, my site had some downtime again today. Not sure what happened there, so fingers crossed it’s over.

All that said, here’s some books I got this week!

Linking up with The Sunday Post @ The Caffeinated Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves @ Reading Reality & Tynga’s Reviews.

Books acquired:

Cover of The Spoilt Kill by Mary Kelly Cover of Crossed Skis by Carol Carnac Cover of Pet by Akwaeke Emezi Cover of Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran

Cover of The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter Cover of Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James Cover of Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik

Few more than I should have been buying, hahaha. Partly that’s due to gifts and preorders, though! As usual, it’s a biiiit of a mixture.

Books read this week:

Cover of The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken Cover of Burning Roses by S.L. Huang Cover of Think of England by K.J. Charles Cover of The Science of Monsters by Matt Kaplan

Reviews posted this week:

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, by Zen Cho. A Wuxia story that just didn’t quite work for me… partly because, though the idea appeals, I don’t actually know that much about the genre. It’s hard to appreciate the cleverness and context that way! 3/5 stars
Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken, by The Secret Barrister. Rather enlightening (and also frightening) look at how Britain’s legal system is completely fucked up and failing. 4/5 stars
The Science of Monsters, by Matt Kaplan. Ugh, this was promising but… the author continually pushed his ideas too far and made them ridiculous. 2/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: Books from the Backlog. A little collection of books that, for one reason or another, have slipped to the bottom of my TBR.
WWW Wednesday. Including my thoughts on How to be an Antiracist and Burning Roses.
Ereader Review: the Onyx Boox Poke2. I thought I’d write up my experiences with my latest gadget — the bottom line being that it’s a really great ereader if you’re prepared to put in the time to get things set up for yourself.

How’s everyone else doing? Get anything good this week? Reading something stunning? Personally I’ve been enjoying the cool rainy days, but I know they can’t last…

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Ereader Review: Onyx Boox Poke2

Posted June 13, 2020 by Nicky in General / 5 Comments

The Onyx Boox Poke2

When it comes to ereaders, everybody knows about the Kindles and Kobos — there’s brand-name recognition there, even if you’ve never owned them. But they’re not the only ereaders out there, and I’ve been thinking for a while about getting hold of an ereader that’s a bit less tied to a specific ebook store. I haven’t loved the user interface on the most recent Kobos, and Kindle’s software has all the same flaws I found annoying when I owned a Kindle Keyboard.

I knew about the Onyx Boox ereaders, but I’d never even handled one, and there was no way to get to play with one in advance, so I was hesitant. The Poke2 is one of their newer models, and it didn’t really take me long to take the plunge when I read up on the specs. The selling point for me is that the Poke2 is built on Android, meaning that it can download any app on the Google Play Store: Amazon and Kobo, of course, but also various apps tied to libraries like Libby and BorrowBox, or subscription services like Scribd.

There are other neat features, like the screen light: you can adjust both the strength and the temperature of the light, to create a comfortable reading experience and to cut down on blue light. It’s one of the lightest and smallest readers out there, touted as the closest thing to the Kobo Mini that I adored (and would still use, had it only a built-in light). It’s also supposed to be better for PDFs than Kobo or Kindle. It can handle pretty much all the popular file types.

So, how was my experience?

Well, it wasn’t a joy to order it: they had very few units available due to delays in manufacturing during the pandemic, and then there were delays in dispatching and of course also delays with Fedex (although this is not their fault at all, and not really the fault of Fedex either; it’s just the way things are). Once it arrived, though… it’s a joy. I have both a Kindle Paperwhite and a Kobo Aura 2, which are pretty comparable with each other in terms of weight, shape and feel. I took some comparison pics with the Kindle:

Kindle Paperwhite on the left, compared with an Onyx Boox Poke2 on the left. Screen up.
Kindle Paperwhite on the left, Onyx Boox Poke2 on the right.

Kindle Paperwhite on the left, compared with an Onyx Boox Poke2 on the left. On their sides.I have to say that I’m a convert: the Poke2 feels slimmer and sharper, and the Kindle isn’t curved enough that it makes it significantly nicer to hold. From using it, I do have a slight problem that how I hold the Poke2 tends to cause me to very lightly touch the screen, because that margin really isn’t very wide. The more I read and get used to holding it, the less it happens.

I also got a free cover with the Poke2, and it’s pretty nice: it looks like fabric, but it’s waterproof and easy to clean. It’s super lightweight, and basically my only issue is that it’s fixed onto the ereader with sticky pads. I’ve never loved sticking my ereaders into covers, even if it does keep them very light. That said, I’ve found this cover the least obtrusive of any I’ve had, it has the sleep/wake function, it folds back on itself easily without creating an ugly crease, and it was free.

In terms of the software, it takes some setting up. It doesn’t come registered for Google Play immediately, and I couldn’t find out how to until I turned on the browser by chance. They do have instructions, once you do that, but it doesn’t necessarily leap to mind as the first thing to try! I also would not recommend the built-in reader: I find the sidebar annoying, and though there’s a large choice of fonts (and it’s easy to download and install more), I couldn’t get them as small as I wanted.

Once I did get myself set up, I was all good though. I ended up paying for Calibre Companion for easy sorting of my side-loaded books, and that has been worth the price already — I don’t have to connect my ereader via USB, just set up the link over wireless. You can actually drop books to it via wifi anyway, without Calibre Companion, but I already used Calibre and having that as the interface helps keep things organised.

I also have Libby and Borrowbox installed for library books, and I’ve rarely made so much use of the library; it’s just as easy as downloading them to my phone (which I always found to be too full of distractions for good reading time, though great while on the go). With the Kindle and Kobo apps as well, I can access both my collections. When I want to read the side-loaded books, so far I’ve been using Moon+ Reader, but anything where you can disable animations, set a plain white background and use black text will work just fine.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for something that just works out of the box, you’re still looking at a Kindle, Kobo or another of the established players. The Onyx Boox Poke2 is much more what you make of it, and you can customise a lot of things. That means setting it up can be a bit of a learning curve, but once you’ve got the Play Store authorised, you’re home free if you’re used to using Android. It runs on Android 9, so it’ll be around for a while, and it adds a lot of convenience to accessing a diverse ebook collection. I love the feel and weight of it, and for me the customizability is a plus.


Custom screensavers on the Poke2

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WWW Wednesday

Posted June 10, 2020 by Nicky in General / 14 Comments

It’s that time again! Check out Taking On A World Of Words to chat with everyone else who has posted what they’re reading right now!

Cover of The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha ShannonWhat are you currently reading?

Fiction: currently still in the middle of The Priory of the Orange Tree, at the five-pages-a-day pace. I’m not sure if everyone else is still doing it, actually; I should drop a message in our group thread! It’s a very slow pace for me, but it’s something that’s doable even when my brain is rubbish, so actually it’s really nice.

I think it’s the only thing I currently have actively on the go, fiction-wise, though as usual there are a lot of books lying around at some stage of progress.

Cover of How To Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. KendiNon-fiction: I’m reading Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be An Antiracist. It’s been on my radar for a while, and then my library actually bought it (probably because of everything that’s going on at the moment). I think a lot of people think it’s a handbook, a list of steps about how you, the reader, should become an antiracist; my impression was that it’s more of a memoir about how Kendi became and experiences being an antiracist, and why he feels it’s important, and so far that’s being borne out.

What have you recently finished reading?

Cover of Burning Roses by S.L. HuangFiction: I just read Burning Roses, by S.L. Huang. I didn’t know the Hou Yi legends before (or rather, I think I’ve read about the story somewhere, but it’s not part of my cultural consciousness), but I thought it was neat how the novella weaves that story in with Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, and even Beauty and the Beast. They’re all stories at different registers, for me, and yet Huang makes it work.

It’s also delightfully queer.

Non-fiction: I read the Secret Barrister’s Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken at a gallop because someone else had a hold on it, and finished that this weekend. Meep, I do not ever want to end up in the British court system for any reason. Yeeesh.

Cover of Pet by Akwaeke EmeziWhat will you be reading next?

Good question! My library have just bought Empire of Light by Alex Harrow at my request, so that’s definitely high on the list; I’ve just got Pet by Akwaeke Emezi, so I want to read that soon. As always, what I’ll actually read is anyone’s guess — I also just got a review copy of Boyfriend Material, by Alexis Hall, and goodness only knows what non-fiction I’ll pick up next.

What are you currently reading?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books from the Backlog

Posted June 9, 2020 by Nicky in General / 11 Comments

This week’s theme is “books you added to your TBR and forgot why”. I’m not quite sure how to answer that, because the reason I added books to my TBR is always that they were interesting. Often someone or other has recommended them, but equally often it’s just that I stumbled across them somewhere. The precise reason is lost in time for almost everything on my TBR.

But I think a look at some books that have been on my backlog and almost been forgotten there might be instructive!

  1. Retribution Falls, by Chris Wooding. This was bought for me in a LibraryThing Secret Santa! I think that must’ve been in about 2012? It’s a good pick for me and people have compared it to Firefly and it just… hasn’t made it up the pile yet. I’m a mood reader! This… will be a theme.
  2. Daughter of the Forest, by Juliet Marillier. Oh gosh, this has been on my list for even longer. I didn’t entirely get along with it when I first tried it, and stalled out somewhere in the middle; I decided to try again, sometime after I read and loved Heart’s Blood. I still intend to!
  3. Memory and Dream, by Charles de Lint. A friend of mine loves Charles de Lint’s work; I’ve only read a couple, and I remember coming across this one in a charity shop and deciding, hey, why not? It’s something I kept in the big clear-out, but I think it might be from 2011 — one of the oldest books on my TBR, in other words.
  4. Ammonite, by Nicola Griffith. This is a classic, and I know I should’ve read it already. Mea culpa?
  5. Republic of Thieves, by Scott Lynch. I inhaled the first two books, and then this one just… didn’t come out, for ages. Once it finally did, I was sort of reluctant to read it and then have to wait again. It really does have to happen someday soon, before my wife and mother both explode.
  6. The Girl with All the Gifts, by M.R. Carey. I’ve had this since it first came out in paperback, I think. It’s not quite my thing, which is part of why it’s lingered — but I do enjoy the right kind of zombie novel, as Mira Grant’s Feed demonstrates, so it’s sort of waiting for the right mood.
  7. The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin. I am a big fan of N.K. Jemisin, and when I got this on the release day way back when, I started reading it, read 200 pages in one go, and then… somehow never touched it again. I remember that some life thing threw me off, but I don’t remember what.
  8. The Iron Ghost, by Jen Williams. I really liked The Copper Promise, but by the time I picked up The Iron Ghost, I didn’t remember it well enough. I love supporting ongoing series, but it does drive me nuts that if I read a series as it comes out, I’m at risk of forgetting what was in the first book before the next comes out. I’ve always been a big reader, so this didn’t always bother me… but with so many books and so many series to love, it’s a bit overwhelming.
  9. City of Miracles, by Robert Jackson Bennett. Yep, that’s another case of the above! I loved City of Stairs and enjoyed City of Blades. I really have to get to this soon.
  10. Two Serpents Rise, by Max Gladstone. This is sooort of the same deal, but also because I wasn’t totally sure I “got” Three Parts Dead, and meant to reread that first. And then… time passed, and moodreading is a thing, and here I am ‘fessing up, years later.

So what about you guys? Do you actually forget why you’ve added books to your TBR? Or are you more like me and it’s just a fierce fight for any particular book to get to the top?

Just FYI, I’ve been struggling a bit with mental health and tiredness, and it might be a couple of days before I can visit back if you comment… but I always do my best and totally commit to doing so this time (even if I call amnesty on past weeks).

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Weekly Roundup

Posted June 7, 2020 by Nicky in General / 7 Comments

Hey folks! I don’t know if anyone noticed my site going down for a day, but that was a whole mess. It’s been a fairly quiet week here: not much reading, at least, though there’s been plenty of other stuff to do. I have spent around three hours today reading, which is nice!

Linking up with The Sunday Post @ The Caffeinated Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves @ Reading Reality & Tynga’s Reviews.

Received to review:

Cover of How To Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi Cover of Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders by Aliette De Bodard Cover of Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston Cover of The Key to All Things by Cindy Lynn Speer

Purchased:

Cover of This is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kacen Callender Cover of Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

Books finished this week:

Cover of Language Myths by Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill Cover of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Reviews posted this week:

How to Invent Everything, by Ryan North. Fun gimmick, didn’t always work for me as a reading experience. Think I might know a bit too much to get the best out of it. 3/5 stars
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I tore through this… and also thought it could have been a more profound story with less about Evelyn’s love affair, and more about one of her relationships with one of her husbands. 3/5 stars
Language Myths, ed. Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill. Fairly slight but a decent primer. 3/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: Books by Black Authors. Some of my four- and five-star reads from Black authors, for no reason and apropos of nothing…
WWW Wednesday. This week’s update, discussing Evelyn Hugo and Language Myths.

How are you all doing? Times are rough for many people for many reasons, so if chatting about books is the distraction you’re seeking, drop me a comment! <3

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WWW Wednesday

Posted June 3, 2020 by Nicky in General / 1 Comment

It’s that time again! Check out Taking On A World Of Words to chat with everyone else who has posted what they’re reading right now!

Cover of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins ReidWhat are you currently reading?

In theory a whoooole bunch of things, but not many of them are giving me joy in this particular moment and there’s only one book on my mind, which is Taylor Jenkins Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Someone sent me this via the LibraryThing/Litsy Secret Santa, and I wasn’t sure because I normally think of myself as a genre person… but on the other hand, I like so many different genres and… well, I gave it a try.

I blasted through 200 pages in an hour without really wanting to put it down; I’m a little annoyed that I have put it down. I’m not sure what I think of it, yet, but it’s fun and gossipy and I want to know Evelyn’s secrets, so it’s a success on that front.

Cover of Language Myths by Laurie Bauer and Peter TrudgillWhat have you recently finished reading?

Language Myths, ed. Laurie Bauer. I read it for the Dewey Decimal challenge. It was interesting, but I could tell it was very surface level and so some arguments just felt rather glib and like a straw man was installed just to be dismantled as quickly as possible. I didn’t disagree with any of it or think any of it sounded untrue to my experience or other reading, but… each linguist’s response was very brief.

Cover of The Lost Plot by Genevieve CogmanWhat will you be reading next? 

That all depends on whether either of my libraries purchases the books I’ve been recommending, I guess. In terms of what I’m going to focus on next, I have the Secret Barrister’s book due back in a couple of days, so I should finish reading that… and I also want to finish rereading Genevieve Cogman’s The Lost Plot finally. However, I’m hoping that the library orders copies of Felix Ever After and Black Girl Unlimited. (Or I might just pick them up myself come Saturday, which is my book ordering day.)

What about you?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books by Black Authors

Posted June 2, 2020 by Nicky in General / 6 Comments

This week, I’ve gone off-piste to talk about some books by non-white authors. For no apparent reason.

I’ve picked out books I love: four and five-star reads. I’ve picked ten different authors and some different genres, in hopes that everyone can find something that sounds interesting if they go exploring and try to pick up one of these.

  1. Redemption in Indigo, by Karen Lord. I don’t remember this book well enough and reading my old review leaves me itching to reread it. I loved it and the fable-like structure and narration.
  2. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin. The whole trilogy is great, and I’m sure her later books that I haven’t read are great, but this is where I started and I was totally riveted.
  3. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas. This got a lot of hype, but I really felt it was worth it… and it’s topical as hell right now.
  4. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge. If you want to read a more British examination of racism, this is a great starting point.
  5. The Black God’s Drums, by P. Djèlí Clark. This is a novella, and when I finished I was dyiiiing for more.
  6. Fledgling, by Octavia Butler. This was a disturbing and difficult read, and it left a huge impression on me. Kindred is being recommended a lot, and I rated it higher at the time, but Fledgling is the one that stayed with me.
  7. The Colour Purple, by Alice Walker. Okay, this one is totally and absolutely obvious, but I took so long to read it. Still, it got my rare accolade of five stars, and I couldn’t leave it off the list. It’s moving and beautifully written, making such great use of dialect and the epistolary form.
  8. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe. Same here. This is such an obvious one — but I have to say that nobody ever really sold this book to me, and the same thing happened with The Color Purple. I was told I should read it and not why, beyond “it’s important”… and that isn’t always the most enticing. I found it genuinely riveting, though, so definitely don’t dismiss it because it’s viewed as a classic.
  9. Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly. This book is obviously pretty well known by now, but when I read it, I was completely boggled by this history of women that I’d never heard of, never dreamed of. And from what I hear, the movie bears only a glancing resemblance to the truth, so if you’ve only seen the movie… do yourself a favour!
  10. The Salt Roads, by Nalo Hopkinson. My memories of this book are full of sense-memories, tastes and smells and colour. And while it isn’t as topical as The Hate U Give, for instance… you’ll find it has a lot of resonance.

Aaand in the process of this I realised that I still have a few other books by some of these authors that I haven’t even read, which is a lovely thought.

I think all of these are in the US, but Twitter has a list of Black-owned bookshops you can order from going around, if you’d like to order any of these.

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Weekly Roundup

Posted May 31, 2020 by Nicky in General / 4 Comments

Greetings, everybody. It’s been a heck of a week out there, so I hope you’re all okay.

Here in self-imposed self-isolation (for the foreseeable future, though my dad may come over and converse with me from two metres away while pulling up weeds) it’s been quiet, including on the reading front…

Linking up with The Sunday Post @ The Caffeinated Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves @ Reading Reality & Tynga’s Reviews.

Acquired this week:

Cover of Language Myths by Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill

Books read this week:

Cover of Around the World in 80 Words by Paul Anthony Jones Cover of How to Invent Everything by Ryan North Cover of The Colour of Murder by Julian Symons

Reviews posted this week:

The Ghosts of Sherwood, by Carrie Vaughn. This review’s been waiting for a while to go up because of Tor’s restrictions on when you can publish — which means the book is due out soon! It’s an enjoyable aftermath of the Robin Hood myth, with some nice characterisation when it comes to Marian and Robin. Not wholly sold, but I do have the sequel to review! 3/5 stars
Around the World in 80 Words, by Paul Anthony Jones. Not bad, but a bit random at times and more for dipping into than reading in a couple of sittings. 3/5 stars
The Colour of Murder, by Julian Symons. An interesting psychological take on a potential murderer, with questions left trailing at the end. 3/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Opening Lines. A real mix here, with mystery, fantasy, SF and historical fiction.
WWW Wednesday. Discussing… lots of books at once, as usual!

How’re you all doing?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted May 27, 2020 by Nicky in General / 14 Comments

It’s that time again! Check out Taking On A World Of Words to chat with everyone else who has posted what they’re reading right now!

Cover of The Colour of Murder by Julian SymonsWhat are you currently reading?

Fiction: I just started The Colour of Murder, by Julian Symons. It’s one of the British Library Crime Classics collection, one of the post-war ones; the first half at least consists of a sort of confessional meander to a psychologist about the events leading up to the murder. It’s interesting because it’s not a “whodunnit”, and you don’t even yet know who has been killed, though my two candidates are basically the female characters.

Non-fiction: I’m in the middle of How to Invent Everything, by Ryan North, and Around the World in 80 Words, by Paul Anthony Jones. The former is interesting, but the jocular tone and asides about pizza are starting to irritate. I don’t read non-fiction for the authorial voice to intrude quite so much, usually. Around the World in 80 Days is for the Dewey decimal challenge I think I’ve mentioned before, since How Language Began felt too heavy to finish in a week. It’s okay; a bit random, and sometimes really stretching. Some of these words are neither terribly interesting nor terribly relevant, whereas the author’s Twitter has a tendency to come out with a perfectly apposite word for the current political situation… which I like more.

Cover of Unfit to Print by K.J. CharlesWhat have you recently finished reading?

I think it was K.J. Charles’ Unfit to Print, which is a lot of fun; I do enjoy righteous, caring Vikram, even if Gil is a bit of a hedgehog (prickly to stop you getting too close) and rather reluctant to do the right thing. Not my usual sort of character, but Vikram is more to my taste, so they balance one another out.

I feel like I haven’t really been reading much, and indeed, I finished Unfit to Print on Saturday. Yipes. My 500-books-a-year days are so far behind me, and I miss them rather.

Cover of The Boy in the Red Dress by Kristin LambertWhat will you be reading next?

Goodness knows, but the book I picked up this week was Kristin Lambert’s The Boy in the Red Dress, which sounds like a lot of fun. Someone called it a queerer Phryne Fisher, which sounds right up my street. I also intend to pick up the book I got last week as soon as I’m reading slightly fewer non-fiction books concurrently.

What are you currently reading?

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