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ARCHIVE 2018 > Ash’s 60 in 2018

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message 1: by Ash (last edited Sep 20, 2018 07:15PM) (new)

Ash | 42 comments Coming at this late again this year, I’m going for 60 books. Hopefully it will be more than that but given the amount I read fluctuates wildly from month to month it’s a realistically conservative goal.

Here are the books already read this year.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Rabid by Bill Wasik
Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth
Dark Fire by C.J. Sansom
Beasts in My Belfry by Gerald Durrell
Kill Creek by Scott Thomas
Sovereign by C.J. Sansom
Lamentation by C.J. Sansom
Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon
Hearthstone by C.J. Sansom
Revelation by C.J. Sansom
The Bafut Beagles by Gerald Durrell
The Russian Revolution by Alan Moorehead
Strip Jack by Ian Rankin
The Goshawk by T.H. White
The Black Book by Ian Rankin
The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte
The Hardest Game by Hugh McIlvanney
The Eye in the Door by Pat Barker
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Cain’s Last Stand by Sandy Mitchell
Dark Matter by Michelle Paver
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Abhorsen by Garth Nix
The Demon in the Freezer by Richard Preston
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick
Soul Hunter by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
House of Cards by Michael Dobbs
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

48/60


message 2: by Ash (last edited Aug 13, 2018 10:29PM) (new)

Ash | 42 comments Night Shift by Stephen King 9/10

Perhaps King’s most acclaimed collection of short stories and with good reason. With perhaps one exception (Quitters Inc.) all of the stories found here are extremely good. It’s not perfect but it’s the most consistent collection of horror short stories I’ve ever encountered.

The Pilgrim of Hate by Ellis Peters 6/10
One of the better brother cadfael tales. Ellis Peters has a tendency to be somewhat formulaic, an issue which is present with this one. That aside it has a suitably subtle plot line and doesn't feel the need to dwell on painfully romanticised concepts of ‘young love’ as some of her other books. It was a reasonable read but when compared to other historical detective fiction such as the shardlake series it cannot really compete.



Silence by Shusaku Endu 8/10

Having given this several days to sink in I have to say that I not convinced that this book lives up to it’s hype. The tale of a priest struggling with his faith in the face of extreme adversity is certainly well told but from my perspective it could be picked up and grafted onto any historical setting you like. There is very little sense of 17th century japan and the Japanese seem almost incidental to the story. I’m glad I read it but I doubt it’ll happen again.

One Step Behind by Henning Mankell 7/10

One step behind is very much a boom of two halves and unfortunately yo have t slog through the first half which verges on the inconsequential to get to the real meat of the tale. Fortunately the second half makes up for it. Mankell’s killer for once is interesting as opposed to his baddies in previous books who have a tendency to be a bit faceless.

'Salem's Lot by Stephen King 7/10

A well written but thoroughly uncreepy vampire tale. To be honest ‘One for the road’ in Nighshift, his collection short stories, had considerably more tension. Lack of creep factor aside, which is a bit of a failing in a horror novel, the plot and characters are all you might expect from someone like King. The only real failing I could find on that front was his treatment of religion which for some reason plays a far bigger role in the fighting of vampires than I was really happy with. I felt that there was an inconsistency in the way that Catholicism was treated, on the one hand shielding against the dark creatures while at the same time the text repeatedly makes reference to a more powerful and primitive faith, never properly expounded upon.


message 3: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) Ash wrote: "Coming at this late again this year, I’m going for 60 books. Hopefully it will be more than that but given the amount I read fluctuates wildly from month to month it’s a realistically conservative ..."

Wishing you the best of luck with your goal Ash & happy reading!


message 4: by Ash (new)

Ash | 42 comments Thanks.

Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina by Robert Graves 8/10

I, Claudius is in my view one of the best historical novels ever written, it is unfortunate that that it’s sequel fails to meet the same standard. Comparatively to other historical fiction it is still a good book, but while the struggle to be princeps within the Claudian dynasty provided the original with a a clear narrative structure to hang subplots from, this book flits between different aspects of claudius’ reign and comes across as more than a little confused. There are some good parts in it; the rise of Herod Agrippa, the conquest of Britain and the fall of Messalina, which are depicted with clarity. There is also a lot of filler. Comparison to Graves’ first book is inevitable and it fails when judged by that standard

An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas 7/10

All the books in Fred Vargas’ Adamsberg series are a bit...erm...wacky. The combination of gothic melodrama reminiscent of Ann Radcliffe with a modern police procedural is not the most obvious combination. Consequently the plots do tend to verge on the unrealistic with a network of vendettas and personal connections to the officers which could not possibly exist in the real world. They do suffer a little from being neither one thing or the other but my fondness for horror means that the combination serves to spice up another wise formulaic genre. An uncertain place maintains a consistent standard with others in the series.


The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek 3/10

I’m sure this is art to somebody but it wasn’t to me. I appreciate the idea is to depict a woman so hemmed in that she escapes into harsh depravity. However my impression was more like the internal experience of someone with a serious personality disorder. Not so much profound as pathological. It is also horrifically repetitive in terms of describing the protagonist’s experience and no where near as shocking as it thinks it is. The whole book could realistically have been stripped down by 150 pages and the result would have been a considerable improvement with far greater impact. In the end my only real feeling upon reading this one was I wish it had happened to someone else.

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett 8/10

I’m a big discworld fan so there is going to be some considerable bias here I imagine. Moving pictures marks the last of the early discworld novels which are essentially a fantasy equivalent of Douglas Adams and it’s nice to see many of the series regulars make their first appearance here. That being said this is not one of the better plot lines and it can become a little suspect in places. The characters as also not as well rounded as those found in the later books. It’s still a good book, but it’s unlikely to become one of my perennial favourites.


message 5: by Ash (new)

Ash | 42 comments A very speedy update:

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky 4/10

Spying on Whales: The Past, Present, and Future of Earth's Most Awesome Creatures by Nick Pyenson 8/10

Off Season by Jack Ketchum 9/10

The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch 3/10

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett 8/10

Games People Play by Eric Berne 9/10


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