this one i didn’t read because of the film that’s based upon it, although i did see the film. i actually can’t remember too much about it, except that i pretty much enjoyed it, and that it had kevin bacon in it. i remember the atmosphere, though, or at least a kind of image of it – lots of naked light bulbs, casting shadows.
anyway, i liked i am leg-end, so i thought I’d give this a try. it was quite fun, although unexpectedly weird. the premise, if you haven’t heard of it, is that at a party this guy gets hypnotised, which awakens latent psychic abilities. cue murder mystery, psychic turmoil &etc.
so, i’ve been writing posts, but not getting round to publishing them…! oh well. anyway, i’ve finally got round to this one!
I recently read the lathe of heaven. I read it mostly because of a made-for-tv version I’d seen with lucas haas, james can and lisa bonet (I don’t know if anyone else has seen it). I really enjoyed the film and was looking for a similar kind of thing – which is something of a theme at the moment, as I’m busy reading the bourne identity for the same reason!
well, the book is quite different. most people who’ve seen the film after having read the book don’t like it too much, as it simplifies the plot too much. they feel that it isn’t essentially true to the story. I was rather caught off-guard by the extra stuff, and actually felt that the film was pretty true to the essence of the book.
I love dick and i’ve been wanting to go into his short story catalogue ever since (like many of you) I first discovered so-and-so film is based upon a story by philip k dick – and then that-other-film, and yet-another-film, and then oh-this-film-too.
I’d only read 2nd variety, having tracked it down in a best of sf collection, so I decided to go for we can remember it for you wholesale (try telling someone that’s what you’re reading. it’s a very hard title to understand when said out loud), which is of course what total recall was based upon. I got the dick collection the preserving machine, and wasn’t familiar with any of the other stories in the collection at all.
so neil gaiman posted a link to his bookshelves on twitter and guess what i’ve been doing, bookshelf perv that i am…
uncle neil has been very gracious and allowed shelfari to post big ol’ closeups of his shelves so that we can actually read the titles on the spines. and the coolest thing happened to nymeth, she spotted her favourite book on his shelf! her favourite author has her favourite book!
i wonder if you guys can spot any of your favourite books? in fact, shelfari have addressed that very issue by creating a forum for discussing which books you and neil share and any other thoughts that you might have about his bookshelves. you can even add the ones you spot to a virtual bookshelf!
hooray for bookshelves!
the end of mr. y by scarlett thomas is a novel about ariel manto, a lonely phd student who stumbles upon an extremely rare 19th century novel. claiming to be a true account, the book describes the discovery of a tincture which transports the drinker to the troposphere – a victorian cyberspace where you can access the mind of any person. ariel is fascinated by the troposphere and as the book contains the recipe for the tincture she is curious to try it, after all, what’s the worst that can happen? it’s only fiction isn’t it?
most of you probably already know about this book but in case you don’t here is a brief description of the premise:
rebecca is about a woman who marries a widower who apparently can’t get over the loss of his first wife just one year ago.
initially everything seems fine but once they return to his country estate in england the spectre of rebecca starts to loom large. she is ubiquitous – everyone talks about her, the servants seem to have preferred her, the entire house appears to be laid out to her specifications and even the garden is arranged according to her wishes!
our narrator is hugely intimidated and is made to feel very inadequate, but as she learns more about rebecca she begins to realise that something about her doesn’t add up and starts to discover that below her squeaky-clean image there are darker secrets lurking.
the once upon a time challenge ends today and i’ve only posted one review in all this time! so with today being the final day I thought I’d make a push to get at least one more review out there!
before i do that, let me just list the books i read for the challenge. i did the read 5 or more from any sub-genre challenge – although, for the first time, i think i could actually fit a book into each of the four sub-genres. i read:
- courtney crumrin and the night things, a gothic fantasy comic book by ted naifeh
- barking, a comic fantasy novel by tom holt
- wizard of earthsea by ursula le guin
- the time traveler’s wife, which i see as a modern fairy tale (aside from primarily being a romance, of course)
- the end of mr. y, a sort of urban fantasy sort of psychadelic, novel by scarlett thomas
- the great god pan by arthur machen
i thoroughly enjoyed all of them and hopefully i’ll be able to review more than just two of these! okay onto the great god pan:
this would probably fit into the mythology bracket but also has elements of horror and folk tale in it. written in the 1890s the story starts off with a typically cruel victorian experiment in which a scientist of some sort does some surgery on a woman’s brain in order to enable her to see the god pan – an experiment which leaves her feeble-minded. many years later high-flying and influential londoners start committing suicide and a mysterious woman appears on the social scene. before long it becomes clear that the woman and the suicides are definitely connected.
courtney and her family have moved to this rich neighbourhood to live with their uncle, professor aloysius crumrin. the good bit is that aloysius lives in a gothic mansion. the bad is everything else – courtney hates her parents, the new town she’s moved to and all the stupid rich kids at her new school. luckily for us, and for little courtney, uncle aloysius isn’t all he seems, and the gothic mansion is exactly what it seems!
this is one of those big science fiction books, one of the classics (for those of you who have already read it or know the premise, feel free to skip through my intro).
shipwrecked, for months gully foyle floats in space, alone, merely surviving until he sights another spaceship nearby. frantically he lets off numerous flares to attract its attention – it sees him, goes toward him and then, inexplicably, flies past.
galvanised by his rage at being left for dead foyle escapes from his predicament and with his newfound freedom single-mindedly focuses all his attention on one objective: revenge for being left to die.
at its heart the stars my destination is simply and purely a delightful revenge story. there is much to it but its for being a revenge story that i like it first and foremost.
that old vampire, he’s been creeping around in my mind more and more lately. very subtly – much like he does in the book.
i really enjoyed it the first time i read it but it didn’t stand out as one of the best books i’d read. but its a creeper. its one of those that stays. that floats in your subconscious. that grows.
i find myself thinking about it more and more. not voluntary thoughts, mind, just thoughts.
i finally realised that i love the book when i had one particular thought – the thought that is a pure giveaway that a book has become one of my favourites. i was about to recommend it to a friend when, suddenly, i felt incredibly jealous!
i envied him so much for being in that position of not having read dracula. of not knowing that wonderful world he was about to enter. for that first meeting with stoker’s wonderful novel… and the count’s warm embrace.
so, this 1000 books to read before you die has got me thinking. ignoring the debate about what is and what isn’t “good” and even having a list recommended to one, what has really got me thinking is discovering how few of these books everyone has read.
does that mean that all these people aren’t well-read? even nymeth, bookalactus (the devourer of books), the most well-read person I’ve ever encountered? hell no!
and yet, all those books seem good. i’ve heard of many of them and those that i haven’t heard of i’m discovering are highly rated too. so they’re all worth a look.
what this list has highlighted for me, then, is that we have to adjust our parameters regarding what we consider to be well-read.
i was very lucky to have her as my secret santa and i just want to thank her again for her generosity.
this was one of my choices for the rip challenge and i had a really fun time reading it!
as i’ve written in an earlier post, it’s a collection of mummy stories. here is the line-up:
- bram stoker – the jewel of seven stars (a novella)
- jane webb – the mummy
- edgar allen poe – some words with a mummy
- arthur conan doyle – the ring of thoth
- arhur conan doyle – lot 249
i started with the stoker and flipped back and forth as i also worked my way through the short stories. jane webb’s the mummy is great fun! written in the early 1800s (and influenced by frankenstein) it’s a futuristic story of a company of explorers that unearh a mummy (surprise surprise).
dead people on tv
charlotte and i have been watching zombies on tv too! we’re halfway through diary of the dead, which is so far pretty good. the acting is pretty okay but is lacking in naturalism, which is pretty important considering its meant to be a faux docu kind of thing.
its still creepy and unsettling, though, which is good (i guess), however, this tv show we’ve been watching, dead set, puts diary of the dead to shame.
dead set is 5 part zombie miniseries running from monday the 27 and ending on halloween. its focused on the reality tv show big brother and as such there is quite a bit of satire relating to the entertainment industry. i’ve only seen the first hour-length episode (the rest are half an hour) but so far its very good indeed.
what makes this quite interesting too is that the channel that is producing this show is the same one that broadcasts big brother and as a result they’ve been able to get a lot of the people who are actually involved with the show as well as channel 4 in general. so you have the actual host from big brother in it, past big brother contestants and other little extras like the real channel 4 newsreaders.
oh yeah, and its scaring the crap out of me.
i’m busy reading frankenstein and i just came across the funniest passage!
its from the first time frankenstein meets his monster since he created him, and its a moment full of excitement and drama. what makes it funnny, however, is that it bears a striking resemblance to the opening of a bout in wrestlemania!
you know what i mean – the dramatic entrance with blokes rushing towards each other, striking poses and shouting taunts at one another, and somehow managing to keep talking every time it looks like the fight is about to break out!
r.i.p. – quite appropriate considering i’ve been a walking corpse these days (in internet land).
deary me. our laptop just won’t get fixed. each time we send it off it only works for a few hours (literally) and then zonks out again. which is useful. this has been going on for more than a month now and as you can imagine is very frustrating!
on top of that i have had almost zero time for any internet browsing at work since i’ve been working like a maniac for the last few months. so i apologise for my internet invisibility.
but the rip challenge has arrived, and one thing i can share with you is reading horror books! i hope you all get your hands on some interesting choices and get lots of chills and thrills! i can’t wait to read some of your reviews when i get back. even if i have to print up some and take them home, i will get around to reading some reviews – as sharing and being a part of this experience is one of the things i most look forward to in the year!
ah… this morning i had a very nice relaxing little read before work.
charlotte goes to the gym before work every morning, so as a result i get into work quite early. as of late its been a very handy opportunity for me to catch up with work, but i’m pretty much up to date now and so this morning i decided to ease myself into the day a bit.
so at 08:15 i went to the canteen, got myself a croissant and sat down and had a nice read before work.
my mom and i have always said that we want to annotate our pratchetts and mark or highlight our favourite quotes. perhaps even have an index or something. he has such a way with words and comes up with the most delightful turns of phrase.
and sometimes simply says the funniest things.
today, at lunch, i was busy reading “making money” and there was one bit that had me laughing so much i couldn’t stop chuckling. it was that delicious, warm chuckle, where your body shakes.
moist, the main character, has just heard a proposition that comes with two different incentives, a threat and an enticement. this puts him in mind of the tactics of the city’s paternal tyrant, lord vetinari:
moist was impressed. stick and carrot. vetinari just used stick, or hit you over the head with the carrot.
theres been some progress on the internet front – as of friday we finally have a phone line.
all that has to happen now is for the phone line to be live for 5 working days, for me to ring SKY again to ask to be “booked on”, for them to send out our new modem, for them to test the line, for me to find five stones with blue speckles on them, for a little old lady to hop on one toe, for me to spin in a circle saying my name backwards, to put a glass of lightly salted water outside when the moon is three quarters, and to catch rumplestiltskin, and then we’ll have the internet again!
in and around these (and many other once-you’ve-moved-into-a-new-house) arrangements i’ve also started (and am well into) my books for once upon a time.
bugger. i realise i already started this post last month. its probably in one of my drafts somewhere…
just found it. yes, its a lot more flamboyant and all – heralding the challenge and thanking carl on his amazing work with launching and hosting it again.
those comments are rather superfluous now… but the fact that carl has again done an amazing job with this challenge bears repeating! so…
as usual carl has done an amazing job presenting the challenge and setting it up, and also laying it out beautifully! thank you, carl. (belatedly) i know it must’ve taken you ages and i can tell you that it really is greatly appreciated. like last year, you’ve again captured the wonder and the excitement of reading books in this genre and inspired me to dive into the realm of fantasy!
if there is anyone who still hasn’t taken a look at the challenge on carl’s page i strongly urge you to head over there – if you know challenges then you’ll immediately see that this is one of the best and if you’ve never partaken in one before (or don’t even know what one is) then this is the perfect introduction.