October's Overt Ogling of Omnipotent Opisthographs

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Mar 21, 2005
*Opisthographs = a manuscript, parchment, or book having writing on both sides of the leaves; of ancient greek origin.

Please post what you have been reading in October...:)
Reading a few of the more depraved essays from THE HISTORICAL NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENT by Rafael Sabatini to establish the mood before diving into GHOSTLY BY GASLIGHT edited by Sam Moskowitz and Alden H. Norton. After all, it is finally October!:)
I'm currently reading:

Watchers- Dean Koontz: Not a genre I'd pick up, but I finished all my books on holiday, and this looked the most readable out of my wife's pile of novels. Actually really enjoying it, despite it taking a little bit disbelief suspension.

In the Midst of Life: Our book club pick by one of our members. I'm a nurse, and I hate biographies. I really don't want to read about someone else's experiences in my field of work. I'm dreading this one...
Nearly finished The Grimscribe's Puppets edited by Joseph S. Pulver which is a fantastic horror anthology inspired by the work of Thomas Ligotti. He's not a writer you can easily riff on but some of the stories in here capture the mood of his stuff perfectly, particularly 'Diamond Dust' and '20 Simple Steps to Ventriloquism'. Really enjoyed it.
Finished The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (a few days ago :D). An enjoyable romp and an easy read. More here.

Now reading The Disspossessed by Ursula K Le Guin. First read this nearly forty years ago (OMG!!) and I'd forgotten just how good it is (if a little dated now).
Yes its been sat on my bookshelf for some time, but finally reading King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence.
Finished John Ringo's new novel, Under a Graveyard Sky. Ringo + zombies. The first half of the book is the infection and collapse of society, the second half is survivors at sea. It's not a richly absorbing book. It's a John Ringo book about the zombie apocalypse. And it is a really fun read. The second half (the ocean half) is the better half. When I read an apocalyptic novel I really want to get involved with the collapse of society (The Stand style), and this book didn't give me much of what I wanted in that respect. What it gave me was kick-ass zombie killing. Ringo likes his super warrior women, and in this book we get Faith, the semi-sociopathic, semi-psychotic, amazonian, weapons draped 13 year old daughter of the main character. Faith kills lots of zombies. Thousands of zombies. Ringo, in the forward says he stole the characters of his two daughters for the two daughters in the story, and the father's pride comes through. For those who loathe Ringo for his politics or his OH JOHN RINGO NO-ness, this book is actually pretty inoffensive in any way (unless you are a zombie rights activist). This book is the first in a trilogy (pretty sure it's a trilogy anyhow), and was a fun, fast read. I'm bummed I have to wait a year for the sequel.

Two of the last three books I've read were published by Baen, so may as well continue that trend. I'm finally starting Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International. I'm expecting some fun.
Just started All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. Breathtaking. Many other writers have made me envy a phrase, a line, a passage, but I can't remember any other that has made me almost sick with envy for page after page after page. The simple beauty of one passage just about a guy riding a horse had my eyes stinging.

I'm slowly reading Gawsworth's biography of Arthur Machen and rereading Machen's The London Adventure. I'll be starting a rereading of Dickens's Our Mutual Friend very soon. Later this month I expect to reread Charles Williams's All Hallows' Eve. All of these works have in common a strong "London" element. What it would be like to read them if you were a Londoner, I don't know!


Reading The Red Knight by Miles Cameron. It's one of those big-ass rolling fantasies, but has decent tempo nonetheless. An interesting/fresh spin on pagan v christian-type religion. By a Canadian too! Just a shame he won't be coming over for World Fantasy Con in Brighton at the end of this month.
Finished Watchers by Dean Koontz, I loved it! Could have easily been ridiculous but he somehow pulled it off!

Now onto Slaughterhouse 5 by Vonnegut, loving it so far.
Getting stuck into Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction by S.T. Joshi. I love his style, he really lays into writers he dislikes and has some great insights. My to-read list has expanded exponentially due to his recommendations.
Just started All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. Breathtaking. Many other writers have made me envy a phrase, a line, a passage, but I can't remember any other that has made me almost sick with envy for page after page after page. The simple beauty of one passage just about a guy riding a horse had my eyes stinging.
There's one particular paragraph in this book, where our young heroes ride across a ridge in Mexico and see the land before them. The paragraph is basically two very long sentences and it's the finest prose I have ever read, period. I have it marked with a bookmark and occasionally I take the book down to read that description "of the country of which they'd been told". It's so good I usually need a stiff drink afterward to calm my nerves.
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I forgot to mention what I'm reading: the second Alex Benedict novel by Jack McDevitt, "Polaris". It's an enjoyable read, and seems a little bit tighter than the preceding book in the series, Talent for War, which was written much earlier. McDevitt ain't no McCarthy, but it's fun nonetheless. I have a hankering to read some more Stephen King after this. I intend continuing the Dark Tower series and also give some of classics a go, which I've managed to miss somehow. Looking forward to 'Salem's Lot and The Stand a lot.

(In the Dark Tower I'm up to Wizard and Glass btw)
Ursula K Le Guin's The Dispossed. I last read this nearly forty years ago and was worried that it would be disappointing to reread, but I'm so glad that it felt as fresh as the first time I read it. More here.

Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon. A brilliant book; a sensitive and sympathetic look at the world of what we'd probably now call learning disability. The whole book - it's structure, writing, story and characters - is simply a work of art. More here.
Flowers for Algernon is one of my favorites -- brilliant indeed!

I temporarily abandoned Dickens (started last month) for a jaunt through Shakespeare. I have both volumes of the Complete Works checked out from the library, as I was unable to locate my own, and I'm skipping through in an attempt to finally read it all. This started when I bought the Digital Theatre version of David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Much Ado About Nothing, which is my favorite Shakespeare play. Then I had to go back and watch the Branagh/Thompson version, and then I wanted to read it again, hence the books. I also ordered David Tennant's Hamlet, which I waited to watch until I had read it again first and thus have not quite gotten to yet. So I read Much Ado About Nothing, and Hamlet, and now I'm in All's Well That Ends Well.

I also finished the third Troubletwisters book in the middle of all that, and started on the most recent John Grisham Theodore Boone book.
Finished Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International last night. It was about as fun a read as I've had recently (I've been reading some fun book lately). It surprised me by being more a cohesive novel than the collection of monster-blowing-up vignettes I expected. It also surprised me by being a very fast read. I expected it to be a light read, but at just over 700 pages (mmpb) I thought it might really bog down somewhere as the novelty of monster-killing with serious firepower wore off. But this didn't happen. The book zipped by and suddenly was over.

The book had its problems; there were bits that made no sense at all (pretty much the whole ending), huge deus ex machinas (pretty much the whole ending - like 3 or 4 of them, and earlier a huge one as well), a super gary stu protagonist...etc. But all its problems are forgivable by virtue of the book being a B-monster movie in novel form. The book's genius is how it lowers the reader's expectations, then wildly exceeds them.

I have the second book in my TBR, and on the strength of Correia's ability to keep me turning pages I picked up the first of his Grimnoir Chronicles books. I'm looking forward to a long career by him.
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