June Reading Thread

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Yesterday I finally finished the non-fiction book Embroidering Her Truth about Mary, Queen of Scots and her textiles (interesting facts-wise but deeply annoying authorial self-insertions about her own life and work) and I've just started a medieval (well, early modern) murder mystery -- Holy Spy by Rory Clements, which by coincidence is set in the middle of the Babington Plot which brings Mary Stuart's downfall.

What are you reading this month?
 
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Just finished THE LAST ASSASSIN by Peter Stothard, the gripping non-fiction story of the men who assassinated Julius Caesar and the civil war their act triggered. Very highly recommended.

And just started Mel Brooks' autobiography, the wonderfully titled, ALL ABOUT ME. So far, so funny.
 
Finished Nghi Vo's Into The Riverlands, which features some of the most trenchantly amusing characters I've come across in some time.
 
I’m about 30% in Richard Matheson’s I am Legend (1954), and I’m enjoying it a lot. MUCH better than the Will Smith movie. It’s pretty addictive. For the most part, it has just a single character, so he’s alone with his thoughts. I’m finding that to be very interesting because I got used to stories like The Road, The Mandalorian, and The Last of Us, which feature a hunk and a child.

As is a book from the fifties, there are some old-fashioned, not to say inappropriate, terms, like Negro. And its stance on women is also pretty weird (as viewed with today’s lenses).
 
THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD by Charles Dickens. 1870.

CATCHING THE BIG FISH, David Lynch
2006.
 
Currently reading Starship Titanic, by Terry Jones and Douglas Adams.
This is a re-release.
Oh wow! I didn't realise this was a book too. I might have to look into this.

I have the point and click game at home somewhere.
 
Travels with Myself and Another (1978) Martha Gelhorn.
One of those writers that I have seen discussed peripherally in reviews over the years, and noted but paid no further attention. Came across this in a give away box outside a house clearance.
Very promising after 30 pages and I will continue.
 
I’m about 30% in Richard Matheson’s I am Legend (1954), and I’m enjoying it a lot. MUCH better than the Will Smith movie. It’s pretty addictive. For the most part, it has just a single character, so he’s alone with his thoughts. I’m finding that to be very interesting because I got used to stories like The Road, The Mandalorian, and The Last of Us, which feature a hunk and a child.

It's a very good book. Between that and The Day of the Triffids (which is also very good) you've got pretty much every post-apocalyptic, zombie-style story covered.

I read Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson, a collection of essays about computers, Japan, cities and the sort of thing people would want William Gibson to write essays about. It includes "Disneyland With The Death Penalty", a famous essay about Singapore. It's dated, but in an interesting way. Gibson writes in a very dense fashion, and a lot of the sentences benefit from re-reading. Interesting stuff.
 
Finished Blightslayer by Richard Strachan. The latest Gotrek book set in the Age of Sigmar setting. This one sees him reeling in his grumpy manner from the events of the previous book whilst being spurred on in his quest for a certain axe. Joined by a new companion they set out to visit a town blighted by disease and plague.
This is your bog standard fantasy adventure, though what I like is that we are perhaps seeing the threads of one or two longer story arcs starting to weave into the narrative and sit there as juicy material for the next book in the series!
 
HOW TO WATCH AND APPRECIATE MOVIES : The Great Coarses. Eric R.Williams .
 
This week I finished:

Poison: A Social History by Joel Levy - A very pretty, but also very superficial, book about poisons. Chapter topics such as poison in nature, in history, as executioner, in murder, and as savior are given brief, general descriptions mixed with case studies and page-length profiles of some of the more notorious poisons. I found this book too superficial for my tastes, especially since I had previously come across nearly all of the information presented in this book, and usually in more detail. The book did, however, include a nice selection of colour paintings and illustrations.

The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday by Saad Z. Hossain
- "Melek Ahmar, the Lord of Mars, the Red King, the Lord of Tuesday, Most August Rajah of Djinn, asleep for millennia, woken once more by the vagaries of water and stone", finds himself companion to an old Gurkha with vengeance in his heart. This is a humorous, futuristic science fiction novella with interesting (and plausible) future-world building and delightfully snarky characters. A fun little read.
 
The Strange by Nathan Ballingrud.
An alt history where Mars gets colonised in Victorian times, but a few decades later a strange Silence falls on Earth and the colonies are left struggling with only their household 'Engines' (a type of robot operated by phonograph cylinder logic) to help them.

(I'm not sure I'm going to finish this, it's proving to be a bit steam punkish and I don't really enjoy that sub genre)
 
I’ve just finished reading The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

Like Marina, which I read several years ago, this conveyed a strong sense of time and place, but it’s a darker vision of Barcelona, a darker vision of humanity in general. It starts out like an ordinary coming-of-age story, and becomes gradually twistier and more mysterious, in some parts verging on horror—and about as gothic as it is possible to be without adding a real or suspected element of the supernatural.

It’s the story of young Daniel Sempere’s quest to learn more about the author of a book that utterly took hold of his imagination when he first read it at the age of fourteen. But Julián Carax disappeared many years ago, as have almost all copies of his books. To learn about him, Daniel seeks out other readers who have been equally beguiled by one of his books, and those who actually knew him. Each of these gives Daniel a fragment of the author’s life story, which becomes ever more dramatic and tragic the more that he learns. Complicating matters is the fact that some of them are reluctant to tell all that they know and (as he learns later) some have even lied to him about vital details. It’s a story within a story, a series of mysteries within a mystery. It also has a cast of quirky, elusive, seductive, and/or sinister characters, the most terrifying of these being the sadistic policeman Inspector Fumero, who has his own reasons for hiding the truth.

If you are a fan of Zafón’s writing, you are likely to adore this book, as it has all the extravagant passions, coincidences, revenges, and labyrinthine plotting one could possibly wish for.
 
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