Tuesday, 23 April 2013

2013 Reading Part 2

The second entry for 2013 about my reading habits. It's still a strange mix...

I finally got round to the previously unread sequel to Mary Stewart's (properly Lady Stewart as she was married to Sir Frederick Stewart) Merlin trilogy.

This deals with King Arthur's end and I can only agree with her notes published at the end of the book that the good king appears to take leave of his senses a bit. Legend is a funny thing though and people actually do do some strange things once they are getting on a bit. I'm my own witness... Though Arthur was only supposed to be around 40 so what is his excuse???

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo went onto my reading list after I watched the film with Daniel Craig and I found it at least as gripping as the film and possibly a little easier to understand after I gave up trying to pronounce all those Swedish character and place names in my head. I'll have to download the next one now...

The third in Larry Niven's series about the world formed by floating a gigantic ring around a star has Louis Wu forming alliances and fighting battles in a bid to address a rise in the vampire population following the events in the second book. The 3-legged Hindmost, a Pierson's Puppeteer, is given to dancing with holographic images of his own species in a bid to stave off lunacy and the son of the Kzin Chmee joins forces with Louis as the Protectors (hominids transformed into their warrior state in the same way caterpillars turn into butterflies) of the ring's rim wall battle against those of the vampires. Yes, you really have to read it to make sense of it...!

But there's almost no making sense of this book at all and why on earth would you want to? As a teenager I and most of my friends were able to quote extensively from this book of lunacy, the storyline of which is only a tenuous link from one ridiculous situation to the next. But where else could you read 'his nose was what the French call retrousse, or as we would say, "like a pig"...' or 'it was dark, he was drunk, she was keen'! The border between Ireland and Northern Ireland gets drawn, passing through the village pub and as drinks are cheaper over the border the landlord complains all his customers are crammed into one corner...

The fourth of Dennis Wheatley's WWII books about the spy Gregory Sallust has Gregory and his Russian comrade, Kuporovitch, joining the fight in Paris following its fall to the Germans. Dastardly deeds are done before Gregory and Kuporovitch are able to escape with the lovely Madeleine, bringing about the German invasion of Russia as a ploy to weakening Hitler's war effort. So if anyone was wondering - that's why he did it!

This isn't really a biography so much as a trip through Cliff Richard's life through comments or snippets of interviews from people he worked with or who knew him. As such it could be highly accurate or highly biassed one way or another. I didn't really learn anything new and whilst it was an interesting enough read I ended the book with the subject as much of an enigma as ever.

My Dad had countless anthologies of science fiction short stories and I read them avidly as a teenager. They disappeared in a clear out at some point and only a few were left. This one being one of them. All the stories here are by a single author and again it was interesting at the time but now, a few weeks later, I can't remember a single storyline...

I just bought the new book concerning Thomas of Hookton, so thought I'd re-read the first three books to remind myself of the story so far. The first in this series by master historical storyteller Bernard Cornwell is a cracker of a story concerning a young man whose village is destroyed - and father killed - in a French raid. He takes up his longbow and goes off to join the army of King Edward III in France at the start of the Hundred Years War. This book ends with the Battle of Crecy, but Thomas has learned who his enemies are and who he is and we will meet up with him again.

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