Monday, 5 September 2016

2016 Reading Part Three

Another chance to laugh at the stuff I've been reading over the past few weeks. This time the books include one written by a friend and two that I borrowed from the local library - as if I didn't have enough reading material sitting on shelves or on my Kindle! On a personal achievement high, I did manage to clear my shelves of a few old series of books that I won't read again. Well I definitely won't now. One was the Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan. As with all long series, especially fantasy series, these got complicated towards the end and those women had such an annoying habit of sniffing at anything a man did. They must have had perpetual flu... Another was the Sword of Truth series (Richard and Kahlan) by Terry Goodkind which I got fed up with towards the end as it got more and more unbelievable. There could be fans screaming at me now I know, but hey, this blog reflects my opinions. I don't think less of anyone who enjoys stuff I don't (unless it involves harming others). Please don't think less of me.

Warriors of The Storm is the ninth book in Bernard Cornwell's Warrior Chronicles about Uhtred of Bebbanburgh. The first two books were recently covered in a TV series and I enjoyed that too! This book involves Uhtred's defence of Deva (Chester) and his successful assault on Eoferwic (York) with a trip to Ireland thrown in for good measure. The series shows no signs of becoming too complicated for its own good or of indulging in repetitive annoying habits. Yay!

Not a genre that I usually look out for, but this is the first book in a new series: Vampire Hunters Incorporated and came at least partly from the pen (though I suspect a keyboard really) of a genial actor, director and nice guy, Mark Redfield. I've always enjoyed my vampires from the Hammer Films stable really, so to find them in modern day New York at once set me a mind challenge. This is a cracking story though and I'm not saying that simply because I know Mark. I'll even forgive the appearance of a load of zombies - I've never understood the logic behind them other than being a nightmare figment, the chaser who cannot be stopped. The main protagonists are strong characters and the story builds to a satisfying conclusion. Bring on the next!

Meanwhile back in the world of straightforward blood and guts... The last time I met them, Simon Scarrow's Roman soldiers, Macro and Cato, had captured the rebel Briton King Caratacus (but had lost track of the fascinating witches who put the scintillating stitches in the britches of the boys who put the powder on the noses on the faces of the ladies of the harem of his court). King C has been sent safely to Rome and we now find the pair marching towards the Island of Mona (modern Anglesey) to wipe out the Druids for once and all. Whether or not they succeed I leave to you to find out but, without wanting to give too much by way of spoilers, I think it's safe to say that this will not be as easy as they hoped!

You can't really go wrong with a good Alistair MacLean and I don't think I have ever read a bad one. This involves the kidnapping of the American President and two royal visitors from Middle Eastern oil-producing states with most of the action taking place in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Tremendous stuff - I was bleary-eyed a few mornings through reading this into the early hours!

Recently I've been watching the films that paired Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Most of these I had on DVD that I had recorded when recordable DVD's were a very new development. So when I looked for The Big Sleep it had gone all brown round the edges and refused to play... Disaster! So the next best thing was to read the book. I found it in my local library, though admittedly not with this cover. But I thought this a much better descriptive image than the boring silhouette image of a snub-nosed revolver, don't you agree? I remembered the film being a bit confusing and complicated. The book makes it a lot simpler and what brilliant quips and one-liners leap out of the pages. I'm still looking for the film version, but now I'm also looking for more Raymond Chandler books too!

This was in the library too. Having read Terry Pratchett's later book, Snuff last time I picked this up and it was every bit as good as the other. I can see me now starting to work through the Discworld novels...

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