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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Vikings: A History

Book 73, A London Safari, turned out to have no interest at all from me, so I moved onto Book 74 Vikings: A History by Neil Oliver which was quite interesting. I then returned to Bookcase 73 to read The French Revolution by Christopher Hibbert. I hadn't realised how bloody and ruthless the French Revolution was. I knew it had taken a long time before a stable system formed, but hadn't quire realised the amount of collateral damage there was and deaths along the way! Next up I turn to Germany for my third History book (Book 75).

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Book 72, Frankenstein, was a bit of a disappointment.

I found the story fairly basic, stretchy credibility (the monster just happens to stumble across and kill his creator's brother) and very waffily. The prose was so long-winded even by the standards of Victorian novels. Dracula, in comparison, I read a few years ago, and thought that was a good novel with lots of suspense and a story plot. Frankenstein scores 5 out of 10.

Next up I move to the History section of the library and the first book is a series of walks around London for an informal history of Haringey.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson

Book 71, The Emperor's Soul, was so poor I couldn't even really tell you what it was about.

I think it was about a person called a forger who could craft reality but reaching back in the past and changing the way something came about. I read a similar book called The Lathe Of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin many years ago, that was vastly superior though. The Emperor's Soul scored 1 out of 10.

I think I have finished the science fiction section but Bookcase 72 is unnamed and is right next to it; it's either science fiction, teenage or a miscellaneous selection of books. In any case I picked Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, a classic which I have not read before. It definitely belongs in the science fiction/fantasy realm even if the library haven't placed it there.

I read Dracula a few year ago and was quite impressed with the original, even if it has spurned legions of dross.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tuf Voyaging by George R.R. Martin

Book 70, Tuf Voyaging, is a set of long stories roughly grouped together in a novel. Many of them were published separately in the 1980s.

I used to read lot of science fiction around the this material was first published, but I don't remember George R.R. Martin from then. He's become better known since then I believe. Anyway this book is not bad, it's about a trader Tuf who acquires an ancient spaceship which allows him to become an ecological engineer. It's a bit far fetched because Tuf, who previously knew nothing on the subject, becomes one of the most powerful and knowledgeable ecological engineers in the galaxy and goes around solving ecological problems around the different star systems.

Even though it's set far in the future the characters in the books still seem to use 1980s technology and the book is already quite dated. It's not a bad read though, the format means you can right almost endless stories set to the basic format of Tuf going somewhere, solving a problem, and then leaving. I give the book 6 out of 10.

Next up is the final science fiction book.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Visitors Book by Sophie Hannah

Book 69, The Visitors Book, is a fairly unchallenging set of ghost stories by Sophie Hannah.

I'd have probably thought this book was good when I was about 12 and first reading books from the adult library. The books I read in the Teenage section had more complex plots, although I suppose one has to allow for the fact that this is just a set of short stories. Whatever the case I can't see this sort of book ever likely to be on my bookcase! It gets 3 out of 10.

Next up I continue with Science Fiction, this time a book by George R.R. Martin, whose name I have seen on big blockbuster books, but know nothing about.

It's quite a long book so if I don't like it then I may ditch it and try and find something thinner just to get me through this section of the library which I am struggling with, it is fair to say.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Dark Entries by Robert Aickman

Book 68, Dark Entries, is a series of "dark" stories in the style of Edgar Alan Poe.

The first couple of stories I found ok, the last few I was turning the pages dutifully and struggling to even follow the plot. I must admit I don't like the short story format because by the time I am really interested, it's finished! Some of these short stories are quite long, but overall I found them rather dull and award Dark Entries 3 out of 10.

Next up I continue with Science Fiction, with another book of short stories, except these are ghost stories.

I wouldn't call ghost stories science fiction but, in the name of variety, I will read this book anyway.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Made to Kill by Adam Christopher

Book 67, Made to Kill, has to be one of the worst books yet on this project.

Supposedly a science fiction book in the style of Asimov/Dick, it's a private detective story set in an alternative history when robots have been a failed experiment and there is just one left who happens to be a private detective.

I cannot express how poor this book is. The science is appalling, this robot seems to come straight out of the 1950s, the plot is beyond awful, some Soviet conspiracy to take over America, and the style of writing is dreadful, I believe this book was followed up by two others to make a trilogy. I cannot even concede of the mind set of anyone who could enjoy any of these books - they can't be human! I read hundreds of science fiction books when I was young but this was poorer than any of them. It scores 1 out of 10, it failed to contain even a good sentence.

Next up I return to Science Fiction, the first named shelf in this section anyway, for a book of short stories, by Robert Aickman, who is supposedly a classic horror writer - albeit one I have never heard of even though he wrote in "my" era of the 1980s.

I briefly wrote a few science fiction short stories when I was 18, none of them were published, but it was the nearest I ever got to being a writer. Let's see if he's any good.