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It not a joke!!! It is the truth!!!

Giving people what they want: violence and sloppy eating

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Before it goes splat at the bottom
mini me + poo

My reading of fiction in book form fell off a cliff some time ago. I had the last but one Pratchett Discworld novel (Raising Steam) out from the library for months before reading it, and I still haven't looked for the last one. I'd borrowed the first two in the 'The Long Earths' series and returned them unread. I finished the last but two Christopher Brookmyre, Flesh Wounds, recently and will read the other one I've had out for months, Dead Girl Walking.

A few years ago, I'd have finished them on the first day.

In addition to those two, in the past year I have also read a couple of Len Deighton's – two of the first three 'Harry Palmer' books, The IPCRESS File and Billion Dollar Brain, doing them in a Monday morning shift in the bookshop. Annoyingly, someone bought Funeral in Berlin before I did that one.

But I have a horrible feeling that's it. And the Pratchett might have been earlier.

Other past likes have been Philip Reeve's work, particularly the 'Mortal Engines' series (although I don't think any of them have lived up to the first) and the silliness of the 'Larklight' series.

I liked the intelligence of all of them, and the relative shortness of the Deighton's. I can still do 'big books' in non-fiction, but it's been a long while since I've been tempted to put in the commitment needed for a story that takes more than a day to read. Probably the last one was the expanded version of American Gods, which means it was before moving here.

Any recommendations, preferably with what makes them good?

Update: I borrowed the last Pratchett today, along with his 'Poo' book.

The other author I've read almost all of is Christopher Priest, who would be a lot more famous if what he does so well wasn't labelled SF. The Prestige is my favourite and was obviously filmed in a way that lost much of the magic. What caused a pause in reading him is his last but two: The Islanders. It's an unreliable travel guide to a set of imaginary islands.

Apparently, if you can keep in your mind what was said about each where, and notice the inconsistencies, then you realise various things, but - argh - too much hard work without keeping notes. It's ok to use a computer to write a novel, but it's far less ok to have to use one to read it. Annoyingly, his latest is another set in the same islands. I'm going to give the one between those a read before attempting to read Islanders again.

Mirrored from my website's blog, The deranged mad of a brain man.

This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/566609.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - comment count unavailable have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.

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How were the recent Christopher Brookmyres? I read one a while ago (Five little ducks) that wasn't nearly as much fun as his usual ones, and the blurbs on recent ones seem to all market them as mere thrillers rather than humour/gore, to the extent I had to check Chris Brookmyre as he now is is the same person.

Ian Fleming? Dorothy Sayers for pure genius in creating characters as well as mystery.

Yep, I think the last great Brookmyre was 'All Fun and Games..' and that was 2005. They've been readable since then, mostly.

I did the first seven Bonds plus OHMSS a few years ago and apart from wishing Fleming had been put against a wall and shot for the sexism, racism and sheer snobbery, they remain highly readable.

I like Len Deighton too. The triple trilogies Game, Set, Match, Hook, Line, Sinker, Faith, Hope, Charity are my favourite. The series gets less good as it wears on IMO but the first few are cracking - excellent plotting and action sequences and a nice understated writing style. Also very good on office politics and the impact this has even on spies. And also amusingly of their time - 'London Airport' etc. I also rate SS-GB (an alternate future thing where the Brits surrendered to the Nazis in 1941 - interesting for that future and for the moral dilemmas in creates). And 'Winter: A Berlin Family 1899-1945' is really different - more family/historical saga than thriller - but very gripping still and excellent backstory to the Samson series (but read those first, if you haven't already, to get the most of that richness). I have copies of all those, and Funeral in Berlin, and some other Deighton's I'm not so keen on (City of Gold, Spy Story - most useless title ever?!), if you would like to borrow.

How do you get on with le Carre? I really like most of his stuff, especially the cold war era things, even though I never understand the plots properly. My brain just can't deal with all that complexity, but I still find them gripping and satisfying. They certainly fulfill your 'intelligent' criterion. I think The Perfect Spy is the best.

I can't help greatly, my own reading having suffered a similarly precipitous fall in recent years. *sigh* Still, if you love sheer good writing, Kurt Vonnegut surely takes some beating.

If you're fine with comic suggestions as well, you could do much worse than Giant Days and Lumberjanes. And whilst it's not one for the dialogue, the plotting and characters in the webcomic Wapsi Square are quite noteworthy - but be warned, you'll need time, as it began in 2001, updating a few times a week, and the first main arc completed in 2009. =:) But what a hell of a ride that was, especially the climax! I'd absolutely recommend starting at the beginning, else you'll just be left confused by it all. It begins gently enough, as a simple slice of life strip set in Minneapolis, but then gently segues into a multi-layered storyline involving.. well, to begin with, some golems and an Aztec god of alcohol.

As you mention Philip Reeve just checking that you've read his "Here Lies Arthur" which is my favourite young-adult-but-works-for-adults book ever. I buy it for all young people I can and it starts good cpnversations about Gender Identy, power and storytelling (i've gone too the extent of buying traditional King Arthur books for my Estonian Niecelings so that when they're older they'll understand the myths it's playing with!)

My most recent fixtion obession has been Jodi Taylor's Chronicals of St Mary's - an engaging series of romps through history by tea-loving time-travelling research historians. They are funny and dramatic - and are distracting but non-patronising brain candy with glimpses of something darker (there's a certain anount of implied sexual violence/child abuse which is realistic enough that it could be upsetting if you were feeling fragile but it's certainly not prurient and the Survivor character is a fully rounded person). I read one and immediately ordered all the rest from my local library.

Apart from that I mostly read historical detectice fiction. Lindsey Davis (Roman) and Ayls Clare (Medieval) are both good.

Oh yes, along with the end of the fourth 'mortal engines' book, Here Lies Arthur is one of the very few books that gets me tearful.

Thanks for that recommendation.

I like detective/food/scenery books like Bruno Chief of Police series, in France and Donna Leon,s Venice one. They are good cases and well-developed characters too. I'm also fond of the Ruth Galloway books. You'd need to start those from the beginning as the caracters' lives are part of the story. She's an archaologist detective and those take place around the Cambridgeshire fens. I also love the Vorkosigan series, a space opera.

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