Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reading in August

When it comes to reading, August was an absolutely excellent month. Among those books are several for the Breaking New Ground challenge, both graphic and urban, but I'm not going to tell you what I think of them yet. Why not? Simple: the image of y'all practically salivating at the thought of knowing the results of my personal challenge is one that I find very amusing. Of course, it's not actually happening, but I intend to pretend. As for the rest of it:

Seeing as this was the first half of a monolithic super-novel, I wasn’t surprised to find the pace slower than usual for the first half. By the halfway point, though, the various arcs were all picking up momentum and, to my surprise, I actually thought that the cliffhanger ending was the perfect place to end the novel. At the moment, I’d say that this is my favorite Malazan tome behind House of Chains and Toll the Hounds.

I’ve often heard it said that Gaiman is a better short story writer than he is a novelist, so I was very interested in checking out this collection, and I’m glad that I did. Though there are a few weaker pieces, the entire thing flows beautifully, and Gaimans ideas are, as always, an incredible pleasure to be immersed in. Review on the way.

My first foray into Urban Fantasy for the challenge – and it went well, thankfully. Review here.

The first two thirds of this novel were absolutely impossible to put down, the self aware grace of 20th Century Ghosts put aside for a razor’s edge of cutting suspense and horror. And then someone popped the balloon and the tension zipped on out with the hot air. Review on the way.

Though I think that Ship of Destiny was, without a doubt, the weakest of the three Liveship books, it did bring the trilogy to a good conclusion in the end. More information (hopefully) coming in a review before too long.

Reading Thomas Ligotti was like reading Lovecraft for the first time, and that is not something that I say lightly. These stories were surreal, dark, metaphysical, beautiful, and terrifying on a level that few other things can ever be. I read a lot of books this month, but this is, hands down, the best of them. Well, except for maybe

...this one. Yes, that’s right, I read this book twice. Back to back, the first time I’ve ever done anything like that. And it deserved it, and I grasped infinitely more of Ligotti’s genius and inner workings on the second read. Expect more content when I’ve stopped huddling in the corner and praying for the (non?)reality of my own existence.

Hmm, I wonder...

Yes, this is a graphic novel, but not one of the challenge ones. I picked it up on a whim because I was bored and because it was cheap. The tale was entertaining, and I enjoyed the framing device, but, like with pretty much every non-Lovecraft Lovecraft story (except for, debatably, some in that book one or two above this one…) Lovecraft’s ideals are mouthed and then forgotten in favor of a fun horror story. An okay read, but nothing special.

This is by far the easiest of McCarthy’s reads, but the quality doesn’t dip in tandem with the difficulty. Like everything else the man has written, this is highly recommended. Review forthcoming.

Yay, uh, mercenaries! Not the month’s favorite read, though it did have the distinction of having me read seven other books while in the process of reading it. Those aren't easy lengths for a book to push me to, you know. You’ve got to really grab someone for that. Review.


I still haven’t found the novel that really sells me on Pratchett, but this one was quite enjoyable, nonetheless. Review.

Despite some similarities in theme and content, this was the opposite of Gravity’s Rainbow in every way. Often light hearted, and occasionally laugh out loud funny, this was a quick, though certainly not breezy, read that was quite entertaining.

A children’s book for adults? Alright, I’ve got to see that. To my surprise, is actually lived up to that concept, being decidedly hilarious at all three endings. That being said, however, I’m still not sure if a scant few minutes reading justifies the twenty dollar price tag on amazon. I guess everyone’s level of thing-under-the-bed love will have the determine whether they purchase their own copy.

This book has a gigantic polar bear that scared me shitless in a scene or two, but I think the best measure of its success is that the polar bear wasn’t half as scary as the omnipresent arctic. Oddly enough, it’s this, not Hyperion, that’s convinced me that I need to read everything that Simmons has written.

VanderMeer, as usual, makes the absolutely bizarre feel like something I run into every day and makes the most pedestrian of things absolutely ethereal. The Third Bear contains several of my new favorite stories from the man (The Situation, for instance, is excellent) , and, though I’m not sure if I’ll do a review of my own, the Third Bear Carnival is something well worth checking out for anyone who’s read the collection.


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