According to Blogger, it's been just over a year since I started writing this blog. Since then, I've made a grand total of four entries, which probably sums up my work ethic (or lack thereof). Some would say it's because I have nothing to say, but they probably don't know me very well: I always have something to say on an issue, whether it's proposed changes to the review system in Test cricket, or the latest ridiculous cost-cutting proposal from our 'esteemed' government.
It may surprise some people that I'm not actually going to be talking sport or politics. Well, the sport bit is more surprising than the politics (especially as, at the time of writing, Town are top of the league, still in all the cups and look quite decent - even if we have only played once). Instead, it's a summer reading blog. Huzzah! Isn't that exciting?
Most of the things I've read this year have actually been pretty disappointing. Even the Iain M. Banks stuff I've read hasn't been particularly cracking by his insanely high standards. Against A Dark Background was good, but a little close to Use Of Weapons to set my pulse racing, and The Algebraist was also good, but a little simplistic by Banks' standards, or at least it felt that way. Hopefully, Transition will be as good as Look To Windward.
In fact, the best novel I've read this year was Stephen King's maiden published novel, Carrie. What it had was a sense of excitement. It wasn't perhaps technically the best, and was overblown to the point of melodrama, but it had energy and it managed to get under my skin more in its 200-odd pages than many longer books have all year. The sympathy I felt for Carrie White was also a result of this energy and the connection I got to the book in a short space of time. There were things I didn't like about it, but they didn't stop it being very entertaining.
The most intriguing thing I've read thus far this year has to be Watchmen, possibly the most successful graphic novel of all time. It also happens to be only the second graphic novel I've delved into in my lifetime (the first being The Gunslinger Born), and so at the time of reading it (February) I couldn't have told you what made it intriguing and compelling. After a dozen or so GNs, I understand a little more, but I'm still not certain what made it so. A re-read is in the offing at some point in the very near future, probably once I've finished re-reading The Dark Tower.
Speaking of The Dark Tower, the re-read is currently being held up by my little sister's inability to finish a book of more than 200 pages in under 2 years. Before re-reading Wolves of the Calla, I've told myself I have to read 'Salem's Lot (not to mention that it's part of my reading list as an example of a popular contemporary horror novel), a book that the Midget hasn't finished yet despite the fact she started reading it about 18 months ago. She's about 100 pages from the end, and isn't likely to pick it up again at any point soon (I doubt she'll even bother to take it to uni with her, so that might be my chance to nick in and read it - it'll take me 5 days at most, so she's not exactly going to miss it), which is irritating when I want to get on with Roland's quest for the Tower.
Currently on my bedside cabinet is the second volume of A Storm of Swords, the third (or fourth, if you're counting individual volumes) instalment in A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy. It's a refreshing change from Tolkien-derived fantasy. It is largely set in a medieval European setting, and yes, it does have dragons, but it's concerned with politics and plotting and backstabbing and the interesting stuff that actually went on in medieval times, and not with going off on a quest for an all-powerful McGuffin. I've enjoyed the tale thoroughly, but at 1,200 pages this particular instalment is a little on the long side, and I could do with a break from long epics. Still, only 150 pages to go, which should get read today, so then I can crack on with something else. There's a short SF collection I picked up on holiday which looks a likely candidate...