I spotted this on David Hebblethwaite’s blog and, while something similar went round on World Book Day (see here), I decided to have a bash at it. Besides, I’ve not posted much this week, and I don’t want all my fans (ha!) to think I’m slacking…
1. The book I’m currently reading
A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
Many people have recommended this to me, but I can’t see what all the fuss is about. The main character, Ignatius J Reilly, is an over-educated idiot, and the novel is asking us to laugh at him. That’s cheap humour. Some of the slapstick, on the other hand, is quite amusing; and there is some wit in the black characters’ dialogue. But this is no American classic.
2. The last book I finished
The Silver Chair, CS Lewis.
I’m about thirty-five years too old to enjoy the Chronicles of Narnia, but I’m ploughing my way through the books nonetheless. I suspect if I had read them when I was a kid I would have found them just as patronising and dated. Oh well, only three more to go…
3. The next book I want to read
Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
The TBR pile is frighteningly large and, of course, I want to read every book on it. But some sooner rather than later. I’ve had Blood Meridian for a while, and have been meaning to read it for just as long. I think I shall tackle it next. Honest.
4. The last book I bought
The Atrocity Exhibition, JG Ballard
I made a few bob on Amazon affiliates recently and was sent a voucher. Which I promptly spent. Chiefly on graphic novels. But I also included a SF Masterwork, and this, the nicely-packaged Fourth Estate edition of The Atrocity Exhibition. I read a lot of Ballard’s later “mainstream” novels when I was living in Abu Dhabi, and enjoyed them; but as I get older I find myself appreciating his writing more and more.
5. The last book I was given
The Kings of Eternity, Eric Brown
I’ve known Eric for nearly two decades, and liked his fiction for a couple of years longer than that. He sends me copies of his novels now when they’re published. Some day I hope to be able to return the favour. The Kings of Eternity is, by all accounts (including Eric’s), the best novel he’s written to date. So I really need to read it before the end of the year as it may well appear on a few shortlists in 2012.