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Another month gone by means another list of books read. Seventeen in total this time, bringing the grand total for the first third of the year up to fifty exactly. I found this to be a little bit too much reading, as it left little time to digest the books properly. Links to proper reviews will be added when they're put up on the booklog.

Madame de Pompadour -- Nancy Mitford
Following on from her biography of Frederick the Great. This was written much earlier, in 1954 as opposed to 1971 and I found it slightly harder going. It's also longer, which doesn't help. After a while Mitford's light, teasing style began to annoy a bit.

The Clan Corporate -- Charlie Stross
The third novel in the Merchant Wars series, charlie's attempt at writing a proper epic fantasy series, though it owns more to H. Beam Piper than to J. R. R. Tolkien.

London: A Social History -- Roy Porter
This was published in 1994, so it misses the developments of the past fourteen years, but this is still an excellent one volume history of London and its peoples. It's not as comprehensive as Peter Acroyd's later London the Biography, but it's not as up itself either.

The Assassination of Julius Caesar -- Michael Parenti
Takes the murder of Julius Caesar and puts it in a class war context.

The Year of Our War -- Steph Swainston
Interesting fantasy novel by a new and unknown to me writer.

The People of the Talisman -- Leigh Brackett
Another short Eric John Stark novel, in the vein of the Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom novels, but much better written.

Tanks in Detail -- Panzer III -- Terry J. Gander
What should be an indepth look at one of the more important German World War 2 tanks is let down by its shortness and doesn't contain much not already known to the tank enthusiast.

Tanks in Detail -- Sherman & Firefly -- Terry J. Gander
Another entry in the same series as above, suffering from the same flaws and with a less interesting selection of pictures and drawings to liven it up.

Stations of the Tide -- Michael Swanwick
Okay but not spectacular science fiction novel by a writer who has done better. It never quite gelled into a coherent story.

Postwar -- Tony Judt
Flawed history of postwar Europe, too focused on the big countries (Germany, France, Italy and the UK) in my opinion.

The Voyage of the Sable Keech -- Neal Asher
The first Asher novel I've read, not the best starting point as it needs a lot of backstory knowledge to make sense out of.

The Great History of Comic Books -- Ron Goulart
A nicely chatty history of the American comic book, which largely confines itself to the socalled Golden Age (1920s-1950s). Dated, sketchy but a reasonable overview still.

Worlds of the Imperium -- Keith Laumer
Fun fast-paced adventure sf by the master. Not an unmissable classic by any means, but good enough to pick up secondhand.

A Plague of Demons -- Keith Laumer
Another sf adventure novel by Laumer. It was interesting reading those two so short after each other and see the simularities. Both are set partially in North Africa - Algeria to be precise, both feature tough loners whose name starts with a B, etc.

The Prefect -- Alastair Reynolds
This is a prequel to Revelation Space and its sequels, set at a time when the Glitter Band was not yet destroyed and as a consequence somewhat of a less sombre novel than Reynolds usually writes. It took a while for me to get in it, but once it did it was rather good.

Chain of Command -- Seymour Hersh
A good though dated (written in 2004) overview of the crimes of the Bush administration in their war on terror, going from what happened in Abu Ghraib all the way back up the chain of command to the crimes at the heart of the War on Iraq.

Rainbows End -- Vernor Vinge
Once upon a time I would've said Vernor Vinge was the science fiction author with the most convincing view of the future. Now however it just seems old fashioned, even slightly dull. Nevertheless this is still an accomplished novel, though not half as convincing in its depiction of the near future as e.g. Halting State or Brasyl.

Date: 2008-05-04 10:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The Voyage of the Sable Keech -- Neal Asher
The first Asher novel I've read, not the best starting point as it needs a lot of backstory knowledge to make sense out of

I could have told you that. In fact, I think I did say that.

Date: 2008-05-04 10:32 am (UTC)
vatine: Generated with some CL code and a hand-designed blackletter font (Default)
From: [personal profile] vatine
I just said "second Spatterjay novel", at least when I re-read it.

Date: 2008-05-05 09:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, but all I remembered in the library was that you seemed to like this, not anything useful.

In the end it didn't matter that much; I've often read books out of sequence and the story itself was absorbing enough to overcome the handicap of not having read the first book.

Date: 2008-05-05 09:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I certainly liked it enough that I went off, found other Asher, and am now buying him in hardback to get the books a bit earlier.

(As it happens, he was one of a bunch of writers that [ profile] jemck was with that came along to Heffers in Cambridge nearly two years ago. This was the book that was out on a stack. So I bought it. Along with Mike Carey, he was one of the finds of the evening.)


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