The Cybook is making a serious difference to the amount of reading I’m doing. I stopped using it for a couple of weeks during the worst of the RSI bout, but since then I’ve been reading on the bus most workdays. Which is good, because by the time I get home and have done dinner, I’m too tired to read.
So, what have I been reading in September?
Dead rainforest product:
I did finally finish Cover Her Face, the first novel in the Dalgliesh series by PD James. It was my lunchtime reading at work for a month or so, and I was having a lot of trouble with it. It’s my least favourite of the Dalgliesh books anyway, but I normally do like it. This time I was finding most of the characters so unlikeable that I didn’t really want to spend time with them. On the other hand, this time through I was paying proper attention to the way James misdirects the reader. The first time I read the book, I thought afterwards that she had cheated — but in fact she never lies, merely uses reading protocols to mislead the reader into seeing something that isn’t there. It’s cleverly done, and it’s interesting to look at how she does it.
After that I started on a Doctor Who novelisation, Doctor Who and the Hand of Fear novelised by Terrance Dicks. This was one of my favourite Who serials when I was a teenager, so I grabbed the book when they had some stock of old Target titles in the shop at the Who exhibition last year. I’m only a few pages in, but it’s a competent script novelisation so far.
And at home I was reading “Torchwood”: Trace Memory, one of the second season Torchwood tie-in novels. Thoroughly enjoyed it, although I was too sore to type a review at the time.
On the Cybook:
Accelerando by Charles Stross. That link goes to the paperback edition on Amazon UK, but Charlie’s publishers were good enough to let him put out a free ebook version under a creative commons licence. I like it a lot, this is the second or third time I’ve read it, and one of these days I won’t come out of it too drunk on the concepts to write a coherent review of it.
Agent to the Stars, by John Scalzi. This was Scalzi’s first novel, and originally self-published. Don’t let that put you off — Scalzi was a professional writer years before he wrote this book, and it shows. I imagine that the pro-published version coming out from Tor later this month will have had the loving attention of an editor, and will be subtly improved by it, but the free version still available on Scalzi’s website rocks, as I mentioned the night I finished it.
Sample chapters from My Life, Bill Clinton’s autobiography. I think this is one of the samplers that come pre-loaded on the Cybook when you buy it new — it’s the first few chapters from the book, enough to give you a solid chunk that’s an interesting read in its own right. It doesn’t really entice me to run out and buy the whole thing, but only because this isn’t my sort of taste in books. It’s well written and has some interesting stories about his childhood that would make good slice-of-life reading even if they weren’t about the former President of the US. I’m rather curious as to what extent this was ghost-written, because I can see Clinton having the writing skills to do at least the rough draft of this book himself.
Other reading — I did a bit of crit group work on a friend’s current WIP, which is somewhat different from ordinary reading. But it bodes well that I was intending to read only one chapter because I was tired, and ended up reading all three in the first chunk up for crit. There’s a new chunk up that will probably be my reading tonight. I may have to go and re-read the earlier books in the series to make sure I catch continuity errors, so those will get loaded into the Cybook later this weekend.