Thoughts: American Porn, by Heathcote Williams

I feel like I’ve probably done Heathcote Williams a disservice in choosing from his whole oeuvre to read American Porn, published in January 2017, only six months before Williams died. Like many people who rose to prominence young, especially those who are on the fringes or work outside the establishment, he certainly seems to have outlived his pioneering spark and become cliche. I haven’t read any of his other work, but it seems to have been well-received enough that it can’t possibly be along the same lines as American Porn.

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Thoughts: The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin

It just gets better and better, there’s no other way to say it.

There’s only one other trilogy that’s started out good and got better and better that sticks out in my mind, and that’s Cixin Liu’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past. I’m delighted to tentatively add another.

Spoilers are going to necessarily abound, because it’s the second book in a trilogy, but I’ll try not to spoiler if I don’t have to.

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Thoughts: The Leopard, by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, translated by Archibald Colquhoun

First off, let me take a moment to appreciate the names of both author and translator. Those are some good names. And The Leopard is a good book.

I’m annoyed at myself for leaving it so long to review it, because, much like the golden age of the Sicilian nobility, my sharpest memories have receded into the past. Still, let’s give it a go.

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Thoughts: The Tomato Thief, by Ursula Vernon

You can actually just read this one yourself if you want to, here!

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Thoughts: Yvain, le chevalier au lion, by Chrétien de Troyes, translated by Claude-Alan Chevallier

Well, with a name like that how can you not go on to translate arthuriana from Old French into New French? Shame about every search engine’s autocorrect though, which insists that you must be mistaken and looking for a chevalier, rather than poor Chevallier’s translation.

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Thoughts: Every Heart A Doorway, by Seanan McGuire

Oh boy.

How can such a short book be so all over the place?

I really wanted to love this one. I’m sorry. It just didn’t work for me. I’m also sorry because this post is about as long as the book itself. (Spoilers everywhere, because I need to talk about every little thing that annoyed me. I’m not joking, I spoil everything in this post. This one is really just for me, not to be helpful to prospective readers!)

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Thoughts: A Horse Walks Into A Bar, by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen

You’re going to have to forgive me for this one – it’s been a long time since I read it, and my memory isn’t what it used to be.

I liked it maybe more than I thought I would from the reviews, which made it sound very dark and intense. And it did get quite dark, and it was rather intense, but in a way where I was thoroughly sucked in and there was no question of it being too heavy or too much for me, I just wanted to keep going.

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Thoughts: The Fifth Season, by N. K. Jemisin

First of all, how dare she.

OK, seriously though, surprise! The Fifth Season, volume one in the trilogy that won a Hugo for each instalment, is good!

At the risk of becoming one of those recipe blogs that frontloads a thousand words about the blogger’s first memories of cooking the recipe and how they took their kids to the park afterwards (joking, all of those recipe blogs are homesteaders who probably wouldn’t go to something as pedestrian as a park)… I thought it would be a good idea to pick this one up now because NaNoWriMo is coming up, and this year I’m going to write sci fi, which I hardly ever write, so why not enjoy some good spec fic in the run-up to get psyched up for November? On the upside, The Fifth Season is a masterclass in worldbuilding. On the downside, I will never be able to write anything even a quarter as good and now I have to go and live in a cave away from human eyes.

But no one cares about that. If you’re here you want to know about The Fifth Season, so let me save you the time – read it, it’s really good.

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Thoughts: Citizen Clem, by John Bew

The conclusion to my Indian independence trilogy!

Some light holiday reading on our month-long trip home, and I read most of this biography of Clement Attlee while breastfeeding and contact napping, though that’s how I read pretty much everything these days. Sadly, he was pre-Queen Elizabeth, so I didn’t get a helpful The Crown crash course in his premiership, and the only thing about him I could remember was, oddly, a very clear memory of writing his name in my history book at school when we were learning about the welfare state.

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Thoughts: Mörder Anders und seine Freunde nebst dem einen oder anderen Feind, by Jonas Jonasson, translated by Wibke Kuhn

Yeah, you already know that I like Jonasson’s work, and I think Kuhn does a good job, as far as I can tell through my rough German, of nailing the tone (lively and wry, deadpan in all the right places).

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