Saturday, June 25, 2011

Monthly report: May '11

Because it often happens that I read a book but don't review it (or I take a long time writing a review), I've decided to start posting brief monthly reports on what I read, including a sentence or two about the book if it was not reviewed.

May was a month of good books.
Sure, I read good books every month, but it rarely happens that I read four or five excellent books in a row.

The Gone-Away World (Nick Harkaway)
This is probably going to be one of my favourite books of 2011. The Gone-Away world is not so much about a world that has suffered a major (and incredibly weird) catastrophe but about a life of a man who met a lot of strange people and seen a lot of strange things. The plot is so full of fantastic elements that it functions almost like a fairy tale, despite the very sombre themes of war, destruction and loss, and the ending kicks ass. Very much recommended.

Palimpsest (Catherynne M. Valente)
This is another book that might find its way to my Best of 2011 list. I loved Valente's The Orphan's Tales duology, but it wasn't until I read Palimpsest that Valente definitely became one of my favourite authors. Her style is simply incredible and the stories she tells are magical, no matter whether they are fairy tales written on the eyelids of an orphan girl or stories of a magical city that can ruin lives as well as make them wonderful.

On The Beach
(Nevil Shute)
This is the book that started my fascination with everything eschatological. It all began when I saw its TV adaptation at age 11 and had nightmares for a week (fun times!). So when I found out that there was a book behind it all, I simply had to read it. I knew what to expect, so I didn't find the book as depressing as some might have, but it was still an interesting and melancholic read. (Review upcoming.)

Let The Right One In (John Ajvide Lindqvist)
Vampires! Every time I enter the local bookshop I see vampire books everywhere. The shelf that used to hold mostly SF/FF and a few horror titles is now full of paranormal romance. I'm very happy when I find books like Let The Right One In that show vampires as something other than sexy bloodsuckers. While not exactly horror, this book was an intriguing and very unusual read.

Under Heaven
(Guy Gavriel Kay)
Everyone loved this book and I finally know why. At first glance, Under Heaven reminded me of Daniel Abraham's The Long Price Quartet, but the similarities lie mostly in the setting and the great writing style. I especially appreciated the characters and the way the plot resolved - one would expect a way more 'traditional' ending, but Under Heaven ends in a way that adds some extra feeling of realism and leaves you wishing there was a sequel. I definitely need to read some other works by Guy Gavriel Kay.

DO YOU SEE WHAT EXAMS DO TO MY SCHEDULE?? argh. I'm afraid there will be no reviews this month, but I'll try to at least put The Pile post together.


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