Monday, 31 October 2011


So August was full of quite a lot of re-reads. After reading Oracle: The Cure at the end of July, and being so pissed off with it, I decided to go back to some Birds of Prey; Sensei and Student, Perfect Pitch, Blood and Circuits, Dead of Winter, Metropolis or Dust / Club Kids / Platinum Flats, Serious Concerns and The Battle Within – all of which were re-reads, and most of which were from the Gail Simone era, so I feel ok about tackling them all together. I like Simone’s writing, and I love the BoP franchise; it’s feminist without being overtly so, and, ok, it does follow the usual heroines in skimpy costumes formula of most comics, but all of the characters feel like developed individuals, and they have actual character and plot, rather than just being vehicles for spandex. It’s a world populated with women, rather than merely decorated with them.

I also read for the first time Endrun, and an early pre-Simone compilation, simply entitled Black Canary/Oracle/Huntress. Endrun felt a little... uneven. The new characters- Hawk and Dove – really don’t add to the new line-up, and are far too generic. Large, over-muscled, angry, hitty man, and quiet, demure, pretty, worrying woman. Sorry. Seen this before and it was old then. The other compilation was a lot better. It really gives a good sense of who these characters are, and was a great insight into the early dynamic of the main three. It’s totally worth a read for anyone with an interest in the series.

August also saw me getting into – and reading the entirety of – the Alexia Tarabotti series, by Gail Carriger; Soulless, Changeless, Blameless and Heartless. These are utterly awesome, and I can’t recommend them highly enough. Steampunk/Victoriana setting, with a large touch of the supernatural, and a heroine who I adore. Alexia Tarabotti is utterly sensible, no-nonsense, and intelligent, without being too “modern” in her attitudes. She fits in perfectly in her Victorian world, but never lets it constrain her into a typically useless-feminine role. And what’s even better, she isn’t the only practical or intelligent woman in the series, or the only one who is fully fleshed out and rounded. These books are highly Bechedel compliant, with all the women being distinct and interesting. They’re also all rollicking good adventure stories, and a lot of good fun.

And in the middle of all that, I read Snips, Snails and Dragon Tales, by Rich Burlew. It’s mostly a filler book of odd comics and strips from the long running Order of the Stick series. It continues the same standard of humour as the rest of the books, but it’s really only for the die-hard fans of the comic. It’s worth a read, but nothing special, and if you missed the limited print run, then you probably haven’t lost out much.

Friday, 26 August 2011


Well, the last month or so, the SO and I have been moving house to a lovely little place in Oxford. In the process buying more bookshelves. I actually have empty space that I can fill with books!

However, yes, this means this update is spectacularly late.

First on my list, I eventually got around to reading the final 2 instalments of Buffy The Vampire Slayer season 8. I re-read book 6, Retreat, for the lead-in, because it's been so long since I read them, then followed that up with books 7 and 8, Twilight and Last Gleaming.
I have to say, as a series, season 8 has been a bit of a mixed bag. I rather agree with one Amazon reviewer - the first 5 books were great. Really interesting, now the series has gone global, moved out of Sunnydale, and can take advantage of a cast of thousands and unlimited budget. But these last three... The plot is convoluted, and a bit difficult to follow, I don't feel the "reveal" of the big bad is particularly believable, and the grand finale isn't as epic as you feel it ought to be, with a main-character death which lacks the emotional impact that it ought to have.
That said, the final outcome of the series is game changing, and it'll be really interesting to see where they go from here for season 9. Especially since Joss Whedon has promised a return to character driven stories and more focus on what Buffy does best.

One of my favourite books of all time, is The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, but so far I'd neglected to read any of the other books about the same characters - partly out of a fear that they couldn't possibly be as good. Then I got round to reading I Will Repay. The edition that I got wasn't a particularly good one - several glaring typos, but that's easily overlooked. Like the original book, this one is a love story as well as an adventure. The adventure itself is rollicking good fun, but it's a bit predictable. What makes the book worth reading is the characters, who all have real depth and emotion, and a real humanity to them. Especially the women. They aren't put up on pedestals - in fact this book is about the dangers of putting people on pedestals, which I sense is something of a theme in these books. Orczy's style is perhaps a little overblown, but that's more due to the period than an actual flaw in her work, and it suits the story. It's a fun adventure and might just tug your heartstrings along the way.

As some of you may know, I'm quite the Wonder Woman fan. And one of the other new reads of this month is The Hiketea - a stand alone Wonder Woman book by Greg Ruka. I like Ruka's Wonder Woman - she is possibly my favourite incarnation of the character; wise, strong, intelligent and full of compassion without being over emotional. I'm also a fan of Gail Simone's more consciously feminist take on Diana, but Ruka's Diana is just a decent and amazingly capable person, without having to make a point of it all the time. She is a feminist icon, but just by existing, rather than by trying to be one. The Hiketea is, I believe, Ruka's first attempt with the character, before he was given the series proper. The plot is very simple, but the execution is spot on, and sets up quite a few aspects of Diana that Ruka goes on to explore later. The dynamic and the conflict between Wonder Woman and Batman is explored without doing either of the characters down. With a start like this, it's easy to see why Ruka got the gig.

Finally, in a month of comics, I ended with Oracle: Cure. Sadly, it wasn't a great finish to the month. The plot is full of gaping holes and leaps of illogic. It stretches credibility, and reads like the author was trying to write a big flashy sci-fi movie, not a comic book with a history. All of whom aren't developed, and seem to bear very little relation to their already established characters. It doesn't help that I hate the art style as well. It's sharp, harsh and the buttons appear to be straining themselves constantly on Barbara's blouse. The whole thing feels flashy and trite, and the ending is harsh... almost ableist, and really out of character for the characters involved. After this I had to go back and re-read some Birds of Prey, just to remind myself of why I like Oracle, and how well it can be done...

And that's for the next month's instalment...

Friday, 1 July 2011


Again, it's been a stressful month, so mostly a lot of re-readers, but a couple of new books in there as well.

Finishing off the Temeraire series with Black Powder War, Empire of Ivory, Victory of Eagles, and finally, Tongues of Serpents, which I'd tried a few times before, but never finished.
Like the rest of Novik's Oeuvre, the scenery is gorgeous, and the characters, new and old, lively and fascinating. The new dragons especially. But much like Empire of Ivory, Tongues of Serpents flags a little in the second half. The pacing never really varies much, and even the brief points of excitement - the bush fire, and the encounter(s) with the Bunyips - are lacking in energy. The denouement feels hurried and imperfectly weaved with the rest of the story - again, parallels could be drawn with Empire of Ivory. Overall, though, I think the book suffers from its disconnection from previously established characters and events. We really do feel, like our protagonists, lost on the other side of the world, very much out of things. Which is perhaps testament to the skill of the author, but coming hard on the heels of Victory of Eagles - the most action-packed of the books to date - it's a very sharp let-down.

I had a lot of fun with Jasper Fforde's latest; One of Our Thursdays is Missing, which, if you haven't read any of the other Thursday Next books, might be a bit difficult to get into, but if you have, is a fantastic addition to the cannon. The re-actualisation of the book world, and the (re-) introduction of the fictional Thursday-5 as our protagonist instead of Thursday herself is a fantastic way that Fforde has managed to inject fresh life into the series, keeping just enough of the older books to give us a sense of familiarity, but being able to introduce new plots, characters and a new momentum that had perhaps been lacking in First Among Sequels. It's a fantastic book, with energetic pacing, and host of new characters; I especially love Mrs Malaprop and her curious condition which gives Fforde the opportunity to engage in the kind of word-play that he so obviously relishes, and which last surfaced as the Mispelling Vyrus, and the fictional Pickwick (aka Lorina Peabody III). The villains suffer a little - our eventual antagonist doesn't quite have the same clout as some previous ones, but I loved the brief re-introduction of Jack Schitt (and the revelation surrounding him), which sort of made up for it. Overall, it's a new lease of life for the Thursday Next series... and sent me right back to re-reading The Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book....

Thursday, 23 June 2011


Mea culpa, my friends - not only is this post spectacularly late but the "filler" I had promised you all has yet to appear either. I can only blame the combined stresses of illness and house-buying madness to account for it.
Again, I have only three books read - all of them re-reads. It's been a chaotic month.

First Among Sequels, by Jasper Fforde is the fifth book in the Thursday Next series of novels, and like the rest of Fforde's oeuvre, is a cracking good read. Like The Fourth Bear, this one takes a while to get going, and is not one to be read strictly in sequence, since I don't feel it quite lives up to the same standard as some of the others. That standard is extremely high, however, and I think it's just when the book is taken in comparison to the others - read in isolation it's still brilliant, and eminently readable, just not, I feel, Fforde's best. Though it does explain the piano that turns up in Emma...

I then decided to begin re-reading Naomi Novik's Temeraire series, and got through Temeraire and Throne of Jade. The basic premise is that of the Napoleonic wars... but with dragons.
It's one of those books that's pretty much what it says on the tin, but it's spectacularly well executed. It stands up well to re-reading, and probably will be read again.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


April has been something of a slow month, reading-wise. Only three books - one of which has been carried over from March, and one of which is a re-read. I think it's just been a case of life getting in the way, yet again.
I do have plans, however, for something else I'm going to post up to make up for the shortfall here.

I started with Ordeal By Innocence, another Agatha Christie (see March) which doesn't really warrant much more discussion, as my obsession with Christie has already been covered.

Most of my month has been taken up with reading Scarlett Thomas' The End of Mr Y.
It's a good book. Interesting, densely packed, detailed and intelligent: much as I've come to expect from Thomas.
The book was spoiled, much like PopCo was, by Thomas' pet interest: Homeopathy. For such an otherwise intelligent author, I just feel this really lets her down. For me, it utterly breaks my suspension of disbelief. I can cope with the idea of trying to weigh the soul, other worlds created out of thought, mind-hopping, the God of Mice, and conspiracies involving the CIA, but an acceptance of Homeopathic principles is just a step too far for me. It's frustrating in the extreme. I like Thomas' writing, and I've still got another of her books on my shelves to read, but if that one has bloody homeopathy in it too, then I'm sorry, it's likely to be the last book of hers that I read.

I rounded off the month with an old favourite: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman.
It's one of my favourite books by one of my favourite authors, about family and Gods and the power of stories. Well worth a read.

Thursday, 31 March 2011


So, March has been very much a month of guilty pleasure reading. Though, I say that, but really, the idea that reading has to be “improving” really should have gone out with the Victorians who invented it. So some of the stuff that I read (ok, most of it) isn’t especially “literary” and I do have a habit of re-reading books that I like, but is that really a problem? Isn’t reading something one does to relax and be entertained?

And why has genre fiction got such a bad rep? Take, for example, my reading of this month. There has been a considerable amount from the Queen of Crime herself, Agatha Christie. And I’ve got to say, I’m a big fan. It started off with picking up a book at a train station WH Smiths – I think it was Death on the Nile – but it went on from there to the point where I’ve read almost all the Poirot and most of the Marple novels, and I’m now at the point of exploring some of her less well known works, just to get my Christie fix.

Sure, they’re fairly short, with a limited character base, and the plot follows the same rough arc, but you know that when you pick one up. You don’t read Christie for originality of plot. She spent a lot of time creating her niche in this genre, re-inventing the murder-mystery, and it may be clichéd now, but that’s because of her. Do you really expect her to revolutionise the genre twice? No, if you read Christie, you read it for the subtleties. For the brain-teaser of trying to find out whodunit before Poirot or Miss Marple (or the detective of the month) does. And you have to admire the crafting of the novels; she gives you all the clues, and works them in so subtly you miss them if you’re not looking carefully. She doesn’t do the annoying thing that some detectives do of withholding a vital piece of evidence until the last minute, or making leaps of logic that are just not justified by the evidence in front of you *coughHolmescough*, her stories are eminently solvable by the reader. And that’s half the fun of reading them. What? Some people do Sudoku...

So this month, I’ve been tucking into:

Sparkling Cyanide – two murders take place at two dinner-parties on the same day a year apart from each other. All the same guests were there... and someone slipped cyanide into the champagne...

Towards Zero – An elderly lady is bludgeoned with a golf club. All evidence points to her ward Neville, who has managed to invite both his current and his ex wife to stay at the same time. Did he really do it, or is it a clumsy attempt to frame him?

The Hollow – A classic Poirot. A house party, and a man is found shot by the side of the pool, his wife standing over him, gun in hand...

The 13 Problems – Miss Marple’s nephew, an eminent crime writer, invites some friends round for a Tuesday night mystery club, but his aunt proves more adept at solving the puzzles posed than any of his guests...

And am nearly finished with Ordeal By Innocence, which may have to tail into April’s list.

But it’s not just been Christie this month, I’ve also been re-visiting the Girl Genius series – or at least the 9 volumes which are out so far. It’s billed as a “Gaslamp Fantasy”, but it’s what I would call steampunk. It’s all up online here, and it’s well worth checking out. Brain-child of Phil and Kaja Foglio (don’t you wish you had a name like that?) it tells the story of mad scientist (or “spark”) Agatha Heterodyne, her companions, the Jagermonsters and two would-be suitors as they try and reclaim her place as last heir of the Heterodyne family, not get used as a pawn in the games of Baron Wulfenbach, The Storm King or The Other, battle Pirate Queens, slaver wasps, Geisterdamen and rogue “Clanks” (robots... sort of), evade the clutches of Othar Tryggvassen; gentleman adventurer, and potentially even find the lost kingdom of Skiffander. You can’t talk about this without sounding Epic!

It is hilarious, overwhelmingly Bechedel compliant, containing of some nudity and utterly brilliant.

In between all of that, I’ve also managed to read Luke Kennard’s Planet-Shaped Horse, which was awesome, but since I’m intending to review that for Sabotage in the near future, I’m going to hold off a while on that here.

See you in April!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


After the monumental slog of Wolf Hall, I decided to tuck into a bit of comfort reading.

The Other Boleyn Girl, by Phillipa Gregory is another re-read for me, and, since I have already (and most likely will do again) extolled the virtues of Gregory's prose - she is, after all, one of my favourite authors - I shall merely say: Great book, will read again, recommend, and pass round to all and sundry as a Christmas present. Don't watch the film though - it's awful. (Unless you can find the BBC version with Jodhi May and Natascha McElhone, which is still too short, but captures the spirit of the book a lot better.)

Half way through that, I took a break, and picked up a copy of Delusions of Gender, by Cordelia Fine. It's a fascinating - if slightly saddening at times - book about how, what we often think of as biological diferences between the genders are actually socially conditioned, and how these, so-thought-of "Biological differences" are actually making it far more difficult for women to succeed; narrowing their choices, until often they aren't choices at all.
This theme of biologically based sexism is becoming far more prevalent these days - and is often hailed as someone speaking the unpalatable truth in the face of political correctness - and I believe that it's going to be one of the next major battles that women are going to have to win.
It is similar to Natasha Walters' Living Dolls (which I strongly recommend), the second part of which also deals with this phenomenon - though Fine, having devoted an entire book to it, manages to cover more, and with a touch more insight and cohesion.

I seem to have been reading a lot of science (and pop science) lately - as evidenced by another book that I picked up, entitled Elephants on Acid, by Alex Boese, detailing some of the wierd things that people have done in the name of science. It's a bit sensationalist and silly, but there's one or two interesting factoids in there. The only problem I can see with it is that it just doesn't provide enough depth or detail. It's light and fluffy - and I'd actually like to know more about some of the things that Boese just touches on, because it feels like the science has been dumbed down too far.

Back to fiction then, and to an offering from the wonderful Gregory Maguire: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. It's a brilliant read, taking the classic Cinderella story and setting it in 17th century Holland. Maguire - who is probably better known as the author of Wicked; The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West - has a real talent for making the traditional antagonists of a story sympathetic, complex characters with understandable motivations, rather than flat figures of unfathomnable malevolence. So even though you know the story, you don't, and you find by the end that it makes better sense this way, and you probably even prefer Maguire's version.

My final book of February is Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger. It's a chilling ghost story, by another favourite author, set in post-war rural Warwickshire. The book is posessed of a creeping kind of horror - I stayed up till about 3AM reading it: not a good idea if you want to sleep ever again - but it's a powerfuly evocative book in other ways as well. I do have a vague familiarity with the county, but I didn't need it for the place to come alive on the pages. The descriptions in particular of the old country house, Hundreds, will put you right at the scene - though whether that's where you want to be as the book goes on...

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Wolf Hall

Finally finished Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantell the other day.

I say "finally" because, my word, that was a slog.
It's not that there's anything wrong with the book, though when the protagonist (Thomas Cromwell) is referred to constantly throughout as "He" and never "Cromwell" or "Thomas", or by any other identifying marker (save, I think twice, in the final few chapters) it can get a bit confusing at times. I just wasn't really gripped by it.
It's a beautifully crafted novel, from an objective standpoint, and I can see why it won the critical acclaim that it did. There are good bits; watching Mary Boleyn packing to leave court, the presence of Mr "Call me Rissly" Wriothsley, the fabrics and tapestries, the amount of remembered detail; and it develops, and gets better as it goes along. But since I already know quite a lot about Tudor History, I just didn't feel like this book was bringing anything new, or telling me anything I didn't already know. And taking a very long time, and a slightly obfuscatory style to do it. I never really got 'into' it. I was never there with the characters. It was hard work to finish.

Maybe I'm just spoiled by Phillipa Gregory. Her novels, by comparison, are much more active and pacy, and the characters feel more fully rounded. You don't feel like there's this vast maw of history between us and then; historical sensibilities feel natural - these are real people with real desires, just like ours. With Mantel, I never feel like I have an inside view on anyone's head - not even Cromwell's. He's just this dark, brooding presence, always calculating, brooding, never feeling, hardly human. I couldn't empathise for a minute.

I think overall it's a good book, but not necessarily one I'd recommend to a friend. If you want something Tudor, something sexy and gripping and full of action and life, read The Other Boleyn Girl. Which is what I'm doing next.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Direct Red

So, taking a break from the slog of Wolf Hall (more on that later), I decided to pick up Gabriel Weston's Direct Red.
It was a quick read - took me less than 24 hours to finish - and was somewhat unsatisfying. Partly, I think this was my problem, not the book's. Another non-fiction doctor book (my partner keeps being given them for Christmas), this one follows various incidents in the life of Ms Weston, a surgeon. And I'm afraid, I just didn't get on with Ms Weston. I don't know if it's the fact of her being a surgeon (an odd, and strangely blase bunch, even by doctor standards, I am told) or a woman in a man's world, but her writing style is quite cold and clinical, as if she's scared to be human. She's a surgeon, a person who cuts others up for a living, and you can never escape that surgical sterility. While she does occasionally show flashes of care or sympathy, if you were expecting a gentle bedside manner throughout, you're in for a dissapointment.

There is an obvious comparison to be drawn with Max Pemberton* - who comes across as much less "together" (by which I don't mean less competent, just less experienced) but that out-of-his-depth-ness makes him a lot easier to relate to. Ms Weston on the other hand, while there is a strange kind of poetry to the way she writes, always seems so very detached from everything, even her own emotions.

I was also rather uncomfortable with the book from a feminist perspective. Not wishing to spoil the ending; but it left me rather unsatisfied, and wondering if there weren't more (societal) pressures at work in the final scenario than were admitted to in the text, but I don't want to put words into the author's mouth. The final chapter also seemed at odds with what we had seen before of the character growing throughout the book.

It's a much more grown-up book than either of the Pemberton offerings, and there is a strange sort of beauty in the technical wording and the flash of surgical implements, it's a very cold kind of beauty, like blood on snow. If you're at all interested in life in hospitals, I would really suggest reading Pemberton's books first.

*Author of Trust Me, I'm a (junior) doctor, and Where does it hurt? - see previous post.

Monday, 17 January 2011


Starting the New Year off, I am half-way through a favourite that is too new still to be old, but I confidently predict that it’s only a matter of time. I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series. I know, I know, so kill me, but I like kid-lit. It’s far more interesting than some of the stuff that’s on offer for grown ups – it deals with life-and-death mysteries of the cosmos, not does-my-bum-look-big-in-this dating crap[1], and there is a blessed lack of prejudice against the Spec Fic genres. I am sure I will cover the whole SF issue/ kid-lit issue at another date, but this is a re-read, so let’s move on...

In at number 2 is another re-read. Pratchett’s Going Postal / Making Money duo. I love Pratchett, it has to be said, and I think that his forays here into chapters is an interesting structural change, and probably one that helps the pacing of the novels. But another re-read here, nothing particularly new to say.

Bad Science by Ben Goldacre is the first new book I’ve read this year. It’s somewhat caustic in tone, and that added to the fact that it’s essentially a well written polemic, means that I doubt Goldacre is going to be making any converts soon. He’s preaching to the choir with this one, which I think is a shame. He makes some very good points about how media scares and shoddy journalism (which, as a journalist himself he acknowledges is more the fault of the gatekeepers and editors than the actual jobbing writers themselves) as well as “selective reporting” of studies and statistics by both big Pharma and Homeopathy advocates presents a misleading, if not dangerous world-view to the lay-person. He manages to avoid being patronising to his readers; though he does skirt that line very closely at times, and I wouldn’t want to read this coming from the opposite point of view. Obviously this is a subject that Goldacre cares passionately about, and while it’s always better to read something by a passionate author than by an apathetic one, his passion can sometimes spill over into being confrontational. Worth a read, but brace yourself...

Continuing with the science non-fiction, we have Max Permberton’s Trust me, I’m a (junior) Doctor. It reads like my SO’s diary from last year. Written in 2007, it’s still a scathingly accurate portrayal of what is now called the F1 (foundation 1) year – i.e. the first one after you finish at university – as a doctor in an inner city hospital. If you want to know what’s wrong with the NHS, and why it’s still worth supporting, read this. You will never complain that doctors are paid too much again.

First fiction book of the year! After a trip to Waterstones, where we each come back laden down with books, I finally get round to reading some Scarlett Thomas, and I start with PopCo. It’s a book about cryptography, marketing, toys, the tricks of creative business, advertising, teenage girls, and treasure hunting. It’s a good book, that I can say. Well written, well paced, with interesting characters (and a female protagonist), a mystery that will unravel slowly and deliciously, and a few very good and interesting things to say about business, brand identity, and, strangely, feminism for teens. However, there were two things that just grated; firstly, after reading the Goldacre just recently, I could not stomach the main character’s obsession with homeopathy. It may just be really bad timing, but it was painfully immersion breaking, and put me right off. Secondly, the conclusion felt rushed and unsatisfying. I can’t say too much without spoiling the mystery, but I was distinctly underwhelmed. Not because it left things without answers, but more because it left things without questions. The flashbacks and forays into the past make for a much more interesting mystery, overall. I shall certainly be reading more Thomas, but perhaps not for a while.

Where does it hurt?, another Pemberton offering is just as insightful and honest as the first, this time dealing with a community outreach project. It’s not so much a rip-the-lid-off exposé, but it might just change the way you see people; specifically the dispossessed. Pemberton’s work with the homeless, the drug addicts, the A&E drunks, is handled sensitively and thoughtfully, portraying a broken system, but not always broken people. It’s a little bleaker than the previous, but again, it’s an important kind of a book to read.

Phillipa Gregory’s Red Queen has been sitting on my bookshelf since the day it came out, and I’m ashamed it’s taken me this long to get round to reading it. It’s the story of Margaret Beaufort – Henry VII’s mother – and it’s as gripping, well written and un-put-downable as any of Gregory’s oeuvre. The best thing about her, as a writer, is that she lets history do the work for her. The stories and characters she writes about are left to shine through without too much embellishment, save that which makes a better story. There is, obviously, a certain amount of conjecture and speculation, but the way she writes, it’s so hard to tell. She manages to create convincing and importantly consistent portrayals of historical characters, by telling their stories simply, and with the only frills being on petticoats. I enjoyed Red Queen so much, I had to go back and re-read its predecessor, White Queen.

[1] Not counting fic aimed at the Teen Girl demographic. Chic Lit is only a grown up version of this, only without the former’s sole redeeming feature of preparing girls for their first kiss/period/bra/forays into romance and social life etc.


Hi, I'm Alex.
I'm also known in real life and around the internet as AJ, Galactic Teabag and Sesquepadalia.
24 years old, I'm a Book freak, bit of a geek, Feminist and aspiring author.
Currently at large in the North of England with my SO and the dream of a cat.

This blog: is going to (hopefully) encompass a year of my life, detailing, month by month, what I'm reading, what I'm reading again, and whether or not I think it's any good.
It's going to be confined to my personal reading - I also do the occasional review up at Sabotage, and I'll leave the stuff I read for that out of this list - but prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, if I read it, it's going up on here, and I'm giving it a paragraph or so of review.

This is an experiment, so please bear with me. Any comments and feedback, or discussions of what I'm reading would be appreciated.

And with that, roll on the New Year...