Posts Tagged ‘Haunting of Hill House’


Everything changes…

June 12, 2010

Who’d a thunk it? Back in January of this year, life was pootling along smoothly enough – working away in the bookshop in Dun Laoghaire, running the bookclub, hanging out with my friends and reading a lot – the big news being I had just decided to go on a book-buying diet for a bit and blog about it here.  How things change! Six months later, and the bookshop chain  I worked for went into liquidation, I’m working for a different bookshop, and many of my friends and colleagues have emigrated or got jobs elsewhere.  Some stalwarts hung in there though, and last weekend Hughes & Hughes in Dun Laoghaire reopened as Easons and my friends have their jobs back – rejoice!

And now in other news…I want to read everything by China Miéville! When I finished The City & The City I was completely blown away by it – it has an intricately woven plot that combines a crime procedural with a fractured city set in an indeterminate future; there are Orwellian and Kafkaesque echoes – absolutely brilliant.  Then I read Iron Council; this densely written novel, chewy with ideas and studded with grotesque imagery, is set in the town of New Crobuzon and follows the fortunes of rebels against the increasingly oppressive authorities.  It is one of those books that impels you to put it down at frequent intervals – the language is so rich and inventive, the world building so vividly imagined and strange and most of all, the ideas keep coming so fast that you have to pause and consider them at length.  It is NOT an easy reading, bubblebath book!  I’m about to start  Perdido Street Station, but am waiting for the right mood to come – it really is one of those books you need to read with full attention.

It’s been a while since I last blogged – it’s been pretty busy what with new jobs and friends weddings and trying to throw in the odd cultural event…but also because the bookdiet part of this blog has started to crumble.  I DID last the first tranche of three months, and was really determined to last longer, but being threatened with legal action tends to make you abandon experiments…Lured by a special offer, I joined a book society whose only criteria were that you had to purchase four books in the next year; I didn’t realise they meant you had to buy them immediately and all together!   I joined just before I started the book diet, and held out for three months, but had to buy the other four to meet the terms of the offer.  Caveat emptor!  So in the impregnable dam there was chiseled a small hole – which started to crumble…so in the interests of transparency, I have bolded any books in the list below that I purchased; I have only given links to books I particularly want to draw attention to.

Young Adult

Web of Air – Philip Reeve

The Adoration of Jenna Fox – Mary E. Pearson

Incarceron and Sapphique – Catherine Fisher    I simply can’t express how good this series is – stunning!  Read it for yourself and see how the themes of reality and freedom are teased out through the means of a great adventure.  Anyone who is a fan of Diana Wynne Jones would like this.

Nation – Terry Pratchett

Crime Fiction

Nevada Barr – Hard Truth Ill Wind Winter Study A Superior Death Endangered Species Deep South Yep, I’ve been on a real Anna Pigeon, NPS Ranger buzz…set in various National Parks in America, this is crime fiction seasoned with gripping suspense and evocative descriptions of the landscape.  Really good.

The Draining Lake – Arnaldur Indridason & Faceless Killers – Henning Mankell   Maybe it’s the mood I’m in, but I wasn’t very interested in dour Scandanavian detection…will try again sometime!  They lack the bitter humour of Rebus – I wish that series wasn’t over…

Speculative Fiction

Madness of Angels and Midnight Mayor by Kate Griffin   Matthew Swift is a sorceror – an urban sorceror.  He lives in London, and the electricity in the overhead wires and rules of the Tube stations are the tools he uses in his magic…inventive, witty, fizzing with ideas and written at a cracking pace, I can’t wait for the next installment!

Colour of Magic, Wyrd Sisters – Terry Pratchett

Paths not taken – Simon R. Green

All J. R. Ward – Black Dagger Brotherhood & Covet

Changes – Dresden Files – Jim Butcher   The latest in the Dresden Files series, and it’s a cracker.  Harry has managed to rack up quite the enemy list, and he has to face most of them in this book…to try to save his daughter, kidnapped by the Red Court vampires.

The Unwritten Comics # 1 – 13 – Mike Carey & Peter Gross (thanks Anna!)   Tom Taylor knows he’s the inspiration for Tommy Taylor, the bestselling boy magician hero written by his father, Wilson Taylor.  But is he?  Some people (sinister people) seem to think Wilson Taylor is Tom’s literary rather than biological creator, and that he was written into existence…and are seeking to use him for their own ends.  This looks really good – I can’t imagine where the character is going to end up, but it’s a fun journey so far!


Georgette Heyer – The Convenient Marriage, Cousin Kate, Devils Cub, Unknown Ajax, The Masqueraders, False Colours More Regency fun and frolics – I hadn’t read False Colours before, and can highly recommend it to any fans of Ms. Heyer.

Service with a smile – P. G. Wodehouse

Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson   It’s a classic, but still feels fresh – the original psychological/haunted house story.

Fast Women – Jenny Crusie

Gods in Alabama – Joshilynn Jackson

Foster – Claire Keegan   A young Irish girl is taken to stay with her aunt and uncle for the summer in the countryside – that is the deceptively simple plot.  I find it hard to say why this story is so moving; perhaps it’s the pitch-perfect tone or the intimations of something darker in the narrative, I’m not sure – it blew me away even on a second reading.  Do yourself a favour and read it.