As an aside from my normally unscheduled book reviews, tonight I wish to do something different: book previews.
My reading list has a bridle put upon it, to stop fancy from galloping free, rampaging across the literary countryside, and eventually throwing me from the saddle to land, winded, at the bottom of a large pile of unread or partly-read novels, in a muddy puddle of insolvency.
Therefore, in addition to all the books that I can borrow for free from the library, I am allowed to purchase one and only one book per month. This rule does, occasionally, get bent out of shape a little (“A $6 kindle book? Then I can buy another book of similar value to meet normal expenditure on a novel!”), but overall holds up fairly well.
(We shall not speak of the occasion last year, when I bought 4 yoga books at once in April, thus using up my potential book purchases of May, June and July in the one fell swoop. August was a month of much rejoicing).
This rule does mean, however, that I read a great many more ebook samples than I actually buy; the local temple of Athene is helpful in providing the lack, but overall, there is a lag between sample and satisfaction.
Thus, finding myself at the end of a particularly egregious sampling binge (“No, K.L.! Wait until March! You can do it!”), I have decided to share with the gems I anticipate, even salivate, at the prospect of devouring in future, in order of excitement:
1. The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell
David Mitchell is the author of Cloud Atlas, which was a brilliant read made into a beautiful, poignant movie. The sample of The Bone Clocks features Holly, a fifteen-year-old girl in the act of quitting school to move in with her older boyfriend, and subsequently running away from home, fancying herself adult enough to survive alone – and possibly (though she is unaware of this) pregnant. Similarly to Cloud Atlas, The Bone Clocks promises a series of interlinking narratives, so I am wildly excited to see exactly where this novel leads us.
2. The Philosopher’s Apprentice – James Morrow
A Doctorate student of ethical philosophy quits – dramatically, publicly – midway through his dissertation, and is immediately hired by a reclusive geneticist to instil a moral compass in her daughter, who lost hers in a diving accident. Satirical and well-described, I anticipate reading further.
3. The Incarnations – Susan Barker
A Chinese taxi driver is being stalked by someone who claims to have known him through six successive incarnations. With the vague horror overtones, I am concerned it will feature murder most foul before long. The local library has a copy, thank goodness.
4. The Madonna and the Starship – James Morrow
A television script writer has to save the world from aliens who admire his show for children about science… And who are determined to annihilate any humans who disagree with them.
5. Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World – Haruki Murakami
Surrealist and…well, Murakami. A man catchs a lift up an office building, to find himself climbing inside a cupboard, down a ladder and into an alternate dimension of pitch darkness, to find his employer’s grandfather and deliver a message. Delicious!
6. Only Begotten Daughter – James Morrow
A sperm donor is called in to explain why one of his samples has turned itself into a foetus. He then raises the daughter of God, who can cure the sick.
7. A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’engle
A classic of science fiction, and also a children’s novel. Apparently highly-recommended, and well-written thus far.
8. The Last Witchfinder – James Morrow
This particular James Morrowism was less satirical that the others I sampled: I found the matter-of-fact torturing of accused witches hard to stomach, their objectification by the main character’s father, a witch hunter, being a little too well portrayed. It narrated, confessional memoir-style, by Newton’s magnum opus, The Principia Mathematica.
9. Lesbian Pulp Fiction: the sexually intrepid world of lesbian paperback novels 1950-1965 – Katherine V. Forrest
An interesting snapshot of a post-war period, and the surreptitiously blooming of the lesbian queer fiction culture, which I am keen to explore further.
10. Clariel – Garth Nix
A long-awaited continuation of the novels set in his astonishing world of the Old Kingdom, where the dead walk and the magic of the Charter is used to bind creatures of free magic. This is a prequel to Sabriel and Lirael, adolescent favourites of mine. Clariel, blood relation to both the Abhorsens and the royal family, has been unwillingly brought to the capital city of Belisaere by her parents, who seem intent on marrying her to a murderer, ignoring her dreams of a life of self-sufficiency as a woodswoman. Intrigue run rampant.
That’s all for now, dear readers. See you soon!
(P.S., have I mentioned that my novel The Fall of Peter Pan is currently the #1 bestseller in the Mashups section of the Kindle store? Have I? I have? Oh, sorry. Don’t believe me? Find it HERE!)