I’ve always been a voracious reader and, when I’m in the reading zone, tend to have at least 3 different books on the go, and am eternally grateful to The Mothership for ensuring that not only could I read books beyond my age range by the time I was old enough to attend school but that I had a passion for it.
As most book lovers can attest, a book can be an escape, a source of comfort, inspiration, motivation, a mood changer and a good book becomes a companion you enjoy catching up with now and again.
When I relocated my life from England to America, I ended up giving away most of my 15+ years of accumulated library to friends and charity shops, so The Hublet got me a Kindle as a way for me to rapidly access the bulk of my lost collection.
However, nothing beats the feeling of curling up with a book. Old or new, the crackle of a bending spine, the smell of paper, the gentle shift of pages, it’s all part of the appeal of getting lost in a piece of literary magic.
I massively enjoy gaming, but when your week is divided up between running a house, holding down a 9-5 job, raising a stubborn little mini-dachshund and working through the never-ending list of household chores and errands, it’s hard to find the time to kick back in front of a console or PC game let alone hide somewhere with a book.
However, the planets appear to have aligned quite nicely over the past few weeks as I’ve been able to grab healthy chunks of time to sit down and simply read for pleasure.
I’m currently working my way through the below books:
Monstress 1: Awakening is written by Marjorie Liu and gorgeously illustrated by Sana Takeda. This graphic novel takes place in a world where hybrids and humans uneasily coexist. A young woman named Maika (our heroine?), is an Arcanic, a minority hybrid breed regularly enslaved, hunted and experimented on by humans, but somehow has a connection to an ancient and powerful entity that occasionally rips through from its realm to save her from perilous situations or simply to slake its own hunger. As the reader, you’re dropped in the middle of a politically divided world and are scrabbling around to pick up the pieces of exactly what’s going on in this war-torn land. My only critique is there are too many slightly lazy info dumps for the reader in the form of a cat educating a number of kittens, allowing the reader to get a large dose of knowledge. I’d almost rather that the story had been bulked out instead of resorting to a wall of text playing catch-up on the political, social or religious dynamics going on in Maika’s world. This is a fairly dark tale with no punches held with the artwork.
I’m also working through the Rivers of London series of books written by Ben Aaronovitch. I was originally drawn to the series when going through a phase of craving books set in London, and was delighted to find that the book ‘Rivers of London’ (renamed ‘Midnight Riot’ for the USA market) is only the first of a series. It starts off as a murder mystery and tells the story of a fairly down to earth Metropolitan Police officer who gets reassigned to a quiet little branch of the police that deals with very otherworldly events. What I like is that key elements of London, such as the rivers, have a human’esque persona, each with their very distinct look, attitude and mannerisms.
I’m not too far into The Rook by Daniel O’Malley and already I’m loving it. A friend sent me a 34-page excerpt a few months ago and I was hooked. Our heroine Myfanwy Thomas wakes up in a London park surrounded by bodies. She remembers nothing of who she was or what she was doing prior to awakening, and we follow her as she pieces together the story of her life based on notes that her former self left hidden around the place, clues that her current self must solve. She discovers that she’s a member of the Checquy, an ancient organisation of assassins with people permeating every branch of government, and she has to step into the shoes of the person she’s forgotten how to be so as to not alert her would-be-killer to her predicament.
A recent addition to my library is Rejected Princesses by Jason Porath who used to work in the animation industry. Initially it started life as a blog celebrating the overlooked women of history who had an impact on the world around them, but won’t be coming to a screen near you anytime soon as they’re not quite family-friendly Disney Princess material. Due to the overwhelmingly positive reception of life’s grittier tales of female accomplishments, Jason thankfully put himself out on a limb and put the best of the blog into a book along with a whole bunch of new ladies of renown. The illustrationstrations are fantastic, and the stories are nicely graded (from fairly clean up to being something your WWII surviving axe-wielding grandmother would raise an eyebrow at). These are stories of real women using the abilities at their disposal to solve real problems, and are equally inspiring, stirring, motivating and brutal.
Rounding up the pack is Very British Problems from Rob Temple, a nod to my Redcoat brethren about the monsters that control us, the passive aggressive emotions that plague us and the compulsions that drive us. Fantastic book that will give any American an insight into what drives us.
What about you guys? What books are you enjoying at the moment? What upcoming book(s) are you looking forward to? What books have you recently finished that you would recommend to others? Have you ready any of the above and have a different opinion based on your reading experience?