Ilium opens with Thomas Hockenberry, a twenty-first century professor, observing the Trojan War on behalf of a Muse. He has been reborn into this world of heroes and gods at the whim of a god or goddess and exists purely on their suffering. His job, to watch the happenings in the war and report back on whether or not they follow the path he is familiar with from Homer’s Iliad. The second chapter is from the point of view of Daeman, a youngish man at some point in the future, who is visiting his cousin’s house with the sole purpose of seducing her. The next storyline we are introduced to is that of Mahnmut, a sentient machine of sorts, who has been asked to attend a meeting for some mission, although his mind is more occupied with Shakespeare and his sonnets.
Where do you start when trying to review a collection like this? I really have no idea. I was going to give up before I even began; admit defeat without letting anyone know about it, but I decided, what the hell, lets give it a go.
I first read some of Gaiman’s Sandman series years and years ago. Like a genius I started with A Doll’s House rather than at the beginning, but I soon realised my mistake and retraced my steps. The first few issues never really grabbed me. But they begin the story, so you do need to start there, and then, even if you dislike them, persevere for a little while longer. Because, lets face it, the character of Morpheus isn’t really that likeable. He is an arrogant ass. But his story is interesting. And the stories and places Gaiman gets to explore through the Sandman and his sibling Endless characters are fascinating. If you like comics and myths then you should give this a go.
Author: Patrick Ness ; Bk 3 in Chaos Walking trilogy.
The final book in a series can often be a tough one to read and enjoy. On the one hand you want it to end happily ever after for the characters. Especially is you are at all invested in them. But at the same time you also want it to be truthful. By which I mean you don’t want the author to duck the difficult decisions and have some quick get out of jail clause. And I’m happy to say that Ness manages it all, with some brilliant writing along the way. Continue reading →
Author: Fred Vargas ; trans from the french by Sian Reynolds
An Adamsberg novel
Chief Inspector Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg has recently been transferred to Paris. His police methods aren’t exactly standard procedure and his inspectors have a lot to get used to. But they can have no doubt that he is a born policeman, and while even he is unable to explain how he arrives at his conclusions he is usually correct. In this case he thinks that there is something strange about the blue chalk circles that have been appearing in the Parisian streets. He is convinced that there is something sinister about them. Continue reading →
I first came across a mention of Robert M. Saplosky on Metafilter and I was a little interested, so I did what any librarian might do, and ordered one of his books. To be honest my expectations weren’t all that high. My personal reading challenge for 2010 might be to read more non-fiction, but at the same time I know that non-fiction often requires more concentration and time than fiction, and then there was the fact that Sapolsky is a neurobiologist, and to be totally honest I really didn’t think it’d be all that interested. But I challenged myself, and was I ever glad that I did because from the opening page this really is a delight to read. … Continue reading →
It is 1914 and Europe is on the brink of war. In Austria-Hungary young Prince Aleksander’s life is suddenly in turmoil. His parents have been murdered and he is on the run and in disguise. His once-upon-a-time allies have turned out to be enemies and there are very few people he can trust. In England Deryn Sharp wants nothing more than to be an airman. The only problem is, she’s a girl, and airmen are.. well, male. In disguise she gets accepted and is soon serving as a Midshipman aboard the Leviathan. A huge airship built around a fabricated beast. Continue reading →
I was a bit uncertain about this film. It sounded just a bit too heart-warming, as though it’d be full of overly sentimental “and everything works out in the end” stuff that makes me think of the flawed philosophy behind stories such as The Pursuit of Happyness:”":http://www.susanhatedliterature.net/2007/01/18/the-pursuit-of-happyness/, you know the sort of victim blaming that says you wouldn’t be poor if only you tried harder.
Luckily enough this film is not like that. Okay, it has the heart-warming aspect. Heart-warming by the bucket-full. But it is told in such a way that you just can’t help but smile.
This the sixth in the series returns our heroes to their present after the flashback that was O Jerusalem. That sentence doesn’t really make much sense, but figure it out, think of it as a challenge :) Holmes & Russell have just returned from The Moor and are settling back in at home when their comes a disturbance at their door. Ali Hazr has shown up, with a head wound and wanting their assistance. He needs their help with Mahmoud, his “brother”. Of course Holmes had already pointed out that neither of the two arabs they were travelling with were actually from that region, but it is, nevertheless, a surprise to learn where they come from and just what an aristocratic name both bear.
This is one I picked up because I’d seen positive mentions on a few blogs, I think Nymeth’s post was the one that prompted the purchase. So it came with a little bit of hype. That being said, I don’t really read reviews before I read a book, just skim the opening paragraph for a sense of what the reviewer thought of the book, so I wasn’t all hyped out. And Blankets did live up to those positive reviews. Continue reading →
I first heard about this book on Metafilter when Susan Klebold, mother of one of the killers, had an article in O Magazine. Before that I had never been interested in the shooting. Not beyond the evils of rubber-necking at some one else’s tragedy. But the discussion there seemed to suggest that this was a well-thought out and reasoned look at the community surrounding the school, as well as the killers themselves. And the author, Cullen, believed that the popular myths about the shootings shouldn’t stand unchallenged. Continue reading →