Category Archives: Thoughts

46 books in 52 weeks

What a great year for reading 2013 was, 46 books in 52 weeks is the most books I’ve read in a single year. Accounting for the fact that I don’t really read at home and that four weeks of annual leave plus a week at Christmas and a week away on business adds up to six weeks without reading, that means I was more or less reading a book a week. Good going considering there were quite a few brick books in there!

Below I’ve summarised what I read during 2013 to give the highlights of the, mainly science fiction, reading world. I’ve split it between Series reads and individual stand-alone novels.

Books read in 2013

Series

I read quite a few series during 2013 as well, finishing the amazing Void Trilogy that continues on from the equally amazing Commonwealth Saga. The Void Trilogy is set 1200 years into the future after the end of Judas Unchained and has some of the same characters such as Paula Myo, Ozzie, and Bradley Johansson. The Void Triology also introduces a fantasy element that is engrossing and which I could easily have read as a book on its own, it is simply that good.

Credit: theunisphere.com

Also read, in its entirely was the Enderverse starting with the fantastic Ender’s Game, continuing with the quite different but very good Speaker for the Dead, and with another four books as well read that are good (except War of Gifts, which was pointless). Now there is controversy surrounding Orson Scott Card’s reprehensible views on homosexuality and whether you should support him, but if I was to avoid all creative types who’s views I didn’t agree with, there wouldn’t be many books or music left for me to enjoy!

As well as the Enderverse, I read 8 books in the Honorverse, all of which differed in quality for me but were broadly similar in how they resulted in Honor coming through and generally being perfect. I get what some reviewers had said when they stopped reading the series because it was too same-y and Honor too flawless. I have currently stopped reading at book 9.

As well as reading Peter Hamilton’s Void Trilogy I also read his first books, the Greg Mandel series, which is absolutely excellent, very different from his later work being focused on a single character perspective and being more of a detective mystery bent set in a science fiction world after a ‘warming’ of the planet that has led to Mediterranean conditions in England and an entirely new system of Governments in the world. I recommend you give them a whirl, starting with Mindstar Rising.

The last series I finished in 2013 was the original Foundation Trilogy by the legend of science fiction, Isaac Asimov, which was very good. He wrote further books set in the same universe but I’ve heard less than great things about those with some saying they ruined the original trilogy.

Fantastic Individual Books

First there was The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom that is a wonderfully moving fable that addresses the meaning of life, and life after death, in a poignant way. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to everyone as I think everyone will take something different from it. Best of all from my perspective is it is about a guy who works at an Amusement Park (Life Goal Number Five: Own a Theme Park).

Picture credit: Goodreads.com

Although Ender’s Game can be read as an individual novel and is definitely a five star novel and one of my favourite’s, the next great non-series book of 2013 was quite a long time later (I read a lot of series books) and is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time which is a superb novel about a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome and is written from a unique perspective in a very different style, a definite five star book for me (they don’t get handed out frequently) and is currently a play by the National Theatre at the Gielgud Theatre in London. You can read my review written in the style of the book on this very blog.

Credit: National Theatre

My next great novel of my 2013 reading list is The Inverted World by Christopher Priest, I found the book to be fantabidosy. The twist at the end threw me as I didn’t expect it and I found the novel and the concept interesting and clever. This is the second novel I’ve enjoyed by this author and as a result I will hunt down some more. A great book.

I started entering Goodreads Giveaways later in the year and the first book I won was The Garden of Burning Sand by Corban Addison. It is a book I wouldn’t ordinarily have picked up and is a terrific story about a crime committed in Zambia. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have added A Walk Across the Sun to my to-read list and I am looking forward to reading it. You can read my review of The Garden of Burning Sand on this blog.

Image credit: Goodreads

Credit: Goodreads

My last fantastic individual book of the year (although it will be part of a series it stands on its own at the moment) is the Cleansing by Sam

Kates, a Welsh first-time published author who has a great concept and a well written story that really engages the reade

r. Sam is currently working on the follow-up novel ‘The Beacon’ and I am looking forward to reading that sometime in 2014 (hopefully). The book also has a terrific front cover.

Should a grown man be reading Harry Potter?

I have set myself the goal of reading all the Harry Potter books and I’ve finished the first one, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which I combined with reading a book on a Kindle for the first time. I would review it, but I’m not sure I have anything to add on the book that has not already been said. I can see it was written for a younger audience and is very accessible, I’m just hoping that true to what everyone has said, that the books mature and become deeper and more involved as I reach book three and beyond. I was also inspired to join Pottermore, took the tests, got a 13 and a half inch wand with Phoenix feather made of pine, and allocated to Ravenclaw (a surprise).

Now I had previously sworn off using a Kindle as well as reading Harry Potter. However I’ve seen the films and enjoyed them and so I want to read them. As we didn’t own a copy of the first one we got it on Kindle and I think I gave in on using a Kindle for the book because people wouldn’t see what I was reading then, even if it is on a train with other faceless commuters.

I guess my problem is that I have an issue in my mind with a grown man commuting to work reading Harry Potter books. Is this something that I should be concerned about?

I think I’d feel a bit sad and embarrassed every time someone saw what I was reading, even though what I’m reading is something they may have read themselves. I guess it is because I’m a bit late to the party, sort of like if someone my age read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code now and how I’d imagine Game of Thrones will be in a few years (note to self should give it a go soon!).

I don’t know why I’d feel embarrassed but the fact I am writing this indicates I have some trepidation about it, yet I shouldn’t do, after all, I see numerous professional women reading erotica (and I’m not just talking about 50 Shades here)  and I see both men and women reading a comic on the train (the Sun). I shouldn’t care what people think about it, I know I shouldn’t, but for some reason I do.

The lure of the anonymity that a Kindle provides to what you’re reading has never been so appealing.

What do you think of  a 28 year old man reading Harry Potter?

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