Reading Update 05/12/2020

Well bookwyrms, I’m definitely in a reviewing slump. Definitely not a reading slump, cos I’ve actually been reading a lot of books, I just cba writing reviews for any of them haha. It does mean there’s some reviews outstanding for a couple more cyberpunk books I read during SciFi Month, so you can look forward to my thoughts on Infomocracy and Glitch Rain, coming as soon as I can be arsed to actually write them. In the meantime though, here’s what’s gracing my fiction reading shelves at the moment.

Recently Finished: RUIN AND RISING by Leigh Bardugo
Ah the final instalment of the Shadow and Bone series. Talking about these books is kinda lolz for me, cos they aren’t really very good, and yet I read all three books in a couple of weeks haha. It definitely helped that I was listening to the audiobooks while doing other stuff, like painting by bedroom and walking to work; I honestly don’t think I could have stuck it out for three physical books without developing overwhelmingly negative feelings. Weird how the different options we have to consume a book now can affect how we experience them. In any case this series was fine, and fans of Leigh Bardugo have told me this series definitely isn’t her strongest work, so I’ll still be reading Six of Crows some time soon. And let’s be real, given that Nikolai was literally the only character I gave a shit about in this series I’m most definitely also gonna be reading King of Scars too haha (which I assume is about him?).

Currently Reading: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE by Richard Condon
And now for something completely different! Yep, we’re shifting gears entirely from secondary world YA fantasy to Cold War espionage thriller. The Manchurian Candidate is a political thriller about the son of a prominent US political family who is brainwashed into becoming an unwitting assassin for a Communist conspiracy while held as a POW in the Korean War. Even if you haven’t read the book there’s a decent chance you’ve seen the Denzel Washington film, loosely based on the novel. I find this book very interesting because I’ve been reading a lot about the Cold War recently and some of the questionable operations conducted by intelligence agencies. For example, the CIA’s Project MK Ultra, a broad program of illegal experiments investigating the use of what I guess can be called ‘mind control’ to manipulate their subjects mental states through the use of psychoactive drugs, sleep and sensory deprivation, sexual abuse and other methods of torture. Not some crackpot conspiracy theory either by the way, this actually happened and is acknowledged as having happened; there were Senate hearings about it and everything when it was exposed. Anyway, the irl project was supposedly initiated after reports that American POWs in Korea were allegedly subjected to Soviet, Chinese and North Korean mind control techniques during the war, so the premise of this book isn’t as far-fetched as it seems.

Next Read: THE IPCRESS FILE by Len Deighton
Yep, I’m on Cold War spy thriller kick at the mo and this one also involves some form of brainwashing. I remember watching the Michael Caine film of this book as a teenager with my uncle, who was really into these kinds of stories. I don’t remember much about it to be honest and the blurb is a bit vague, telling us only that for a Cold War spy, an apparently straightforward mission to find a missing biochemist becomes a journey to the heart of a dark and deadly conspiracy. Sign me up Jack! There’s a fairly good chance I’m just gonna be reading spy thrillers and hard-boiled detective fiction for the foreseeable future so it’s a good job I have some unwritten SFF reviews to write up, otherwise I really would just be talking non-stop about a bunch of white guys writing in the 1950s for the rest of the month.

Anyway, that’s it for today’s update folks. Let me know in the comments what you’re reading at the mo, I love to chat about the books we’ve all got our noses in. And if you enjoyed this update why not follow the blog for more reviews and bookish chat.

8 thoughts on “Reading Update 05/12/2020

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  1. I don’t know why, but I think it’s kind of funny that you read so much Leigh Bardugo. It just doesn’t seem like your style. I hope you like Six of Crows. I think if I was a different person or read it when I was younger, I might have liked it (or even finished it.)

    I’ve always wanted to read Infomocracy. It seems like it’s perpetually checked out at all my libraries. Looking forward to your review when you get around to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha Leigh Bardugo really *isn’t* my thing tbh. I’ve actually read close to zero YA in the past so I’m kind of like that dinosaur in Jurassic Park that has no reason to be scared of the guy with the taser until it gets zapped.

      I dunno, I’m a bit of a weird reader sometimes; I have a habit of reading things I don’t like because I find it interesting to think about why I don’t like them. The reason I actually started reviewing in the first place was because I was a writer first and foremost (albeit one who struggles a lot with self-confidence and with actually finishing the stories I start) and wanted to examine what I thought made good and bad writing, to improve my own writing. So from that perspective I’m interested in reading more widely, even if what I read isn’t always what I personally enjoy the most.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yeah, that’s a great attitude to take. I never read YA too, just because I feel like I’m not in a place where I would enjoy it; I’m an adult, so I prefer adult themes. That’s not a judgement on YA, that’s just where I am.

        One of my relatives is writing a novel right now, and does the exact same thing as you do (sans the reviewing). They go through a ton of books with a critical writer’s eye, and it takes them in so many directions. I really admire that.


  2. Honestly, when I used to pick audiobooks for my commute, I always went with light popcorn material. Some of it I loved, some of it was “at least I’m not completely focused on the traffic.” Like you, there are a few I probably wouldn’t have gotten through if they hadn’t been on audio, but they were almost more enjoyable that way! I was so-so on the Shadow and Bone series, I thought they were fine, but I really did enjoy the Six of Crows duology. Hope it’s not a miss for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I thought the Shadow and Bone series was ok, but again probably only cos I listened to the audiobook. Weirdly I thought the first book was actually the worst in the series, which is odd for trilogies, but I guess it was her debut book so maybe she just started getting better as a writer?

      Quite a few people have said the same thing about not thinking S&B is a good series but that the Six of Crows duology is very enjoyable, so I’m still looking forward to those 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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