Good afternoon bookwyrms, hope you’re all doing well. It’s been a canny while since I’ve done one of these reading updates! Usually I write them up often enough to catch every book I read so I’m sad that little run has come to an end, but I’ve read too many in the intervening period to put them all in this post, so I’m just gonna pick up from where I am now. I feel like all I’ve been talking about for months is my Wyrd & Wonder grimdark reading project, and feeling like a broken record is one more reason I’ll never promise to write a review every single day of a month long reading event. I’m determined to do it this time cos I’m in too deep, but my god never again. Predictably then, today’s update is laden with grimdark, but before I get to it I have a bone to pick with the publishing industry. So I want to read Silvia-Moreno Garcia’s Certain Dark Things for Wyrd & Wonder (spare me on its ‘grimdark’ credentials, at this point I don’t really care) and, as some of you may know, after originally being published a few years back, it’s scheduled for a re-release in September this year with a gorgeous new cover. As happy as I am about that, it does mean that retailers seem to have taken it off the shelves! Seems a bit daft, seeing as it’s already published and I’d quite like to pay money for it and read it now. I’m sure there’s reasons and all that but god dammit it’s annoying. But with that little gripe off my chest, let’s get to what I’ve been reading!
Recently Finished: WE MEN OF ASH AND SHADOW by H. L. Tinsley
Oh dear readers, you catch me in the middle of a blogging crisis about this book because I ended up really not liking it. Ordinarily I wouldn’t care, there are very few books I pick up that I actively don’t enjoy reading, and the few that I have are big name books that everyone else seems to love, so my lone voice wouldn’t make any difference and I’m comfortable enough putting my opinion out there to swim against the tide. This is a self-published book though, and a debut to boot, so I feel a bit uncomfortable about putting my voice out there. As a small book with not that many reviews, one critical voice could have much more impact than if I were to post into the ether and blast Robert Jackson Bennett for how shit I thought Foundryside was. At the same time though, should we treat self-published authors differently from traditionally published authors? Would they want to be treated differently? It has an air of condescension about it, that self-pubbed authors can’t stand on their own two feet, and that makes me uncomfortable too. Just to add another layer of awks to the mix, the author and I follow each other on Twitter… We’re not besties or anything, just exchanged a few casual comments and I doubt she’d know me from Adam if anyone asked but still, if I post it there’s a reasonable chance it’ll be seen and that makes me feel all kinds of anxious. Urgh, don’t know what to do, any and all advice would be greatfully received.
Currently Reading: A STORM OF SWORDS by George R. R. Martin
Awkwardness aside, I’m loving my re-read of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. This is number three and while it’s def doesn’t reach the same heights as A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings, I think that just speaks to the sheer brilliance of those first two books. And it does include the infamous wedding scene which, even though I knew was coming, still had me sitting with mouth hanging open as I read. It doesn’t need to be as long as it is I don’t think; at 1200 odd pages it’s the longest in the series so far and there’s a few moments where the plot is dangerously close to dragging without ever quite getting there. It’s rescued by the colourful and always-intriguing cast of characters who I could watch discuss the price of bread and, now I think about it, I quite possibly did at some point haha. Tyrion talking about the unrest in King’s Landing when the events unfold with Stannis and his pals outside the city? I feel like that’s a conversation that happened.
Next Read: THE FORTRESS OF THE PEARL by Michael Moorcock
This is subject to change, and I say that not for the normal reason a mood reader changes their next read. This is more to do with the fact I’m not sure if this is actually the next book in the series. Moorcock wrote the Elric books weird man; the publication order absolutely isn’t the chronological order of events, and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to read them by publication order or chronological order. I’d like to figure it out cos this series has been touted as sort of ‘proto-grimdark’, to coin a very wanky phrase and I’m keen to talk about them as precursors to some of the more obviously grimdark stuff that’s around today. I sort of got that sense out of the first book, but feel like I need to see how things develop to firm up my thoughts about that. I did have a great conversation on Twitter about this with Peat, from Peat Long’s Blog and, in a rare display of a debate on the internet actually changing someone’s mind, I did actually change my mind from being quite dismissive about the grimdarkness of Elric of Melniboné, to being very open to the notion. Still, more reading is needed in this series. And plus, I need to get through some of the shorter books on my Wyrd & Wonder list to actually feel like I’m making some progress – reading 1200 page tomes isn’t giving me the sense of forward momentum I need this close to May.
Anyway, that’s today’s update folks. Let me know in the comments what you’re reading at the mo. And if you enjoyed this update why not follow the blog for more reviews and bookish chat.