The Holy Kindle



It’s always surprised me just how much I love my Kindle. I have what I think is described as ‘issues’ when it comes to collecting print books — as in, I can’t stop — and I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy reading on the Kindle. The thing is, though, I’ve come to see it not as a replacement for print books but rather just another medium for getting a story — like audiobooks, I suppose — and I’ll take a good story wherever I can find it.

My favourite thing about the Kindle is the level of privacy or secrecy in what you’re reading. That’s not so much because I give a toss if anyone judges me — I constantly judge people based on their reading habits, so I’m fine with being judged in return — but more because I’m quite (very) anti-social, especially on public transport, and I absolutely don’t want to give anyone an ‘in’ to talk to me.

I mean, I’m not quite sure what part of them thinks that’s okay anyway — OH HI! You don’t know me, but I just wanted to acknowledge the fact you’re currently reading a book I, myself, read thirteen years ago — actually preventing you reading it by talking to you about the contents of The Book I Won’t Let You Read for the duration of this journey and spoiling all the good bits. That guy dies in four pages. Dysentery. Continue reading


A Sudden Light – Garth Stein


It’s easy to say you’ll write a review, isn’t it? It’s easy to say it and be sent an advanced review copy of a book then actually read that book. But getting off your backside—a backside whose vastness is exacerbated by a frankly obscene diet of peppermint creams and Maoam Pinballs—and writing the review is quite another matter.

Especially when you have lots of very important things to do.

Especially when you are lazy-so-very-lazy.

But I promised a review, so a review I shall write…

It’s hard not to be excited at the prospect of a new novel by someone whose previous books have titles like The Art of Racing in the Rain and Raven Stole the Moon. Especially when the new novel is a supernatural coming-of-age story and, therefore, bang up my street.

It’s also hard not to be excited by a book with this cover:

A Sudden Light Cover

So, Garth Stein’s A Sudden Light was, all things considered, right excitin’. Continue reading

Procrastinatin’ with Dolly Parton


After I read ‘The City’ at the start of the month, I dutifully popped over to Goodreads, clicked into my ‘Currently Reading’ shelf—ignored the Stephen Donaldson book I’ve been half-reading since November—and marked Stella Gemmell’s solid debut novel as ‘Read’. While I was there, I thought I’d check the progress on my Reading Challenge for 2014. I’d set myself the relatively low target of thirty books for the year. So far I had read one.


In six months.

I know some authors who have written more books in that time.

Continue reading

The City — Stella Gemmell


Gemmell,Stella_TheCityStella Gemmell’s The City is a strange book. It’s difficult to say why it’s strange without going into spoiler territory, but suffice to say that it is strange but the strangeness is a good thing — you never quite understand exactly what the book’s about until you get to the end, and that’s what keeps you reading.

On the face of it, the plot is simple enough. There’s an ancient city — only ever referred to as ‘The City’, even in dialogue — that has been at war with its many enemies, collectively known as ‘The Blues’, for years. The City has started to fall into ruin and its enemies have devised a plot to take down the emperor, Araeon ‘The Immortal’.

The plot involves a huge cast of characters, with suitably Heroic Fantasy genre names like Bartellus, Fell Aron Lee, Marcellus Vincerus, Indaro, and Archange. Some characters even take second names, just in case the existing cast wasn’t comprehensive enough for you, and some even take second, and third, bodies (dum dum dummmmmm). Continue reading

On learning something / #yesallwomen


If you’ve been on the internet at all recently you’ll know two things; you’ll know what happened on Game of Thrones (whether you wanted to or not), and you’ll be aware of a certain hashtag dominating Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and magazines.

Enough people have put down their thoughts about #Yesallwomen that I really didn’t think it was worth throwing my voice into the mix, but as I scrolled and scrolled (and scrolled and scr—) through a staggeringly long list of experiences I would never wish upon anyone, it occurred to me how little I really know about what women go through all the time.

Just all the fucking time.

Continue reading

I did more than just get hideously fat this Easter


Not being a religious fellow, the only impact that Easter usually has on my life is that I eat more chocolate than normal. I’m already something of a liability when it comes to moderating my sweets-and-chocolate intake, but put chocolate eggs in front of me and I’ll go all hummingbird on you — eating up to three times my own weight in Cadbury every single day. Unlike hummingbirds, however, I am neither delightful nor possessed of a metabolism capable of handling that sort of food consumption.

Easter is something of a lardy, bloated period of any given year for me, and it usually concludes with me looking like a melting walrus.
Continue reading

Shooting my mouth off


My habit of saying really inappropriate or moronic things is about as old as my ability to talk. I have what I suspect is an insecurity-fuelled need to be funny in any given social situation, and I also tend to believe that no subject should be off-limits. Not everyone shares that belief, though, and I’m not always great at judging people’s sensibilities. I’ve made more than my share of jokes that have offended or annoyed people, or — worse — have just not been laughed at. I also have a brain that is an absolute bastard and will not let me forget a single misjudged joke or embarrassing comment. Continue reading