Saturday, February 2, 2013

Books, January

Trying to remember what I read in 2012 I realised it might be helpful if I kept a list. This years target is 100 books. I read 8 in January, which is slightly below target.

If the dead rise not & Field Grey - Philip Kerr

Two more from Kerr's Bernie Gunter detective/spy series about a mid 20th century Berlin detective who seems incapable of avoiding history's dark bits. The continuity can be a bit discontinuous, but it's a gripping series.

Gun Machine - Warren Ellis

I was hoping for something as gonzoid as Crooked Little Vein but he mostly plays it straight in this Thomas Harris-esque hunt for a serial killer in a very near future New York. So much so that when he does chuck in an Ellisian flourish the effect is jarring rather than exciting.

Dracula Cha Cha Cha - Kim Newman

Latest piece of the alternate history with Vampires series. This one genuinely quite sad, and I got the feeling I hadn't watched enough Euro horror to pick up on the references (although there are footnotes)

London Under - Peter Ackroyd

Short and poetic extension of Ackroyd's London work to cover vaults, sewers and the Tube. Left me wondering if I use the same line to commute to work as Peter Kropotkin.

House of Rumour - Jake Arnott

Arnott squishes together Scientology, the OTO, Jack Parsons, Ian Fleming, Rudolf Hess, The Blitz club and west coast sci fi. And the CIA. And Jim Jones. Could have been a lot bigger, and lost coherence towards the end as it tried to bring all the strands to some sort of conclusion, but a fantastic weave through hidden worlds. Oh and Borges gets in there.

And Pynchon.

Instant: A Cultural History of Polaroid - Christopher Bonanos

From polarised headlights to Lady Gaga. The tragedy of Edwin Land. Not a Polaroid gear porn book, and all the better for it. Sadly does not address the "42% brighter" claim.

Absurdistan - Gary Shteyngart

Shteygart's big Russian novel. Funnier and wiser than Super Sad True Love Story. 

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