Anne Of Green Gables
This much loved novel tells the story of the irrepressible orphan Anne Shirley who is adopted by sober elderly siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert in late Victorian Prince Edward Island in Canada.
It's an enjoyable read and it's hard to not love the three lead characters for their various strengths and faults.
I basically only read this because various Lizzie Bennet Diaries fans really love it.
You can find yourself a copy at the Gutenberg archive - it's well worth a read if you like a good bildungsroman.
The 31st Discworld book is the story of Polly who goes to war disguised as a boy in order to find her brother.
It's a rare one-off story in the Discworld series even though it does feature Sam Vimes, William de Worde and a few other characters from earlier books.
Some people love this book and think it's one of Pratchett's very best. I personally think it isn't quite that good - but it's still a great read.
I read it back when it came out but apparently I didn't get around to putting it up on the blog - entries were much more intermittent prior to 2005.
If I remember correctly I thought it was OK but not great. I enjoyed it more and I definitely appreciated the overt feminist themes better this time around.
Monstrous Regiment works as an introduction to Discworld but it wouldn't be my first choice as the book to begin with.
You do know you should be reading Pratchett right?
All My Friends Are Superheroes
This novella is mildly funny look at love and relationships.
On Tom's wedding day his new superhero wife The Perfectionist is rendered unable to see her new husband by her arch-enemy Hypno.
Tom spends the rest of the story attempting to become visible to her again.
Every one of the superheroes powers is an amplified personal quirk which the author seems to think is funny and clever but it came across as a bit heavy handed to me.
It's a very quick read and worth checking out of the library like I did.
This is Brookmyre's first foray into straight up science fiction.
The plot is pretty straightforward - the protagonist finds himself trapped in an FPS and tries to find a way out.
The story jumps back and forward between his adventures in the virtual world and his life outside the game.
It's kind of like Tron crossed with Greg Egan's Permutation City with a ton of computer game nostalgia mixed in.
He's touched upon gaming culture in earlier books but it really saturates this one.
Bedlam is fast paced, funny, with lots of action and I really enjoyed it but it's not top rank Brookmyre.
I would love to see him do more with Science Fiction in the future - perhaps in a less contemporary context next time.
The Sirens of Titan
This is a Science Fiction classic first released way back in 1959. It's a totally different animal than the Heinlein book of a similar vintage I read recently. Certainly it's sexual politics are a bit less dodgy however there is one discordant aside about homosexuality that did stand out.
It's a darker, angrier piece with much more in common with the satirical masterpiece The Space Merchants and later works like Silverberg's Dying Inside.
Although a satire, and occasionally funny, the book seethes with a palpable sense of disgust for the author's contemporary culture and really offers no hope for the future.
I've read it before but it was well before I started keeping this blog.
It really is a great bit of work but it left me feeling really very down after reading it. I recommend it to any lover of literary Science Fiction but be warned it is not an uplifting tale.
The City of Ember
This is a quirky YA science fiction novel that was turned into a film a few years back.
While I quite liked the film general opinion online was that the book was much better.
To be honest, while different in ways, the book is pretty much the same thing.
The thing I liked most about the book was the world building. The general air of everyone muddling along and not really knowing how anything works in a city that's falling apart and running out of resources really worked.
It's worth reading I just didn't feel it was at all exceptional.
Heinlein's 1956 Hugo Award winner is a Prince and the Pauper style tale set in a future where humans have colonized the Solar System alongside native Martians and Venusians.
The Great Lorenzo is a down-at-heel actor who is shanghaied into a role of a lifetime - impersonating a prominent politician in order to prevent chaos on Mars.
The lead character is pure Heinlein - the confident competent man. In this particular case he's only competent at acting and an idiot about everything else.
There are some rather dodgy sexual and racial politics that stand out in modern context but generally it's much less objectionable than some of his later works.
The political intrigues and engaging storytelling pull you in but it is a very dated book. Well worth a read if you want to get to know the history of Science Fiction or are just looking for a quick and involving read.
I read this because I really enjoyed Fangirl which is one of the best YA books I've read in ages.
This in contrast is a pretty mainstream romance novel.
It's set in 1999 and it's partly told through email exchanges. The conceit being that the protagonist works in the IT department of a newspaper with a strict email filter that he monitors for violations of policy.
Reading the emails between an editor and the film critic he falls for one of the two friends.
There's something very creepy about the premise and it makes it hard to really believe the pretty straightforward way that things resolve.
Otherwise this is a very charming read. It's nowhere near as good as Fangirl but certainly worth reading if you like a fluffy romance.
Blossom: What Scotland Needs To Flourish
I've been over preoccupied with the independence referendum of late. I've always taken a keen interest but it's taken an obsessive edge in the last couple of weeks.
I decided that I was getting trapped in the same old self-referencing group of commentators online (because the mainstream press is beyond hopeless and not a source that any rational adult would use in this debate) and that I needed to expose myself to a different point of view.
Riddoch uses history, personal anecdote and old-fashioned journalism to expose what she sees as the underlying problems facing Scotland.
It's a surprisingly enjoyable read given it's nature and I certainly found it enlightening - especially when she talks about the consequences of our feudal past.
I personally think she underplays the potential problems with some of the solutions she favours and oversells the benefits of social activity in the countryside but it is hard to resist a vision of a much less centralised Scotland with empowered local communities and with land ownership moved out of the hands of the very few.
If you think that there's nothing much wrong with our country as it stands then I suspect that this book will only infuriate you. If, like myself, you despair at the feeling of powerlessness at the heart of contemporary politics then there's lots of food for thought to be found here.
The Cinderella Pact
A solid romance novel where a frumpy magazine sub-editor creates an alias who becomes a overnight sensation as an advice columnist.
I bought this as a cheap paperback because I enjoyed the TV movie based on it. It turns out this was mostly because I really like Poppy Montgomery as a redhead.
It was a quick and easy read and certainly recommended if you're looking for an enjoyable piece of fluff.