The Magicians of Caprona

Diana Wynne Jones

I finished re-reading this classic kid’s book for the umpteenth time last night.
Now having admitted that and losing what little veneer of cool I might have had I’m going to do one of my mini-reviews.
This is the story of Tonino Montana, a young boy living on an alternate Earth where magic is real and the Italy he lives in is still divided into city states. In Caprona, there are two families that surpass all others in the creation of spells, the Montanas and the Petrocchis. They hate each other due to some ancient half remembered grudge. Unfortunately they’re fighting each other when Caprona is at it’s weakest, under attack, with an evil enchanter undermining from within and other city states ready to attack from outside. Chrestomanci (yes, it’s a Chrestomanci book, though he barely appears in this one) urges both families to find the real words to the Angel of Caprona, a powerful spell donated to the city by heaven, in order to save the city. Tonino is slow to learn spells, and has always got his head stuck in a book, yet he’s the one who proves vital to the salvation of Caprona.
I love this book – it’s a great children’s fantasy. It blows Harry Potter out of the water. I urge to investigate anything written by Diana Wynne Jones, she’s a very inventive and consistently good author, whether for children or for adults.



Chuck Palahniuk

I finished reading this book this morning and I’ve decided to put a little review of it up here

Carl Streator is a journalist working on a series of features on cot death. Helen Hoover Boyle is a realtor selling haunted houses again and again. A discovery Carl makes while shadowing paramedics at infant mortality cases joins the pair together in a quest to remove page 27 from every copy of a book called ‘Poems and Rhymes From Around the World’.

I usually enjoy Palahniuk’s work and this was no exception, but as with his last novel Choke, this is a slight read compared with the intensity of Fight Club and Survivor.
The plot devices were interesting, I really liked the idea of the culling song, but ultimately none of the characters were memorable or sympathetic. They were all too numb to horror or too full of self importance for any of their actions to matter to them, never mind the reader.
This could have been a powerful and disturbing read, but instead ended up being merely diverting.
I would say it’s worth reading, but it’s no masterpiece.


A New Year

A new obsession

I’ve been slowly buying and reading the Sandman graphic novels by Neil Gaiman over the last few months, growing more impressed with every new book. I’m now at the stage where I’m going to have to buy the whole lot. What a bummer.

Also reading Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk.


To Read Again

Persistent re-reader

I’ve read a few books in the past few weeks, but they’ve been re-reads.
Frank Herbert – Dune classic Science Fiction
Terry Pratchett – The Truth & Thief of Time his most recent Discworlds
William Gibson – Mona Lisa Overdrive the final book in the Neuromancer ‘trilogy’

I downloaded the ebook of the prologue to the new Robert Jordan book but, since I’ve not
finished the last one, I’ve not read it.


Swing Of Things

Back after imposed absence

I’ve actually managed to finish a couple of books in the past couple of weeks

Tim Powers – Anubis Gates Which started very well and then fell to pieces towards the end.
A shame really.
Dave Gorman and Danny Wallace – Are You Dave Gorman? This book is hilarious. I recommend it. No, really.
Neil Gaiman – Coraline A kid’s book, supposedly. Brilliant, creepy and recommended. God I’m being positive today!

I also have these books on loan from the library:

Neil Gaiman – Smoke and Mirrors Short stories.
Rick Moody – Demonology Short stories!
Alan Warner – The Man Who Walks A novel by the guy who wrote The Sopranos.
No, not the TV Sopranos, it’s a great book about a girls choir. Much better than that makes it sound.



Or a huge a case of procrastination

I’ve not updated this in four months and I started out with such good intentions too. Mind you every diary I’ve ever kept has ended up like this, so no surprises.
I’ve actually managed to read more books in the last four months than in a long time, after I came to the conclusion that I have to read to remain sane (in my fashion).
So, what am I reading at the minute?
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
I’m attempting to do a reread of the entire Wheel of Time series in an attempt to drum up enthusiasm for the tenth book, which is due out in November. I used to love this series but the last two or three books have been pretty bad. I’m just kind of waiting for him to get to the bloody point and finish the series off. Mind you even if he keeps his promise to wrap up the series in another three books at the rate he writes it won’t be finished until 2008. Considering I started reading the series over a decade ago it’s a long time to wait to find how things turn out.

I’m going to try and get back into the swing of writing this again, but no promises…



Crossing the Finish Line

I finished reading High Fidelity by Nick Hornby on Friday. I really enjoyed it. If you read my Music Log you’ll know just how much of a sad obsessive I am about music, just like the lead character in this book.

I’m actively reading Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman and The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen.

I bought some books from Ottakars, Kirkcaldy on Friday too.

The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman
The Shipping News by Annie E Proulx
The Drawing Of The Three by Stephen King
Gardens Of The Moon by Stephen Erikson

God, I’ve got a lot of books that need read!



or, Library Sale

So, I went to the library sale on Saturday morning.
I only managed to get the eight books.

A Tupolev Too Far – Brian Aldiss
Ring – Stephen Baxter
Out Of Sight – Elmore Leonard
The Stone Canal – Ken McLeod
Fevre Dream – George RR Martin
Memory Seed – Stephen Palmer
Lunar Descent – Allen Steele
The Wild – David Zindell

God knows when I’m going to read them all, but at 50p for a hardback and 30p for a paperback, it was just too good a deal to pass up.


Has it been that long?


It appears it’s been ten days since I last updated this thing, where does the time go eh?
Anyway, since I’ve been so lax of late, I thought I’d do an update this time.
Since the last entry I’ve bought four books and borrowed another four.
I’ve bought
Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
Dream Brother by David Browne
R.E.M. – The Rolling Stone Files by The Editors of Rolling Stone

I’ve borrowed
The Corrections by Johnathan Franzen
Hothouse by Brian Aldiss
King of the City by Michael Moorcock
Deepsix by Jack McDevitt

I’ve currently got five books on the go.
The Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub, which is a sequel of sorts to The Talisman
American Gods by Neil Gaiman, which I’m doing a slow re-read of.
Songs of Earth and Power by Greg Bear An interesting two book fantasy series
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman Supposedly a juvenile fantasy novel. First part of a trilogy, the final part of which has just won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award.
R.E.M. – The Rolling Stone Files by The Editors of Rolling Stone Has articles and reviews on R.E.M. that appeared in Rolling Stone from the start of their career up to the release of the Monster album.

I finished
The Gunslinger by Stephen King Part one of the Dark Tower series, a fantasy that ties in with The Black House to some degree



or, it’s getting light in the mornings again

I finished Neverwhere.

I’m reading Songs of Earth and Power by Greg Bear.
Which is an omnibus collection of his two fantasy books The Infinity Concerto and The Serpent Mage. I first read these when I was still at school (Praise be to Sinclairtown Library). I only read them because I had really enjoyed Blood Music by Bear and I decided to work my way through all of his books I could find in the Library. I think that Bear wrote some powerful Science Fiction when he was starting out, especially Blood Music, and that his later work has been terribly inconsistent. Songs of Earth and Power comes from his early burst of creativity and is an intriguing fantasy.