215

Join Me

Danny Wallace

Danny Wallace co-wrote the very funny book Are You Dave Gorman?.
This particular book tells the story of how he ends up starting a cult.
This is a seriously funny book, and I couldn’t stop reading it (literally, I was up till 3.30am finishing it).
I advise you to read it.
Also you can visit the Join Me website here. It’s worth it.
I’m not joining. I’m not one for joining things.

214

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

J.K. Rowling

The latest and longest of the Harry Potter books was released this Saturday to enormous global hype.
In this latest book, Harry has definitely become a teenager. He’s moody, he’s angry, he feels left out and the world seems against him.
There’s really no point in going into the plot, but I will say that I enjoyed the book. I feel that some subplots were introduced just to give a couple of characters an appearance in the book. I enjoyed reading the subplots but if they had been edited out you wouldn’t have missed them.
As for the much trumpeted killing off a main character, well I guessed who was going to be killed off well before the book came out. It was the obvious choice.
It’s unlikely that my recommendation would make any difference to whether you’re going to read this book or not, but I do recommend it. The Harry Potter series is a lot of fun and takes little effort to read (I’ve read each of them in a very short time – the first two in the space of a day and less than a day each for the others). Not by any stretch of the imagination the greatest children’s books ever written, but definitely worth the time it takes to read them.

213

Witch Week

Diana Wynne Jones

This is my favourite of the Chrestomanci novels.
The story begins when a teacher finds a note saying ‘Someone in this class is a witch’.
Set in a boarding school in an alternate version of England where magic is illegal but magical ability is commonplace. The story is mainly told from the perspective of a couple of the school’s misfits, Nan Pilgrim and Charles Morgan.
When I first read this in the dim and distant past I really identified with Charles. What that says about me, I don’t know.
I’m not going to spoil the plot of the book, but fair to say it involves the discovery of magical ability, bullying, official stupidity and Chrestomanci turns up.
I unreservedly recommend this book, hell I recommend everything Diana Wynne Jones has ever written.

teenager?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

J.K. Rowling

The latest and longest of the Harry Potter books was released this Saturday to enormous global hype.
In this latest book, Harry has definitely become a teenager. He’s moody, he’s angry, he feels left out and the world seems against him.
There’s really no point in going into the plot, but I will say that I enjoyed the book. I feel that some subplots were introduced just to give a couple of characters an appearance in the book. I enjoyed reading the subplots but if they had been edited out you wouldn’t have missed them.
As for the much trumpeted killing off a main character, well I guessed who was going to be killed off well before the book came out. It was the obvious choice.
It’s unlikely that my recommendation would make any difference to whether you’re going to read this book or not, but I do recommend it. The Harry Potter series is a lot of fun and takes little effort to read (I’ve read each of them in a very short time – the first two in the space of a day and less than a day each for the others). Not by any stretch of the imagination the greatest children’s books ever written, but definitely worth the time it takes to read them.

212

The Tamuli

David Eddings

Consisting of:
Domes of Fire
The Shining Ones
The Hidden City
This is the second of Edding’s Sparhawk trilogies.
Everything that I said about the Elenium holds true. The only differences are who the bad guys are and where everything happens.
I just ended up reading these. There was no real thought involved. Hopefully that’s sated my taste for generic fantasy novels for a while.

210

Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About

Mil Millington

Many of you will be asking yourself if Mil Millington is the same guy as Reader Millington aka Mills. Well, of course you’re right. One of the mightiest beings to walk the earth has written based on his hellishly funny web page found here. Which of course is based on his real life.
The novel is the story of Pel Dalton who works in IT support for the library of an English Poly/Uni and goes home to his insane German girlfriend and their two kids.
The plot, such as it is, is completely barking mad with Triads, Laser Quest and “swinger” librarians turning up at various points.
My advice would be to just read for the laughs and let the plot pass you by.
Very funny (not as funny as the webpage, natch) and definitely worth a read. Besides, he’s a mighty being, how could you not want to read his book?

209

The Wee Free Men

Terry Pratchett

The latest Discworld book. It’s supposed to be a Young Adult book.
It’s the story of Tiffany, who’s good at making cheese, is the sort of person who always carries a bit of string and is prepared to use a child as monster bait. OK, she’s destined to be a witch.
When her annoying (wanna sweetie!) little brother Wentworth goes missing she takes her frying pan and resolves to retrieve him from the the Queen of the Elves with the aid of the ‘Wee Free Men’ of the title. The Wee Free Men are kind of daft – they’re a caricature of the drunken, thieving Scot – down to the kilts and the bizarre psuedo-Scots dialogue. I’m Scottish so I’m hypersensitive to these things but on the whole they’re funny and they come out of the story well.

It’s the best book that Pratchett has written in a while. Superb writing, funny and involving. It had me in awe at times.
It’s not very Discworldy in setting, and only the appearance of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg near the end places it in the Discworld. Even though he’s tackled the story of Discworld Witches and the Elves before, this is a fresh take and one with even more insight than in Lords and Ladies

Without hesitation I recommend you go out and buy this book and put time aside to sit and read it. Regardless of the type of book you like to read, this is a masterpiece.

208

The Elenium

David Eddings

This is a fantasy trilogy consisting of the following books:
The Diamond Throne
The Ruby Knight
The Sapphire Rose
This is the story of a church knight called Sparhawk and the adventures he goes on to save the life of his queen and prevent his continent from falling in the hands of the debased God, Azash.
Eddings writes fantasy books to a pretty cynical formula, designed to attract as many fantasy readers as possible. I get the distinct impression that he writes for the money.
Saying that I still enjoy the books, they’re a diverting and speedy read. They’re no more than fluff but for reading on the train, they’re just about perfect.
If you’ve just finished reading some of his earlier books, I’d recommend you hold fire for a while, ’cause the formula will slap you in the face. If you’re coming to them fresh and you like fantasy fiction then I’d say they’re worth reading.
I much prefer the Sparhawk stories to the Garion stories, ’cause Sparhawk isn’t quite as annoying as Garion and the stories are a little more adult.
Having said that I’m trying not to read the follow up trilogy – The Tamuli any time soon!

207

Johnny And The Bomb

Terry Pratchett

Johnny Maxwell – one of Pratchett’s very best characters in a story that takes place in both 1996 and 1941.
The story pivots about Mrs Tachyon and her shopping trolley filled with black bags as Johnny tries to save the lives of the people living in Paradise Street from being killed in a bombing raid in 1941.
It’s meant to be a ‘Young Adult’ book. I dunno, it just seems like a very good book to me. I can’t recommend the Johnny Maxwell books enough. It’s Pratchett at his best, set in a world that’s recognisably ours, proving that he doesn’t need to use the fantasy genre to write great fiction.
I can’t see how anyone couldn’t enjoy this book.