Monday, 12 January 2009

Nation by Terry Pratchett

I had put off reading this because I don't tend to like reading children's books but this one had plenty of depth and would be equally enjoyed by adults. The idea is unusual and the action exciting, plus there are the usual Pratchett throwaway humorous lines. It's a satire as well and he makes a good case for his point of view. Very enjoyable.

Next, still basking in reflected glory, I decided to read Alison Baverstock's Marketing your Book: an Author's Guide. This is in an easy-to-read style and the author has lots of experience of her subject. It's interesting that your book can still fail even after you find a publisher - apparently appropriate marketing is essential.

A Radio Commemoration of Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1950) is a short work published 59 years ago, but still full of insights into the life and writing of R L Stevenson. Reading this has made me want to read Kidnapped again (I read Treasure Island again fairly recently). Terry Pratchett's Nation, incidentally, has some echoes of Treasure Island (as well as of Coral Island).

I had also been reluctant to read The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. Regular readers will know how much I like John Connolly, but because this book is about a boy and has a "childish" cover, I wrongly assumed it was a children's book. I started to read it anyway and was soon hooked. It wasn't until I was at the end that I read that the author explicitly states that it is not a children's book, which was a relief because it is a very scary book indeed and I am sure it would give any sensitive child nightmares! The theme of loss is very strong too. Here is a link to a website all about the book.

Perfect Match by Jodie Picoult is another work of fiction which the author bases on a controversial current issue. How far would you go to protect your child and how far would it be acceptable for you to go? You may not agree with the main character's decision (and I didn't) but I still felt for her.

Finally I had an enjoyable time reading The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith. This is part of the Scotland Street series, originally published in daily serial form in the Scotsman newspaper, and set in contemporary Edinburgh. McCall Smith's humanity always shines through in his books, as you will know if you have read the Ladies' Detective Agency series. Here there are just as many sympathetic characters, but also the monstrous (in their different ways) Irene and Bruce. You want Bruce in particular to come a cropper, but unfortunately he is more likely to continue on his self-satisfied way ...

Day 96; Book 95