Monday, 20 July 2015


Look! A cake! Coconut oil instead of butter (there's a shortage, you know), in case you were wondering what made this one different.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Lumberjanes / East of West

Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke Allen, 2015
Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta, Frank Martin, 2015
(June 2015)

Slightly random paring this, created largely through the coincidence of release and delivery schedules. Can I force them together into some kind of awkward thematic union? You betcha. Let’s talk Americana.

Monday, 13 July 2015

The King's English

(July 2015)

A style guide, basically. And as with any reasonably well constructed style guide it contain equal parts sage regard for the essential mutability of language and random prescriptivism, particularly on the subject of pronunciation.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

The Yellow Birds

(July 2015)

Much vaunted, this, and not undeservedly so. I need more time to roll it around my head, so you’ll have to look elsewhere for the deep and meaningful analysis (on which note, I’m definitely not a fan of the increasingly prevalent gimmick of adding book club discussion notes to the back any lit-fic paperback that didn’t tank on initial release).

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The Goddess Chronicle

(July 2015)

As I write this it’s mere hours after the Nadeshiko have been rather freakishly drubbed in the World Cup final, so it’s fitting that we return once again to the subject of gender relations in Japan, and especially so that we do it in consideration of a book whose notionally feminist message I am decidedly ambivalent about.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The Violent Century

(June 2015)

Atmospheric. Metatextual. Short sentences. No quotation marks. Evocative of McCarthy. Evocative in general. Europe descends to war. People fight the Nazis. The Nazis fight back. Also Vietnam. Also superheroes.

Friday, 26 June 2015


(May 2015)

This was an interesting experience; reading through twenty year’s worth of a single title as essentially a single work. While I was peripherally aware of John Constantine he’s not exactly an A-list character. Spiderman, say, is well enough established in nerd culture that I could probably bluff my way through a conversation about him despite the fact I’ve never read one of the comics, but I (and I suspect most) couldn’t say the same here. The upshot of this is that there’s this massive, historically embedded run of storyline to which I’m coming more-or-less spoiler free.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Memory of Water

(June 2015)

I guess I’ve only got myself to blame for this one. I’ve a limited tolerance for dystopia anyway, so going for a third in the space of a couple of weeks was probably pushing it. But look, this one’s been racking up the award nominations in a fairly spectacular style, and Random Acts of Senseless Violence was excellent, so strike while the iron is hot, eh?

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The Tropic of Serpents

(June 2015)

A much needed change of pace, this: an engaging protagonist, a decent plot, and some but not too much in the way of tension and peril. It also benefited from being started during an entire afternoon free from parental, academic, or any other kind of responsibilities. I can't remember the last time I just sat down and read a book for three hours straight. Lovely.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Random Acts of Senseless Violence

(June 2015)

Holy fuck. I mean seriously: holy fuck. You know the cliché about stuff ‘making the hair on the back of your neck stand up’? Actually happened. Genuine shivers down the spine. Two-hundred-and-twenty pages of agonizingly honed build-up driven into the base of your skull through the knife-point of the final three paragraphs, with all the brutal precision of neurosurgeon wielding a prison shank.