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charlie, computer cat

September 2017

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Thanks to everyone who made it to the party on Saturday - I had an absolutely fabulous time! Although having Guitar Hero on meant I didn't circulate as much as perhaps I should it also made for the sort of thing where I feel comfortable and relaxed. I've never been good at circulating - I'm not that good at conversations in noisy places for a start and I tend to be quite quiet at parties. I'd noticed at coalescent and snowkings parties that having the console on was something that worked really well for me. I hope I didn't end up annoying anyone though - I know that I didn't end up chatting to some of you much.

I seem to have been on a reading binge for no apparent reason in the past few weeks. I've managed to read through

The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb. This is book 2 in a trilogy and a fat one at that but I enjoyed it a lot. It was a long time since I'd read book 1, which gave it the added challenge of deducing some of the things I had forgotten from the plot of that which probably worked in my favour. Not particularly complex or surprising but enjoyably written, with good characters.

Lady Friday by Garth Nix. The Keys to the Kingdom books are not a patch on the Abhorsen series, but still plenty readable for all that. I enjoyed this rather more than some of the earlier books as the main character has mostly stopped whining and started getting on with things.

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. I think Alex and I picked this up when we were spending our Christmas book token because it looked like fun and the author bio made us laugh out loud (he talks about working with kids in order to gain a small army of tiny minions). The book is very enjoyable - good balance of wit and action and so on, although I found it very hard to believe that Stephanie was 12. I have a vague feeling that it left some niggles about plot in the back of my mind but I can't remmber what they were so they can't have distracted that much. Unsurprisingly, set up for a sequel which should come out later this year.

The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas. I'm pretty sure that this was borrowed from coalescent, probably at New Year. Alex had already read it and recommended it too so as I was in the mood, I thought I'd go for it. I can definitely see why people recommended it to me - it's main ideas are about how the philosophy of language and metaphor interact with the complex physics that make up the universe, something that fascinates me. I ended up finding that reading the book itself started to exert a similar influence over me as the troposphere did over Ariel - I surfaced about three quarters of the way through to discover that it was dark and I was hungry and had to think very sternly at myself to put down the book, get up and make some food. I wasn't entirely convinced by some of the hand-waving over paradoxes but overall, it was incredibly engaging. One of those books you ended up finishing and then feeling vaguely odd and wandering around poking at things while you process it.

Dissolution by C J Sansom. Murders in monastary at time of the dissolution in England. Name of the Rose comparisons are basically inevitable but probably unfair (also, I haven't actually read NotR so must tread carefully). I liked this not so much for the mystery, but for the contrast between Shardlake, the detective Commissioner investigating the murders, who is an ardent reformer and the monks, who all get to make their own statements in defending their way of life to give a more balanced view than I was expecting.

Actually, I dare swear I'm missing something here (probably a re-read) but that must be the biggest crop of new (to me) books I've read in a long time. What with that and becoming addicted to Stadium Arcadium now I've listened to it through I'm actually feeling quite... I don't know the word, but like I'm actually engaging with things again rather than just staying my comfort zone

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