Terry Pratchett: Dodger

My Christmas treat to myself was to allow myself to read two Pratchett books in a row. And a treat it was! I don’t think I’m alone in feeling extremely comfortable and at home in Pterri’s head – he feels like a favourite uncle whom I haven’t quite managed to meet, and almost everything he writes makes me breathe: “yes, of course, that’s right, that’s how it is”.

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Chapter XV: Captain Flint again

If there is one thing I really really don’t like, it is being Falsely Accused. Especially the kind where you can’t say anything in your defence and nobody will listen and they will never know that you are nice really because they won’t let you tell them and there’s nothing you can do and it’s all so unfair. The end of this chapter makes my insides all cold and explodey.

But there’s lots of lovely stuff first.

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We’re not there yet

2016 is over at last, and I know that a lot of people are very pleased to see the back of it. We have seen a chain of celebrity deaths which, while statistically no more numerous than in recent years, has felt particularly cruel in terms of the individuals involved and the values they represent. Millions of people have died as a result of war or natural disaster, and terrorist attacks have spread across Europe. Meanwhile, the ‘jungle’ camp in Calais was disbanded, leaving thousands of refugees even more vulnerable than before; Britain voted to leave the European Community; and Donald Trump was elected president of the USA.

It feels as if things are falling apart, and a lot of people feel justifiably scared of the consquences for themselves, as well as horrified by the atrocities which have already occurred. In many ways, this is an appropriate response. We should be frightened, angry, outraged. But… perhaps we shouldn’t be quite so surprised. Continue reading “We’re not there yet”

Chapter XIV: Galumphing

“The Swallows were back in real life…”

Enough of this escapist charcoal burning. Serious stuff is afoot, and it’s time to get real. Actually, this bit is hyper real: there’s an acknowledgement that this isn’t, in fact, virgin territory if the Amazons got there first. Next, we’ll work on how it wasn’t empty anyway if the natives / savages / tribal charcoal burning witches were there…

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Kate Griffin: Stray Souls

stray-souls‘Stray Souls’ is urban fantasy with a sprinkling of light social satire. I haven’t read anything else by Kate Griffin, but I understand this to be a spin-off from the Matthew Swift books, and he makes a couple of cameo appearances. I have read “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August”, which is written by the same author under a different name (Claire North), and which is excellent and highly recommended. Continue reading “Kate Griffin: Stray Souls”

Spirit of Strictly

The glitter has settled, the tears have dried, and I’m ready to make a public statement about my shameless love of reality TV. ore-and-joanne

If this post had been written a few weeks ago, it would probably have centred on the joy that comes with bringing together a group of ordinary people to take their ordinary skills and hobbies to extraordinary new levels. As it is, I am going to focus instead on all the things that make ‘Strictly’ the unique and wonderful thing that it is.

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Shira Glassman: The Olive Conspiracy

This is the fourth in a series of books about Queen Shulamit of Perach, which began with The Second Mango. olive

Shulamit is a young queen, an orphan, a bookworm, a problem solver and an activist, who takes her responsibilities extremely seriously.

In ‘The Olive Conspiracy’, she grapples with an agricultural plague which appears to be part of a deliberate sabotage, navigating complex international relations and memories of her own awkward adolescence on the way.

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Neal Stephenson: The Diamond Age

I Just Can’t with politics today. I don’t know how to do this. Let’s think about something else.

diamond-ageSo – The Diamond Age is a very clever book. It works on several levels, and I suspect that other people would review it in a completely different way. I know a couple of people who name it as their favourite; I wouldn’t go that far at the moment, but it’s definitely in that league. (I will do my very best to avoid spoilers in this review, so all but the most spoiler-shy may click the link without fear!)
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