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October 2011

Kindling my Reading

I was very lucky for my 40th (more about this to follow) and was given a Kindle by my parents, and some lovely skins and covers by my sister, not to mention lots of Amazon vouchers by a wide variety of people. Whilst I still have a fetish for paper, it’s a great device to read on and reading on is what I have been doing. Here are nutshell reviews of the first five books that I’ve read:

The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Mohsin Hamid)
I heard parts of this and the interesting discussion on it on Radio 4's Book Club and it seemed intriguing. It's effectively a monologue, as you only have the words of the protagonist. It isn't necessarily the most realistic tale, but it sucks you in. Effectively, it's the tale of a Pakistani man who starts by embracing the American dream, but then is slowly repelled by it post 9/11. Well written and a page turner as the protagonist's life and background are unfolded during a meal and a walk with an American stranger.

The Coming Convergence (Stanley Schmidt)
Non-fiction looking how interaction between different rivers of technological development leads to huge changes. Part of background reading for

Rule 34 (Charles Stross)
Stross' latest near future police tale (effectively revisiting the same vibe as the earlier
Halting State) set in Edinburgh with a murder investigation. Good stuff - I'll say no more lest I ruin it. You can google 'rule 34' to get a hint at what underpins the plot. Or you can read the first three chapters on Stross' blog.

Zero History (Wiliiam Gibson)
Gibson wraps up the ideas he's played with in
Pattern Recognition and Spook Country in another really strong near future thriller. Great stuff as you can savour every word. It has forced me start to re-read Pattern Recognition as it's too long since I last read it.

Hull Zero Three (Greg Bear)
A tale set in deep space onboard a slower-than-light starship. The protagonist wakes to a world of cold and horror with limited memories. His journey is significant to the future of the ships as he rediscovers who and what the mission was and what has effected it. Very good stuff.