Thursday, December 27, 2012

Reading matter

Several parcels arrived in the mail today; a big box of herbal tea from the US, the DVDs of the second series of Fist Of Fun, and a very aged book, Resume With Monsters, written by William Browning Spencer. It was rescued from a charity shop by way of Amazon's secondhand marketplace, and although printed in 1995 looks slightly older than the Necronomicon.

I don't remember now quite how I discovered this (it may have been via Charles Stross' website) but the first couple of pages are hilarious: it's the story of a man working for an awful corporation that also happens to be run by one of the Great Old Ones.
He walked quickly down the hall and into the bathroom which, while cryptlike and dank, contained no hideous, disorienting graffiti from mad Alhazred's Necronomicon.
So it's a bit like an unglamourous version of Stross's Laundry series, set in a business park in the middle of nowhere. 1995 was a good year.

I do have the problem that this isn't the only book to read. As you can see, next to it is Dracula Cha Cha Cha, a Kim Newman reissue my wife gave me for Christmas, along with Johannes The Necromancer and Magnus Mills' Screwtop Thompson. Then there's the Bond omnibus from my sister, three more books from my birthday (Perec's Life: A User's Manual, Drew Magary's The Postmortal and Andy Mulligan's Ribblestrop), all of last year's Booker nominees, all of this year's Booker nominees, The Fractal Prince (brought back from Edinburgh, now languishing on the shelf) and probably several others besides.

Last year I resolved to read all the books we had before buying any more: it's going to be a slog to do this again, but I do at least have a transpacific flight coming up in January to help make a dent in all of them.

The Kim Newman is very good: I remember reading a version of it when it was originally released, but I'm enjoying it much more now. I think I'm noticing a lot more of the literary allusions (The Talented Mr Ripley completely passed me by the first time) and it no longer suffers in comparison to The Bloody Red Baron.

Then again, I hated Johnny Alucard when I read it (in a hotel in Tunisia when I refused to go outside) so what will happen when that's reissued I just don't know.

As well as reading, I've been busy today: I learned a bit more about how to use R to make good-looking graphs, I discovered that you can email photos to Blogger (like the one in the top of this post), I put my bike back together after it had been festering unloved in a bag since February, and all after I ran four miles around Singapore this morning. I'm quite looking forward to sleep now. After I've finished all those books, that is.


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