March 2006 on the book images to look at the book...

God! Is it really the first SR I've done since September 2005, can that be true? ... It is? ... Ouch! You must've thought that I'd completely forgotten about you (I had). Well I do know that you'll have been reading some good stuff. Is there anything new that anybody would like to tell me about?

I wait at my leisure.

Simon's Reader Archive:

September, 2009
January, 2009
April, 2008
December, 2007
July & August, 2007
December, 2006
March, 2006
September, 2005
July, 2005
April, 2005
December, 2004
October, 2004
June, 2004
December, 2003
October, 2003
April & May, 2003
December, 2002 & January, 2003
September & October, 2002
July & August, 2002
May & June, 2002

Simon's Library >>


"System of the World"
by Neal Stephenson

"Broken Angels"
by Richard K. Morgan

"The Year of Our War"
by Steph Swainston

"Almost Blue (City Lights Italian Voices) "
by Carlo Lucarelli

"Beyond Black"
by Hilary Mantel

I've been writing a lot of songs so my reading rate has slowed somewhat. I finished Neal Stephenson's epic The Baroque Cycle. Following that. I went on to Richard Morgan's Broken Angels which is better than his debut, then Woken Furies - not quite as good, then Market Forces - a bit of a disappointment in comparison to his other work. By the way has anybody else noticed that Morgan always uses double spondees for his book titles?

Anyway, also read Steph Swainston's The Year of Our War which I thought was a great new take on the Fantasy novel. I love that fact that one minute I was reading about armies of swordsmen and archers fighting hordes of giant insects, to then have the main character refer to "nice tits on page three" in the newspaper he writes for. You also get find out what the word 'chitin' means. Bit of a silly ending.

Then there was Almost Blue...

I think I did a reading from The Nautical Chart by Arturo Perez- Reverte; it's a really classy bit of writing.

Ooh, I've just remembered what else...

The cover of the paperback which John was reading caught my eye. Every time he put it down I found myself glancing over to read a little bit more about it, trying to be discreet because in this band it doesn't do to be interested in what other people are reading, that would almost be an admission of some kind of failure. As though whatever you're into is bound to be more interesting, or at least that's the impression you're supposed to give.

The book had this print on the cover, of a woman dressed in what appeared to be 16th century court garb, doing the hoovering, and then I realised where I'd seen that style of depiction previously; it was like a Queen in a pack of playing cards.

This was enough to hook me and boy am I glad it that it did. I wonder if that's enough for you too.




UPDATE: So inspired by his recent Reader, Simon has added a new review for you to enjoy:

"Kafka on the Shore"
by Haruki Murakami

I have just finished reading the fabulous novel: Kafka on the Shore, which is the latest offering from one of my top ten contemporary authors, Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. It is a wonderful, imaginative, very free and sublimely challenging book. I do highly recommend it. Murakami writes sort of psychic/psychological, surreal fantasies, which are unique to him only. To try and explain what that means would be pointlessly unsuccessful. To quote one of his characters "you don't know what it's like until you've tried it, like flying."

The story follows two incomplete persons - fifteen year old Kafka Tamura, who carries the dark curse which his father laid upon his heart, and an elderly gentleman Mr. Nakata who cannot read or write, who introduces himself as being "not very clever", who can talk with cats, who has only half a shadow. The Oedipal theme is constant throughout and the book challenges the reader on the subject of incest, of sex between son and mother, and brother and sister. There are other surreal, very twisted characters, and a deliciously gory murder ...yum!

As well as being shocking, it's pacey and entertaining and written in a style so easy to read. And it's funny and sexy too; absurd things start to happen; like a sudden downpour of leeches from the sky, and people connecting sexually in dreams; it all leads towards the enigma which is central to the novel.

Murakami gets it right yet again.

Do you have a book recommendation for Simon? E-mail it to Ask Katy!