Happy Friday and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! I don’t know about you, but it has been a very snowy 24 hours here! I hope you’re keeping safe and warm if you’re in a similar situation!
Today I feature a novel written in collaboration between two authors. One author, I have read before extensively; the other I have merely sampled. However, I am excited to give this book and potential series a try.
Before we jump into the post in earnest, here is a recap of what Shelf Control is all about.
Shelf Control is a regular feature – a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a celebration of the unread books on our shelves! The idea is to pick a book you own but haven’t read and write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!
If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.
The Long Earth – Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
1916: the Western Front. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong and the wind in the leaves in the trees. Where have the mud, blood and blasted landscape of No Man’s Land gone?
2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Cop Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive – some said mad, others dangerous – scientist when she finds a curious gadget – a box containing some wiring, a three-way switch and a… potato. It is the prototype of an invention that will change the way Mankind views his world forever.
And that is an understatement if ever there was one…
I have read a book that Terry Pratchett has co-authored previously. That book was co-authoredwith Neil Gaiman, and unfortunately, that didn’t end up being a hit! I’d had a hit and miss experience with Neil Gaiman’s writing before. Take my reviews of Stardust and American Gods, for example. In hindsight, it wasn’t really a surprise.
On the other hand, I am a huge fan of Terry Pratchett. I am nearly halfway through his Discworld series, which I’m picking up again very soon. I love his serious content matter, entwined with the satirical tone of which he is a master. I don’t know if this will come to play in The Long Earth, as this is very different from his Discworld novels. That is why I want to give it a try!
I have less experience with Stephen Baxter’s writing, so I’ll be going into The Long Earth without any especial bias. I have sampled one of his books before – one that my dad has loaned me. In truth, I have multiple books that I’ve been loaned that I REALLY need to get around to. Sorry dad! I’m looking forward to giving The Long Earth a try. It could be the perfect opportunity to Segway into his solo books.
Science fiction is a genre that I have been picking up more of in recent years. It is one I enjoy going back to and exploring different themes in. I’m looking forward to seeing how these two authors broach this genre together.
Have you read The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, or any other books by these authors?
Good evening and welcome to my wrap-up post for February 2023! I set myself a lofty goal for February, which equated to attempting to read around 107 pages a day.
This was ambitious and I’m not surprised that I haven’t achieved it. However, I am really happy with the reading progress I’ve made. I’ve picked up the majority of the books I set out to, and I have read books from a diverse range of authors in line with it being Black History Month!
Let’s take a look at the books I picked up throughout the month!
The Chimp Paradox
When I drafted my monthly wrap-up post for January, I was 72% into The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters. If you want to know my feelings on the book, then it’s probably best to go and check out that post. In short, I decided to whip through to the end of this book relatively quickly. This last little push on progress didn’t take too long and I swiftly moved on to my February TBR!
The House of Fortune
Next, I picked up the last book I had hoped to read in January. I picked up a copy of The House of Fortune from my local library.
Having read mixed reviews on the book, I didn’t want to commit to buying a copy if I didn’t enjoy it all that much. As it happens, this was a fairly decent read. I didn’t enjoy all of the characters individually, but the overall story comes together really well. I managed to read and return my copy to the library in just over a week. Not bad going really!
For my next read, I decided to change pace and genre completely.
Illuminae is written in a mixed media format. The story is told through messaging exchanges between characters, as well as interviews, logs, and other mixed written accounts. If you are a fan of books written in this style, such as The Appeal by Janice Hallett, then this will definitely suit you. I enjoyed the sci-fi setting in combination with this writing style. The different ways in which events are recounted really fit in with the storyline and the events that take place.
Although Illuminae is one of the longer books on my February TBR, it didn’t take that long to read. It being written in the style it was made it really easy to digest, and, in some cases, the word count per page is a lot less than you’d expect if you were reading traditional prose.
In my next read, I change genre and pace yet again. Going back to a more traditional written format, I picked up a memoir by Michelle Obama – her first book called Becoming.
Becoming was the perfect book to read in fitting with this month’s theme of black history month, and also ticking a box towards my goal of reading more non-fiction. It also turned out to be a brilliant read. Although I’m not overly invested or interested in politics, I felt that Becoming struck the right balance of incorporating the struggles Michelle and Barack experienced in the early chapters of their life, up until their days in the White House. This book is not really political and doesn’t push too much of an agenda.
I expected to enjoy it, but I thought it was going to be more political. I’m glad that it wasn’t as it suited me perfectly.
The Rise of the Dragon
I went back to a favourite world in picking up The Rise of the Dragon by George R.R. Martin. I was very lucky to receive a copy of this book as an early birthday present, and it was only fitting I read it this month. The Rise of the Dragon covers the early history of the Targaryens, but in a way that is approachable to all readers. I have read Fire and Blood, the first detailed book of the Targaryen history. This is written more like a chronicle, with a lot of information, analysis and opinion.
That’s absolutely fine if you enjoy that style and are a big fan of the series. However, if you want an overview of the history and the events that run up to the main series (or the history featured in the TV spin off – House of the Dragon), then The Rise of the Dragon is better suited. It is also full of beautiful and detailed illustrations. I really enjoyed going through these as I was reading the stories and enjoying the varied artistry styles.
My last read of the month is my current read, Africa Risen. This is a short story anthology, featuring speculative fiction written by black authors. This book is my book club read with Ezeekat’s book club. Whilst I haven’t completed the book in time for the end of the month, I can still offer some feedback on what I’ve read so far.
I am enjoying this collection of short stories. There are similar themes throughout these tales which are from a completely different perspective I never thought of before. There are some more obvious themes, including identity, racism, slavery, and mistreatment. But there are plenty others. For example, water features repeatedly in the stories in a completely different way to western novels. Whereas in the latter, it is a very basic, mundane and uninteresting element, that is not the case in the stories. Water is revered as life-giving, revitalising, and something special.
To a society that has an abundance of it, there is definitely a completely different attitude to it. And that’s something I’ve never thought of before, even though it is obvious in hindsight.
As of this monthly wrap-up post, I am 68% through Africa Risen. I’m hoping to finish this book very soon; my intention is to finish it within the next day or two, so then I can move onto my March TBR!
None to report this month!
I had hoped to pick up another couple of books throughout the month.
The first of these two as a relatively short book at just under 300 pages – The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean. I’ve been looking to pick up this book for a couple of months, and I was hoping it was going to be a good and short palate cleanser to help keep momentum going. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite get to this one. However, I would like to try and pick it up soon.
The second book on my list is a fairly recent acquisition – In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lola Akinmade Aketstrom. I would have been extremely happy if I’d made it to the end of the month having started the book. It’s obviously not quite panned out the way I had hoped, but never mind! I have still read plenty throughout the month and pushed myself to do so, whilst still balancing my time. That was what I set out to do.
That’s *all* for today’s monthly wrap-up post for February.
Have you read any of the books featured in this post? What have you been reading?