I had all sorts of grand plans for December, but instead I find I need to take a little break. I’ll be back after Christmas, with reviews of Gnomon, The Ninth Rain, Prime Meridian, Under the Pendulum Sun and more (…still reading, just not writing!)

A confession: due to work and not being well, I’ve not finished The Hydrogen Sonata yet, so the final foray into The Culture will not be appearing this week. However, I have had time to consider the question of What Next and I’ve plotted a course for the Space Age stories of Aliette de Bodard’s Xuya universe – here’s to a summer of bite-sized space opera.

A brief reflection: I consider myself lucky to speak and read several languages. Picking up Temeraire in Dutch has made two things clear: firstly, my Dutch isn’t as rusty as I think! Secondly, the staggering cognitive load of reading in a foreign language. I understand everything as I read it (I don’t actively translate along in my head), but it takes my full concentration. All that grey matter normally deployed on sifting implications and judging characters is focused on basic meaning instead.

It’s good to be reminded on a regular basis what a difference reading in your mother tongue makes. I have ALL THE RESPECT for my friends who read books in English as a foreign language and make it look easy. Now lets take a moment to consider authors who write their works in a second language. People, you are AMAZING. Never forget it.

Lastly, did you know that the Dutch word for ‘pacing’ (as in around a cabin) translates literally as ‘polar bearing’? OMINOUS, much? I love Dutch.

Do you ever read in a language that isn’t your mother tongue?

Happy World Book Day! To celebrate, I’ve dipped into The Lord of the Rings (don’t wait up, I may be some time). What are you reading?


It’s taken me half an hour to realise I’ve been listening to my music alphabetically. I had no idea I owned so many tracks starting with A. Or that I liked them so much. Happy Tuesday.

Oh bloody hell. Just caught up on Hell Bent, and I think I need to watch the last 2 years of Doctor Who all over again now. All is forgiven. Well, almost all. Yeah, okay, I’m totally cherry picking. There’s a bunch of episodes we probably can’t all agree didn’t happen, but I’m going to edit them out of my timeline anyway, ok?

imyril @ There's Always Room For One More