Book cover: Under the Pendulum Sun - Jeanette Ng (purple hued, woman in fabulously spiky dress)If you get lost enough, you can find Arcadia. The South Seas Company are keen to limit access to maintain their monopoly on trade. The Church, with no such worldly concerns, wish to bring the Word of God to the Fair Folk. And Catherine Helstone wants to find her beloved brother Laon, missionary to the Court of the Pale Queen…

Book cover: Echopraxia - Peter Watts, a man in a space suit staring at the curve of the sun)By the end of the twenty-first century, we’ll know we are not alone. We will have pushed forward with our own evolution. We will have brought our worst nightmares back to haunt us from the past. And Dan Brüks, stubbornly baseline, reliant on pills to keep up with his tweaked peers, will head into space with a crew that has transcended humanity in search of God.

Book cover: Bodies of LightAlly is mad, or so her mother assures her. Mad, weak and sinful. Only physical penance and dedication to a good cause can save her.

Religion, art, psychology, women’s suffrage and Victorian medicine all come under the scope in this excellent historical novel about one girl’s journey to define herself and claim her future.

As some of you are aware, I’ve been lucky enough to have some extended time off this year, which inevitably means that I’ve been reading like the dedicated bookworm that I am. I’m likely to read as many books by the end of June as I’ve read in an entire year (during a lean year, anyway), and I’ve loved every minute. It’s been a couple of months since I last captured what I’ve thought of this mountain of material, so I wanted to do another recap – although I have had the time to be much, much better about logging reviews and ratings on my LibraryThing, which is increasingly becoming my main platform for all book-related activity.

A quick flit through my first quarter of reading, before I forget the details. It’s been a book-heavy year, with lots of opportunities to get some quality reading time in during the Christmas break in Australia and my boy’s month-long absence in India (not to mention my time off in March). I’ve put this to good use and read like the bookworm I am, devouring 20 books to date – most of them fresh reads rather than old favourites.

Fieldwork
Mischa Berlinski

Atlantic Books; 320 pages

What links an anthropologist, a third-generation missionary, and a bored journalist? How much trouble can you get up to in Northern Thailand? Is Star Wars really the Devil's work? Fieldwork explores the unlikely intersection of ex-patriate lives, and questions whether obsession and cultural immersion are all they're cracked up to be.