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.

I like to say that I don’t watch much tv. It’s true as far as it goes: I get very excited about my annual fix of Sherlock and Doctor Who (yes, I enjoy Moffat), but otherwise tend to watch the odd satirical news quiz and movies. And every now and again I indulge in some high production value US series on DVD, and wonder why it’s taken me so long.

I first stumbled across A Brief History of the Dead in 2007, but never got round to reading it. I was delighted when it was picked as the inaugural volume for the new work bookclub. I'm unashamedly going to use LJ to capture my thoughts and impressions of each bookclub book I read, to help manage the gap between me finishing it and the group getting together to discuss.

First things first: ABHotD is the tale of Laura, a scientist working for Coca-Cola, who is sent to Antarctica as part of a PR stunt. When a pandemic plague sweeps the world, she is protected by her position, but ignorant of current events. Her storyline is her fight for survival in (probably) the least hospitable place in the world, as she struggles across the ice cap in search of help that can never come.

The dead of the title are the twin storyline, living on (existing?) in a city for as long as they are remembered by the living. As the city empties due to plague (think about it), the survivors find new connections in the web of Laura's past.

It took me a long time to read Neil Gaiman’s Smoke and Mirrors. I picked it up, put it down; read the table of contents, put it down. Eventually I got round to reading the Introduction, and then I was pretty much committed. And when I finally devoured the treasures within, I found I enjoyed them a lot. Much of it was dark, true, but that’s always suited me; much of it was also magical.

So there was no real doubt I would acquire and read Fragile Things.

I recently reread The Kraken Wakes, always my favourite John Wyndham book. Wyndham for me is something like comfort food, or cartoons: when I need a light, refreshing, familiar interlude I can always turn to one of his novels to tide me over to the next challenge. In this case, I had left the book I intended to read at the office, leaving me stranded over a weekend with nothing to read.

Oh, the horror.