After a few lean months it is bumper Monthly Deals month, with good choices in all my usual reporting areas. As ever a personal and partial selection of stuff I am keen to read, or have read and can recommend. On until the end of October, apologies for the delay.
The Masque of the Red Death and other stories – reliable Penguin classics edition
Barry Hines – A Kestrel for a Knave – adapted for the classic film
Anthony Powell – A Dance to the Music of Time novels 1-3. I am now on book 10 of this unmatched 12-volume sequence. The first three volumes lay the groundwork for 4-9 which are just brilliant. They are not for everyone and always teeter on the edge of parody, but I would urge anyone to give them a go.
The Penguin book of Ghost Stories
Robert Graves – The Greek Myths
Ben Folds – A Dream of Lightning Bugs – mmmm Afterword catnip
Stewart Lee – March of the Lemmings – mmmm Afterword catnip
Temi Oh – Do You Dream of Terra Two?
Marina J. Lostetter – Noumenon
These are two well-reviewed novels I am very happy are on the list, particularly the former.
Ted Chaing – Exhalation – AKA the Arrival writer. His short stories (the only things he writes) emerge slowly and win lots of prizes. This is the new collection, only his second in two decades.
Neal Asher – Human – after reading about 4 of the Polity novels that was enough Asher for me, but his blend of intergalactic warfare, James Bond and rogue AI can be very enjoyable. Think a hyper-militarised version of Banks’ the Culture, only not as well written.
Martin Cruz Smith – Gorky Park and virtually every novel he has written is on offer in advance of a new publication. As my kids would say God Tier: Gorky Park and Polar Star. Wolves Eat Dogs (about Chernobyl) is also very good. The others are always readable. As to his non-Renko novels, I can offer no personal views. Renko is enough for me.
Raymond Chandler – The Long Goodbye. The supreme noir stylist.
Jonathan Lethem – Motherless Brooklyn – a very fine book.
Rohinton Misty – A Fine Balance
Arundhati Roy – The God of Small Things
Not read either of these but are held in high regard.
Olga Tokarczuk – Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead – this is a fabulous book that I would urge you all to read, Eastern European magic realism. Completely unclassifiable, but with a strong ecological theme and a hugely engaging narrator. It is on the surface a whodunnit thriller, under the surface it is a fine work of literature.