While I can appreciate the convenience of e-readers, I much prefer reading in print. But I do have an unloved Kindle and the app I can use with my slightly-more-convenient touchscreen on my laptop. From time to time I download books and then forget to read them; this Christmas I thought I’d try and catch up. Read on for my mini reviews – and apologies for mentioning the C-word in January! I know that the modern Christmas begins at the end of November, so people are heartily sick of it well before New Year but, while I’m a confirmed humbugger, I stick to the old-fashioned notion that Christmas runs for twelve days ending January 6th.
I’m a little embarrassed at how long it’s taken me to read Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle; it must have been waiting inside my Kindle since it was published in 2014. In my defence, I had read a previous prepublication version of this coming-of-age comedy set in the New Forest in the scorching hot summer of 1976. It was great to discover that this version is just as entertaining but with the first-novel wrinkles smoothed out. As nineteen-year-old Harry Spittle navigates between bullies and attractive young women at his summer job in a hotel restaurant, and his sister’s sexual awakening and his parents’ probable divorce at home, you can’t help hoping things will work out for him, even if he encounters multiple obstacles along the way. As the jeopardy escalates, it actually gets quite scary. Luckily, he survives, and we can catch up with an older Harry in the author’s latest book.
With my own dystopian novel, Snowflake, in the pipeline, I was curious to read a couple from my publisher, Inspired Quill. These two are also classed as sci-fi – which I rarely read or write – but it’s worth crossing the boundary into another genre now and then.
Letters from the Light is an Australian sci-fi fantasy adventure, in a vivid world where only the elite have access to light. While some toil underground in darkness, blinded in infancy so they won’t stray, royalty parties above ground. While the Rats plot revolution, a wide cast of characters tease the reader as allies become enemies, and enemies friends. Expect lots of alternative world building, jeopardy, nods to diversity and touches of humour: I particularly liked the notion of a verdant Sydney Arbour.
I don’t read enough short stories but, as I’m about to make my self-publishing debut with a short e-book of prize-winning shorts, there couldn’t be a better time to immerse myself in some on my screen.