« 71. Cook interesting food each month. | Main | 20. Take my vitamins. »

51. Read 50 fiction books

1. The Sisters of the Quantock Hills, by Ruth Elwin Harris. This is actually four books, but I don't think it would be right to count them as 4, because I've read 3 of them before, and because they're children's books. 3 August 2006

2. Siberia, Ann Halam. Challenging and ambitious sf. I don't know if it's a failing in me that I prefer Ann Halam to Gwyneth Jones. I bought it for Marianne but read it myself; same with

3. I, Coriander, by Sally Gardner. A first novel, and you will know the basic model for the plot as soon as you discover that the protagonist's parents are called Thomas and Eleanor. Gardner deftly moves from historical fiction to faerie; obviously this invites comparison with Susanna Clarke (it's very different). As teen novels go, it rather demands clever readers. There's a historical note at the end for those not familiar with the Commonwealth, but none for those not familiar with faerie.

4. Temeraire: Throne of Jade, by Naomi Novik. When I first heard of these I was in awe. Intelligent dragons, complete with McCaffrey-style impressing, in the time of the Napoleonic wars. Sea battles with dragons! I assumed that Novik had struck a massive seam of cash, even before reading them. But then I read the first chapter of the first book online and very much enjoyed it, so I 've bought both the first two in hardback. Plus the dragon is called Temeraire. These aren't wildly overblown fantasies that drift on for 600 pages without plot development. They rattle on, and are the perfect reading for summer holidays. And of course, Temeraire is a great name for a naval dragon.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)