I read a few books this week -
The Truth by Terry Pratchett: This was written about ten years ago but I hadn't read it before. As with all Terry P books, I enjoyed it a lot. It's genuinely funny and clever, and it featured The Watch (a bit). A Discworldisation of American crime films such as Pulp Fiction and Scarface (a pixie is introduced with 'say hello to my little friend') which gave me funnies.
The Epic of Gilgamesh: Modern technology means that this information which once required a mainframe of clay tablets as big as a room can now be carried round on a bound sheaf of paper that fits in your pocket. This story seems to me to be about the futility of patriarchal heroism, written at a time when it was a pretty new idea. Killing the spirit of the forest, it becomes barren. Where is your god-self now?
New Model Army by Adam Roberts: Aha. Another story about the cusp of a new way of fighting, and its tragic implications for the Self. So interestingly right and infuriatingly wrong that I shall write a separate post about it.
and I started
Blood's a Rover by James Ellroy: This is the third in the American Tabloid trilogy. Set in 1968, about the war in the US between radicalism and conservatism, with neither side exactly covering themselves in glory, but everyone skagged up. The writing is so difficult and dense that I have to slow my reading pace radically just to understand what is going on in each sentence. Emulated in the UK by David Peace, so if you like him, try Ellroy (but don't start here).
Sprit by Gwyneth Jones: Didn't really get on with this. It's a space-opera version of The Count of Monte Cristo. Like The Sparrow this book asks you to inhabit a masochistic and conservative universe, which I don't enjoy inhabiting. I didn't get very far in. There is a struggle in the conservative mind as to whether they can let go of sex hang-ups, but at the end of the day, even if they do they are still imagining that their transient aristocracy is permanent and natural.
Hodd by Adam Thorpe: Damn I seem to have lost this. I hope I didn't leave it in Wales. A 'translation' by a World War I survivor of a 14th century Latin manuscript discovered in a ruined church in The Somme. It is the testimony of an aged monk of his days living outside Nottingham with Robin Hood's merry band of psychopathic killers. Not far enough in to give a better account of it, but written with great assurance. (ETA found it in my shoe bag)