Monday, 11 July 2011

The 'To Read' Pile

Sometimes it truly frightens me how much my ‘To Read’ pile is growing out of control nowadays. True, when I look at that teetering pile of books sitting on my bookshelves I also get a rush of excitement thinking about the time when I’ll finally get around to diving into them, but it’s usually mixed with a healthy dose of frustration too, frustration that I’m not managing my time well enough at the moment to put aside enough time for reading.

I’ve still not even finished reading Johnny Mains’ short story collection With Deepest Sympathy yet, and I promised him I would months ago. I’m even embarrassed to say that I’ve not gotten around to reading the other stories in the Faction Paradox anthology I was published in recently

So, from now on, it’s time to pull my finger out and schedule some quality reading time into each and every day, after all, I have some wonderful reading material waiting for me - mostly in the SF genre, oddly.

I’m particularly excited by Philip Palmer’s latest SF novel Hellship, Tim Lebbon’s fantasy epic Echo City, Charles Stross’ Rule 34 and James S. A. Corey’s debut space opera Leviathan Wakes, book 1 in The Expanse series, which all sound like books that were aimed directly at me. I’m also about to plunge headlong into the world of Warhammer for the first time in my life (shocking, I know) with the latest in Gav Thorpe’s Path of the Eldar series, Path of the Seer, not to mention his first non-Black Library novel The Crown of the Blood. I had the good fortune to spend an unhealthy amount of time drinking, eating and chatting with Gav at the recent Alt.Fiction weekend and was delighted to find him a thoroughly nice bloke. As we swapped email addresses I vowed then and there to dig out a few of his books and give them a bit of a read.

I still have two beautiful short story collections from Obverse Books to make my way through - Book of Ghosts and Iris: Abroad - as well as Paul Magrs’ latest Iris Wildthyme novel Enter Wildthyme, which have been sitting patiently on my shelf now for a number of weeks. The former two are littered with some of the most exciting and talented writers working in the SF, fantasy and horror genres at the moment, while Paul Magrs is a comedy novelist on a par with P.G Wodehouse, Tom Sharp and David Nobbs, and whose Brenda & Effie books should, by rights, be more popular, respected and widely read than any of Pratchett’s Discworld novels .

Jeff Somers keeps ‘em coming with his very Blade Runner-esque Avery Cates novels (The Final Evolution is his fifth book now, and they are still lots of fun) as does Jim Butcher, who has reached the staggering thirteenth volume in his Dresden Files saga. To be honest with you, I’m not really into novels that are set on a parallel Earth where magic, vampires, werewolves and zombies (yawn) live furry cheek by rotting jowl in uneasy co-existence, but his latest hardback, Ghost Story, sounds rather good, so I’ll be giving him a go.

But I’m probably most excited by Kevin J. Anderson’s recent Terra Incognita fantasy trilogy, The Edge of the World, The Map of All Things and The Key to Creation, which not only sound great but have some of the most fabulous covers I’ve ever seen.

I’ll try and sprinkle a few reviews on this blog as I make my way through the pile.


  1. My to read pile was at about 40 books this time last year, and to be honest it was starting to piss me off. I ended up banning myself from casual buying, and through taking about an hour to read each morning and evening, the overdraft is down to six titles... although I just bought a couple more to cheer myself up - one being Charles Stross (who I've not before read) by the way. The prospect of a future in which I can buy a book and just read it there and then is becoming a reality.

  2. Scott Harrison11 July 2011 at 16:39

    I did do the old 'an hour in the morning and an hour at bedtime' reading schedule myself, a little while back, when I had some important background reading to do, but it's frightening how quickly you fall out of the habit - It's also a great way to kick-start your brain for a day's writing first thing in the morning, feeding it with other peoples ideas and stories.

    I should really set myself the target of reading at least two books a month and push myself from there.

  3. According to my mother, who seems to know about such things, it takes two weeks to form a habit, which I think is probably right... which is handy as I now have a Lego obsessed child making frequent assaults on my reading time, thus far without success but I guess we'll see how well I hold up.
    Happened upon another branch of Half Price Books yesterday and added another five 'must haves' to the current 'to read' pile... sigh.