jml's notebook

Fiction reading roundup

Some quick reflections on things I've read recently.

Terry Pratchett

Work has been quite stressful recently. I've not been feeling well physically, and I have had to time off for my own health and separately to do childcare. This has meant less time to do work, which means getting behind on my workload, which means more stress. Ugh.

In the wake of this, I've been looking for comfort reading, and there are few things more comfortable than Terry Pratchett on top form.

Here's what I've read recently:

It's the first time I've read of any of these. I liked all of them, but I liked the Tiffany Aching books more than Monstrous Regiment. They feel like maybe Pratchett is making a special effort to do it right.

We got Wee Free Men for my niece a couple of years ago, and I'm glad we did.

Nemesis, Agatha Christie

Keeping up with the theme of comfort reading, I've dipped into our Agatha Christie collection at home. I've read a few Christies, and didn't much like the last one I read, but I was assured by Jolie that the Miss Marple stories are all pretty good.

Nemesis is lots of fun, and I imagine is almost prototypical Marple. She wanders around being old and inquisitive and humble and accidentally solves a mystery that she's been asked to solve by a dead man.

T. Kingfisher

DRMacIver recommended the Clocktaur War books to me. I had intended to read them while on holiday, but accidentally read through the two books in no time at all.

In premise, the books are a little like a D&D campaign: a diverse group is drawn together and compelled to go on a quest. In this regard, there's not a whole lot of novelty.

What makes these books great are the two point of view characters, and the clear love the author has for both of them. Each page is a delight, and the books are almost impossible to put down.

The Raven Tower, Ann Leckie

Ann Leckie can do no wrong.

I've been looking forward to this, her first fantasy book, for months, and now that I've read it, my only complaint is that it's too short.

If you've read the Ancillary Justice books, you'll recognise some themes in common. Like them, Raven Tower has a point-of-view character with a fundamentally alien perspective. And like all her published works, she engages with non-traditional gender.

I think I'd like to read this one again.