Friday, July 31, 2009


Last night I helped my lovely wife finish off setting up our new bookshelves. We were running out of space on the old ones, and so decided to cover a wall and a bit of the study with Ikea's finest. Wendy bought them, got them delivered, assembled them. I was used mainly for heavy lifting and for swearing practice (she's getting really good). We now have a lovely expanse of shelving, acres of wide open, bookless, tracts of self-assembled glory.

Now, clearly, I have to go shopping for books to fill the space. Book shopping! About the only kind of shopping I'm good at. I've just finished the last of the three books I bought a few weeks ago, so I've got nothing right now.

"The Cyberiad", by Polish writer Stanislaw Lem, reminded me of all the asides in Hitch Hikers - mainly the Deep Thought parts. Cyberiad is all about a universe populated mainly by robots, and two in particular: Trurl and Klapacius, constructors of marvellous machines. Their adventures are told with humour and fun, and cover some remarkable philosophical territory. Very clever stuff, and the fact that a lot of the jokes are puns and yet still work is a fantastic achievement by the translator.

Before I started on "Ink", by Hal Duncan, I dithered about re-reading the first volume of this story, "Vellum". Then I realised that I hadn't got a clue what was going on the first time, so I might as well just stay confused. Which I did, at least for the first half of Ink. The story got slightly less confusing in the final half, and sometimes I can even convince myself I know what happened. Despite that, it's a great read, very impressive and ambitious, and a lot of fun. I won't bother with a synopsis, because I'd get it wrong.

Russell T Davies' book about writing Doctor Who was fascinating, especially for me - a Doctor Who fan and writing geek. I love reading about writing, mainly because I'm too lazy to do any writing myself. RTD comes across as just as much of a procrastinator as me, except he has the talent to pull off an awesome episode like "Midnight" in a day or two. I remember being really excited that RTD was writing the new Who, even more so when I saw Casanova and found out that David Tennant was going to be the next doctor. He's made some great decisions for the show, as well as some dodgy ones, and without him it would still be languishing in the BBCs dungeons. Cheers, Mr Davies. Here's hoping the Moff can carry on the good work.


  1. Have you read Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts? It's quite fat, which would help fill your shelves. But it's also apparently very good. That's all from me. As you were.

  2. Heh - it's on a list of the "Thickest Books Ever" on goodreads. Will keep an eye out for it.